It’s a Myth of Leadership That When There’s Change, it Requires Action.

Here is the final paragraph from a very interesting article by Michael Blastland on the BBC news website. You can read the entire article here  

His argument is quite simple – play the long game to iron out the short run ruffles.

“A wise friend who does run a successful engineering business on the south coast, had this to say about the real ups and downs of recession:

“2010 was a terrible year with most of our customers cutting back or totally stopping spending, but I am so pleased we managed to get through it without any redundancies. It was tough for everyone but they all stuck together.

“It’s funny how quickly things change round, just last September I was worrying I’d made the wrong call and we should have made redundancies at the start of the year, and now we have the biggest order backlog the company has ever seen.”

It’s another victory for managing by doing nothing, he suggests.

“Unfortunately, management generally ignores variability. A great example is the amount of time managers have to spend ‘explaining’ variance to budget. Woe betide any manager who just ways ‘well, sometimes things go up, and sometimes they go down’. We have to pretend to be in control.”

It’s for this reason that the fashion for corporate dashboards displaying up-to-the-minute information about company performance makes me wonder – will bosses everywhere be staring at the numbers, twitching with every down, feeling the pulse race with every up, on the phone demanding action with every flicker on the dial?

The risk of playing down change is that you miss the next big thing. But since there’s an equal risk of over-reaction, does anyone know of a business bestseller with the mantra: “Calm down?”

1 Comment

  1. Rob – perhaps you should write a business bestseller with that mantra!

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