corporate hokey-cokey (n): the act of taking one decision, reversing it a year later, only to revert back to the original decision the next year.
Your Senior Leaders, whoever they might be, are well remunerated people. And they should be – after all, they never see their families and they’re only a heartbeat away from a cardiac arrest. They’re paid to be ‘visionaries’, to be those who see the bigger picture (none of that ‘tactical’ shit, you see, they do strategic) while those on a tenth of their salaries try to get out of doing the tactical shit in order to appear more strategic. So they’re big-picture people, which means they have a plan.
So why is it that they feel the need to create a ‘long-range plan’ every year? Surely if it’s long-range, you only need one every, say, five years?
Welcome to the fabulous game of corporate hokey-cokey. It goes a little like this:
January: “Let’s expand our training team. After all, training is the future of the company and we want to grow our internal talent base in order to create value and drive growth.”
March: “Woah, hang on there, did I say expand it? I meant… keep it as it was. Just one person, with a budget of £50k for the year.”
April: “Did I say £50k? You fools! I clearly meant £5k. Reduce your budget by £45k”
October: “I’m sorry to announce that the training department has been put at risk of redundancy.”
November: “The training department has been replaced by my 3-year-old daughter’s Pooh Bear. Pooh Bear, say hello to the company, company say hello to Pooh Bear. Pooh will be taking tomorrow’s ‘Striving For Leadership’ course, if you have any questions, Tigger here will take them”
December: Pooh Bear resigns due to stress and training is disbanded completely.
Next March: “Let’s hire a whole new training department!”
Next October: “I’m sorry to announce…”
… you get the picture.
Surely, someone paid such vast amounts of money should have a little foresight. After all, sitting down and creating a long-range plan, which despite all appearances, takes several weeks if not months, of meetings, conference calls and ‘tactical plebs’ designing powerpoint slides for you. How on earth does it come to this? One minute everything’s rosy, the next, everyone’s fired.
Anyone in a ‘senior’ position is a blind optimist. They’re so optimistic that they could walk out into the road in front of an oncoming bus and proclaim ‘there’s no bus here’ right up to the moment he hears the screeching brakes and the screams of onlookers. Even then, he’ll be saying ‘nup, definitely no bus here’. Then, when the moment comes that he’s knocked over, taken to hospital with every bone broken, he says ‘maybe there was a bus. I should create a strategic action plan so that no bus ever runs me over again. Four-box it for me, would you, and document the processes so that I can leverage this event-horizon.’
Strategic action-plan written, it is quickly forgotten about as the blind optimist walks out into the road saying ‘now the road is entirely bus-free and we can carry on creating value by the bucketload and with any luck I’ll be able to sell shitloads of shares and retire to the Bahamas. Come, join me, new people, yes, I shall recruit you, come join me in the road – what’s that? No, there’s no fucking bus here you noobs.’
While at the hospital writing another strategic action plan to leverage this event-horizon, well… again, you get the picture.
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