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It's the Ecology, Stupid

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 9 months ago

Easy appeal of quick win will lead to losses in the end

By Stefan Stern

Published: February 26 2007 18:13 | Last updated: February 26 2007 18:13

 

Louis Gallois needs a quick win. The problems facing the chief executive of Airbus, the troubled European aeroplane manufacturer, are stacking up like delayed flights over Heathrow.

 

Not only is the company’s A380 superjumbo still not ready to be operated by any commercial airline, but UPS, the package courier, said on Friday that it now has the option to cancel its order for 10 A380s should there be any further delays. UPS’s rival Fedex cancelled its order for 10 A380s last November, and chose to buy 15 Boeing 777s instead. Mr Gallois’s next challenge? Persuading unions to agree to extend the 35-hour working week.

 

George W. Bush needs a quick win. Although he tried to characterise last week’s announcement of an initial withdrawal of British troops from southern Iraq as a sign of success, few people shared this interpretation of events. A bigger, less equivocal success would help lift the president’s grim approval ratings.

 

Steve McClaren needs a quick win. His England football team travels to Israel next month for a vital Euro 2008 group qualifier in Tel Aviv. The England manager is coming under pressure to recall his superstar midfielder David Beckham into the squad. But while the global fashion icon remains a pretty good footballer, let’s face it: he’s not the Messiah.

 

Managers are constantly being asked, or told, to deliver “quick wins”. It is a familiar phrase, made up of two of the most seductive syllables in business.

 

Who could possibly object to the idea of solving some problem expeditiously? Quick wins boost morale and build momentum. They get critical colleagues off your back, for the time being at least. How on earth are you going to calm down the analysts and ward off that private equity bid? A few quick wins should do the trick.

 

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And from the end of the article....

As soon as it becomes clear that a quick fix has not delivered the simple solutions that were promised, it will be thrown onto the growing pile of previously discarded management fads. Never mind – like the proverbial London bus, another one will be along in a minute.

 

A recent policy paper from the international aid organisation Care looked at the ongoing problem of the opium trade in Afghanistan, and came to this mature, Ackoffian conclusion: “The desire for rapid reductions in illicit crop cultivation is leading to the demand for and adoption of heavy-handed, quick-fix strategies. Such short-term strategies, however – including outright bans, forced eradication and aerial spraying – do not address the drivers behind the planting of opium poppy and have often proven to be ineffective, expensive and even counterproductive.”

 

The next time you are tempted to call for (or are instructed to deliver) a quick win, remember those other two, slightly longer words: Afghanistan and heroin.

 

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