Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Dead Horse

Riding in the saddle of our previous success may delude us into thinking that we can cure or give CPR to anything. Convinced that if we continue with the tried old methods, performance will again improve.

Many Organisations continue to flog people, processes and programs as if pushing or poking them in a different way will produce a desired outcome. When is it time to recognize that something else is in play that thwarts any attempt to "strategize" a solution.

It could be time to look at the problem from a different perspective or a different lens and not assume that we even can, or should fix it?

Maybe we are hanging on to a "loved possession" whether it be the foundation enterprise that got you going in the first place or something into which you have invested just too much. Maybe we feel we owe someone or feel a duty of care. Or maybe we just don't want to appear to have invested unwisely.

To be able to tell the difference between a good investment and something that's at end of life, is a valuable attribute. Maybe its time to recognize your riding a dead horse. Maybe you've even been riding it for some time?

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed down from generation to generation, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to "dismount". 

Western civilization however has developed a whole range of far more advanced strategies that are often employed, such as: 
  • Change riders.
  • Buy a stronger whip.
  • Do nothing: "This is the way we have always ridden dead horses".
  • Visit other countries to see how they ride dead horses.
  • Perform a productivity study to see if lighter riders improve the dead horse's performance.
  • Hire a contractor to ride the dead horse. (Can be as useful as a saddle when it comes to protecting you're backside!!)
  • Harness several dead horses together in an attempt to increase the speed.
  • Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.
  • Appoint a committee to study the horse and assess how dead it actually is.
  • Re-classify the dead horse as "living-impaired".
  • Develop a Strategic Plan for the management of dead horses.
  • Rewrite the expected performance requirements for all horses.
  • Modify existing standards to include dead horses.
  • Declare that, as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line than many other horses.
Which approach have you found most useful?

Is it time to get off?
Denial or avoidance wont change the outcome.

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