‘Gestures’, not strategy

It’s hard enough dealing with current difficulties in a strategically sound way, but it’s not helped by actions that are pointless or counter-productive – examples below.

Some of these actions just might be unavoidable if the business is in real danger of collapse, but very few are in such a bad state. It seems most are doing these things for purely symbolic reasons – ‘We must be seen to be taking the problem seriously’ – or else to hold up short-term profitability because of perceived pressure from investors or analysts.

 I already asked why a company would chuck out consultants if they were doing useful work. Others I have recently come across:

  • ban executive travel … so if someone is going to win a million dollar deal, you are going to stop them getting on the plane?
  • stop all hiring … it’s only a year ago most companies couldn’t get the staff they needed, many still lack key skills, and now the peope they need are available and cheap!
  • downsize staff numbers – even if staff are overloaded?
  • aggressively renegotiate supply terms … just hope those suppliers will still be around when you need them in the recovery.
  • cut all expenditure budgets by X% – no single number across all functions can possibly be the right choice

… and then there are some really daft ones that I had better not mention, to avoid embarassing valued clients.


  • ban staff from

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