I spent most of my working life as a financial analyst in the investment business. As my specialist subject was the European banking sector, I saw plenty of corporate restructurings being undertaken, with mixed success.
The key question in such exercises, of course, is how to define success. When announcing restructurings, company managements must perforce define their aims and financial targets. Otherwise, how can their performance be judged?
There is a very clear pattern, in my experience, and the savviest management teams will readily admit to adopting it. It can be summed up in one key phrase: ‘under-promise and over-deliver’. Follow this simple rule et voilà: you are rightly acclaimed as one of the leading managers of your generation. And land yourself an obscenely generous bonus to boot.
I have tried to adopt the same principle in pretty much every aspect of my private life, which accordingly can be judged as having been broadly successful. Well, on my terms it can be.
So here is a – far from exhaustive – list of my own successes (just the recent ones, you understand), measured against the relevant target I have set myself:
- Wake up every morning (100% – so far)
- Don’t run out of wine before we can get to the shops (100%)
- Always refill the log basket before the fire goes out (almost 100%).
- Successfully replace the duvet cover within the first three attempts (80%). Without a tirade of foul-mouthed abuse (0%).
- Remember to set the recorder for all TV programmes we actually want to watch (70%). For all the TV programmes we really want to watch (50%).
- Close all cupboard doors when finished with them (60%, although this figure is disputed in some quarters as being too high).
- Avail of every opportunity to provide a list when responding to a blogging prompt (100%).
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