Thursday, April 3, 2008

Headwinds....


I am quickly coming to detest a word that has crept into the current corporate lexicon. The word?
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Headwinds
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Used in a corporate sentence: "There are headwinds keeping us from hitting our numbers" or "Given the unanticipated headwinds, we are facing future profitability concerns" or my personal favorite: "With these headwinds, how can we be expected to perform?"
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Here's what I have to say to all the users of this word....STOP IT!
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It's an excuse. It's a not-so-cleverly disguised way to say "Oh well. Not my fault." The types of things called "headwinds" today are the same things they have always been: Higher material costs, unreliable labor and commensurate excessive overtime and training costs, price pressures, the economy,....and the list goes on.
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All of these things are a result of poor planning, poor business practices, poor (non-existent) leadership, dysfunctional management/labor relations, no strategic plan, "fire-fighting," Old school management living in the past, etc, etc, etc.
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Stop making excuses. In the age of sail, successful captains did not whine about "headwinds." They would tack and sail on. They anticipated the headwinds and planned their journeys accordingly. They were only reactive when absolutely necessary. More often, they were proactive and read the signs and signals of impending headwinds and leveraged them to their advantage.
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That's what leaders do. They plan for success then work their plans.
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They don't sit around and whine about "headwinds."

1 comment:

Peter said...

Corporate catch phrases are just like annual reviews in the sense that they relieve management of their job of managing. Somebody gets a bad review because they stink, can't be that they were not properly lead. Catch phrases re-direct attention. "I'm not a terrible manager because the external forces were against me". The only way to thwart the corporate ills is to have a stronger leader at the top. Now get out there, show your commitment, work harder, and figure out what you're going to do for your boss today....lol