Saturday, August 22, 2009

Are You Riding a Dead Horse?

You might think that when someone discovers they’re riding a dead horse, they’d dismount and find another horse.

But often that’s not the case in the business world. Businesses typically try other strategies to keep the dead horse running — such as the following:

• Assure people “this is the way we’ve always ridden horses.”

• Explain that it’s not the horse, it’s the rider. So change out the rider, but keep the same horse.

• Appoint a committee or task force to study the dead horse.

• Visit other companies to see how they ride dead horses.

• Train people to ride dead horses more effectively.

• Lower the standards so the horse is no longer “dead.”

• Pay the dead horse more to give it incentive to perform at a higher level.

• Harness several dead horses together to increase their potential.

• Hire a consultant to help people understand and appreciate the value of the dead horse.

• Do a cost analysis to see if outsourced contractors can ride the horse more cheaply.

• Invest in new technology to revitalize the dead horse and make it run faster.

• Spin the dead horse in a more positive way so it doesn’t appear dead.

• Hold brainstorming sessions to find new ways to use a dead horse.

• Announce to the public and employees that the horse is not dead, it’s just in a “transition period” and will be revised in a restructure or reorganization.

• Shift resources from live horses to the dead horse so it has a better chance to succeed.

• Let the dead horse lie dormant for awhile and then bring it out again later as a new horse.

A dead horse is a dead horse, of course, of course; unless the horse of course is a famous company program.

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