MegaCon Motor Company

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Tales from the MegaCon archives.

MegaCon’s motor manufacturing division is struggling. Shareholder value is the prime driver for bosses and market share is slipping. The Board is determined to fight back and have targeted a breakout into the American market.

Boss shouting

Sell 62% more of our cars in America!

Oh, and make sure you hit target by next quarter!

Don’t tell me why not,


MegaCon is ruled by a target culture.

Fear dictates the way messages from the top are relayed and pressure is passed down the ranks:

target consequences

MegaCon middle managers are incentivised to reach targets. Their pay depends on it and the fear of failure is strong.


  • Is not a great stimulator of innovation for the good of MegaCon.
  • Leads to shortcuts and cheating.
  • Causes wrong figures to be reported up the organisation.
  • Leads to MegaCon managers protecting their own interests, not those of colleagues or customers.

Do MegaCon managers feel able to make the right decisions for the long term good, or do they meet their targets by hook or by crook, worrying about the consequences later?

MegaCon’s Board are oblivious to this. Barry Big-Shot is provided with figures that show sales rising. He doesn’t care how or why, he just knows MegaCon’s shareholders will be happy.

As will his Bank Manager.

The Board are far removed from the reality of the frontline. They will never know what it feels like to be a customer of MegaCon, or what staff actually do to make their targets.

They have the illusion of control.

MegaCon bosses have sown the seeds of future failure. It is inevitable, but they will never see it coming. How could they?



This entry was posted in Management, Targets, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , by Ian. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ian

Perfect Flow specialises in logistics, but good service is far too rare across all sectors in the UK. That is why I am driven by a strong desire to improve customer service levels. The Vanguard Method of Systems Thinking is my chosen methodology to achieve that aim. Why Vanguard Method? Because it works. I know it does, because I have used it myself. Perfect Flow have been named in the Smarta100 2012 - the 100 most innovative and disruptive small businesses in the UK

2 thoughts on “MegaCon Motor Company

  1. Earlier this week I went to a talk from James Timpson CEO of Timpson. If you think that’s a load of cobblers (sorry) you can watch it here: Timpson are not perfect, but they are doing a lot right with what they call ‘upside-down management’.

    There was an interesting point raised from the audience about the difference about public and private ownership. Timpson – being privately owned – are able to take a long-term view rather than many publicly owned companies where the focus is on making the numbers look good each quarter for the shareholders.

    It struck me that local authorities are a lot like this. At the one I’m currently at managers have to their reports scrutinised once month by the councillors. If something is down this month the councillors want answers or action.

    Managers – even the most senior in the organisation – with the right intentions have to take a big risk if they want to try and take a long-term view. For many – with mortgages to pay, etc – the risk is simply too big.

    So once again, it’s the system (monthly or quarterly reporting regimes dominated by binary comparisons and RAG ratings) and not the people that are hindering true organisation-wide improvement. The big question for all of us that want to see better public services and more ethical corporations is how do we change this aspect of the system?

    • Who could resist the cobblers gag?!

      Thank you for the link. I had heard that Timpson were doing things a little differently, so it’s good to hear more about it.

      I agree entirely with the points you raise. Even good data can be used in the wrong way, leading to bad decisions and time wasted looking for spurious reasons why this month is a bit lower than last month. Understanding “normal variation” is critical for leaders, but very few are willing to open their minds to it.
      I have some suggestions on what could be done to avoid such nonsense, but that’s coming up in part 2 of the blog 😉

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