Have a rant: Midsummer malaise takes the biscuit

A malaise hits many of us around this time of year.

It’s just gone mid-June, so at long last our budgets have been nailed down, the bonuses have been paid, our central planning department has held everyone to account, and each and every department has made fistfuls of promises about what they will have delivered come the end of the next financial year.

Time to relax? Well, not quite. It looks like we’re already behind schedule. There are only a few weeks to plan ahead before the summer break arrives, and we’ll have to sprint through the autumn to try to get back on track.

MBO (management by objectives) is a beguilingly simple concept. It’s been around for something like 50 years, and it’s served many organisations very well. But you can’t help feeling that somewhere along the line it got hijacked.

It’s hard not to take the somewhat jaundiced view that, in many companies, the annual planning cycle has become a substitute for having a strategy – provided everybody’s busy, there’s too little time to worry about where all that activity is actually taking us, let alone ponder what it might all be for.

It would be ideal to have a neat, concise strategy everyone can understand, backed up by a plan that’s flexible enough to adapt to the odd new challenge that crops up from time to time. I’ve made a mental note to chat to my chums in central planning about it. The only problem is I’m not too sure how we’re going to fit the time into our schedules.

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