“I do start-ups and turnarounds. I use a broad brush. I am not a detail guy. I do high-energy, short-burst activity that makes a quantum difference.”
The Problem: Pushing for more push
Normally, business plans are skewed to achieving a year-end budget. If you look at a graph of sales there's a hockey-stick effect at the end of every year. Then everyone relaxes because they've made the target and four months in they're already behind budget and starting to panic again. I think much of this attitude arises from our inherent habit of burying our head in the sand when it comes to being faced with a challenge or daunting task such as beginning the year with a stretching target. We hope that by ignoring it it will disappear … Well, it usually doesn't. The kind of business at Telecity is of a highly recurring nature: every deal made in January generates twelve months' income; any sales made in December are only one month's income in that year. I wanted to find a way of showing my team how to focus on targets right from the beginning, to engage, and to never be afraid of commitment from the very start.
The Solution: The Lillehammer Run
We went bobsleighing at Lillehammer in Norway. I thought it would be great fun. It was more frightening than swimming with the sharks. After three or four initial runs in a slow-running practice sled, we swapped to a real Olympic bobsleigh steered by a professional driver. The twists and turns came up with unbelievable speed. The G forces ...