Magazine article Marketing

Is There Any Real Excuse for Poor Performances?

Magazine article Marketing

Is There Any Real Excuse for Poor Performances?

Article excerpt

It never ceases to amaze me how companies reporting poor financial results or sales figures still insist on putting their own gloss on events. The chief executive will play the sympathy card and describe how the business has had to face intense competitive pressures in its core market. What he or she is really admitting is that the firm has been roundly stuffed by the opposition.

OK, so no board is going to spell it out, in print, that its whole operation is on its knees. But you can tell things are really bad when it says, for instance, that it is "well placed to benefit from the upturn".

Even when things are going well, the temptation is to describe what was actually a run of lucky breaks as if it were a meticulously planned expansion strategy. Even that highly successful transport operator Stagecoach has come up with a fine example of such doublethink. Its latest report to shareholders speaks of how the group is reaping the benefits of a carefully targeted acquisition programme. The full impact of this statement was slightly reduced however when the company went on to say that it was applying for every British Rail train franchise on offer.

Still, its hardly as bad for today's executive as their counterparts in the hungry years in the late 1920s and 30s. At times, visiting executives had to stay close to Wall Street while they tried to find out why their stock had fallen through the floor. Hotel reception staff would apparently ask them when they booked the room . …

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