“Nope. Wasn’t me. I did not eat the chocolate. Not one piece. Nada. None. … Oh that chocolate? Well, it’s possible that at some point in the indeterminate past, I might have restated the number of squares of chocolate that were left in the bar …”

So, whaddya know – Dell have been “misleading” investors for years.

Years.

Who would have thunk it?

“The investigation identified evidence that certain adjustments appear to have been motivated by the objective of attaining financial targets. [No!] The activities typically occurred at the close of a quarter.” [No! Surely not!]

Now, we’re not talking Enron Part 2 here. Net revenues will be re-stated by about one percent. And we’re only talking pennies on a share. This time.

One of Seth Godin’s 7 reasons why you might fail to become the best in the world is:

“You focus on the short term instead of the long (and quit when the short term gets too hard.)”

My take on yet-another-financial-scandal played out in a publicly quoted corporation? It’s very simple – we need a new model folks. We need a new model, cos the Top Gun, A-type-personalities-with-rabies on Wall Street whose sole concern seems to be faster-than-instantaneous gratification are measuring, and will continue to measure things in a way that are causing companies to … how can I put this? Stray … somewhat.

“What gets measured gets done,” sayeth Mr Peters. And. He. Is. Right.

“I didn’t know what my subordinates were doing.” and “We were just obeying orders,” were not an acceptable defence at Nuremberg and neither of them are an acceptable defence now. But what can we expect? In the camps, Nazi personnel were measured on their ability to extract gold fillings and other items of value before ‘processing’ the inmates in the required numbers. And anyone who disobeyed was shot. Remember Hermann Goering’s words at the Nuremberg trials?:

“… alles was er um ihn hatte, waren ja Männer, alle keine Männer waren sechs Fuß darunter.”

(Translation – all he [Hitler] had around him were yes-men, all the no-men were six feet under.)

What gets measured, gets done.

Subordinate: Boss, these targets are artificial.
Boss: Doesn’t matter – get it done.

S: Aren’t those growth rates unrealistic?
B: Doesn’t matter – get it done.

S: But stuffing the trade with product will only buy us a few weeks of time!
B: Doesn’t matter – get it done.

S: But (now that the trade is completely stuffed with product) we can’t cook the books! It’s wrong … It’ll only buy us a few quarters of peace … We’ll be caught!
B: What part of “GET. IT. DONE.do you not understand?

S: I won’t be party to this …
B: Well then I’ll fire you and replace you with someone who will be party to this – and he’ll earn that fat bonus that you’ve been depending on …

We need a new model folks.


“The corporation as we know it, which is now 120 years old, is unlikely to survive the next 25 years. Legally and financially yes, but not structurally and economically.” (Peter Drucker, 2001)

Related Posts:
Short-termism