Insight or fatigue?

29 November 2010

What was that great saying in advertising - "half of advertising expenditure is wasted, the only difficulty is working out which half". I suspect that this phrase could be applied to so many things that we experience in our normal working lives.

Those endless memos from people seeking out information in the name of  knowledge management, compliance and business efficiency. Unfortunately little time is spent by the initiator thinking what the behavioural response might be at the other end.

This dynamic which is present in all organisations can become a mill stone round the neck of business progress and for many results in a form of corporate fatigue. Sadly for most suffering from this ailment there is no remedy – it’s easier to carry on doing what we've done before, it’s how we do things after all.

But for some others, the enlightened few, there is a remedy. But it requires time, enormous energy, determination and self belief and, in the final analysis, the support of those in leadership positions.  

Well as some of you might know "Insight or fatigue" is the title of our new publication on the reporting survey we have just completed of all FT350 companies. It makes for interesting reading and highlights a lot of opportunities for companies to improve their reporting.

It's clear there are many companies who still revel in the world of corporate opacity. My own view is that this is a short-sighted strategy in large part because it influences other behaviours in the organisation and ultimately colours long term business relationships.

For the majority of companies, the problem is "reporting fatigue" brought on by a reporting model which has grown and grown; a model that has arguably drowned most mainstream users in a sea of data. Critically, however, there seems to be some light on the horizon, a recognition amongst many influential parties that if a shorter annual report could be created, people would be better informed. Yes, less would be more. If we could create this model I suspect the fatigue most are feeling today could be converted into a process that delivers real business insight.

In such a world, hiding behind the compliance fog becomes more difficult, and it may be easier to spot the good from the bad.

David

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