A bit of unsolicited advice to business executives trying to explain why their company or their industry is suddenly in the soup:
Please spare us the “perfect storm” metaphor.
It’s hackneyed, for starters. It doesn’t square with the facts. And for people who fancy themselves leaders, it’s downright unbecoming.
The reason the perfect storm is such an appealing metaphor for these shipwrecked captains of industry is that it appears to let them off the hook. After all, who can blame you if the ship goes down in one of those freak, once-in-a-century storms that result when three weather systems collide? It’s an act of nature that nobody could have predicted — or so the story goes. (…)
The first thing to understand about the perfect-storm defense is that these guys actually buy into this nonsense. (…) The second thing to understand is that, fundamentally, they’re wrong. (…)
What capsized the economy was not a perfect storm but a widespread failure of business leadership — a failure that is only compounded when executives refuse to take responsibility for their misjudgments and apologize.
via Steven Pearlstein at The Washington Post.