The Captain of A Venture | En Route to Destination

There are a certain set of criteria with which an organisation defines what is success and what is failure. These comprise and consist of an organisation’s target as well as its goals. In any organisation–regardless of its size–the various departments would have their own individual targets which would form and give shape to both the top and bottomline targets.

Having this target or these targets is not enough. The processes by which we intend to reach our target are equally imperative.

In a nutshell, this refers to both the journey and the goal. The goal, for the most part, cannot and should not change. The journey, on the other hand, can and should be tweaked if it is not allowing us to reach our goals.

For instance, whenever one gets on a plane–there are a variety of ways in which a captain can steer us towards our destination.

Close your eyes and imagine the flight captain’s announcement before departure. He’ll usually update you on the route that they will be embarking upon, the weather conditions as well as an estimated time of arrival. As circumstances change–in the weather or on the ground–he would update you along the way if there are any delays or detours. If things were smooth sailing, he would also check in and let you know.

Similarly, leaders in an enterprise are like captains. They decide on a particular route via which they want to reach their destination. The destination and the route must be communicated to the passengers on board.

If changes occur due to unforeseen circumstances, we cannot just jump off the plane now, can we?

Is the captain, however, responsible for the quality of the service, food and drinks? We all know the answer to that one. The head flight attendant has that job. Similarly, although they are all travelling on the same vessel, they each have a different set of goals.

At the end of the day, what does an airline want? Happy customers, of course. That’s what every business wants.

Similarly, think of your own organisation. Who are the people who are responsible for ensuring that you have a happy customer? From the captain to the cabin crew: everyone has their own individual goal. In every organisation, though, the processes by which they reach this goal will be different.

Some organisations will focus on price and efficiency. Others on quality and class. And others on time-saving and convenience. An organisation has to make an offering based on economies of scale, which means that they cannot sell luxury cheap flights. But what a budget carrier can do, is offer some of those luxury services for an additional fee.

Although many of us are not flying as frequently as we used to, budget carriers are generally the favoured option for shorter flights when these add-ons are viewed by customers as unnecessary. While there do exist budget options for long haul flights, budget travellers tend to know what they’re getting into. It’s going to be a schlep. Probably not the best way to fly, but they’re on a budget so there you go.

Which brings me to my next point: is there a relationship between price and quality? My answer is usually: yes and no. A customer may choose to pay premium for a designer watch but not a luxurious flight. A flight is a very short-term consumable and a watch is a long-term possession. On the other hand, a customer may choose to treat themselves to a luxurious flight and be perfectly okay with a basic watch which tells the time.

These are all highly personal decisions contingent on our values–and by extension–what we value. So if you really want to know what someone values, you should observe, over time, what they seem to spend their money on. You probably don’t have access to all their spending habits, but you can see, what people are willing to pay for… and why they end up paying for it.

Where role does logic play in all of this?

Logic plays very little role in our spending habits till we tangibly see the impact it has had on our bottom line. And when the impact on the bottomline is no longer tenable, big structural changes will take place within the organisation. From budget cuts to staff cuts to pay rises and financial incentives, the system as a whole will need to be restructured so that it can create a new journey to arrive at its intended destination.

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