Riding Dead Horses

This came from John Niland’s newsletter and he attributes it to Iain Robertson (who I don’t know).

The tribal wisdom of the North Dakota Indians, passed down from generation to generation, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse the best strategy is to dismount.

However, customers often attempt a whole range of far more advanced strategies, such as to:


1.      Change riders.

2.      Buy a stronger whip.

3.      Do nothing: “This is the way we have always ridden dead horses”.

4.      Visit other countries to see how they ride dead horses.

5.      Perform a productivity study to see if lighter riders improve the dead horse’s performance.

6.      Hire a contractor to ride the dead horse.

7.      Harness several dead horses together to try to increase the speed.

8.      Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

9.      Appoint a committee to study the horse and assess how dead it actually is.

10.  Re-classify the dead horse as “living impaired”.

11.  Develop a Strategic Plan for the management of dead horses.

12.  Rewrite the expected performance requirements for all horses.

13.  Modify existing standards to include dead horses.

14.  Declare that, as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads, and therefore contributes significantly more to the bottom line than many other horses.

15.  Promote the dead horse to a supervisory or senior management position.

16.  Do nothing in the hope that the dead horse recovers.

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