I read with interest a story in FORTUNE (April 30, 2007 – “Gap: Decline Of A Denim Dynasty”) about the rise and fall of clothes retailer Gap and something in it struck a cord. The article mentioned that after new CEO Paul Pressler took over the company, stores weren’t regularly renovated because no one could prove in advance that sales would improve.
“Everything had to be measured,” says another former merchandiser. “There was literally an ROI for every idea.”
Well, this is exactly what’s happening in my company and it seems like we’re losing sight that the company’s future is only possible because of talented, passionate people. It would be a shame if, like Gap, the creative ones “headed for the exits in droves”.
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That’s very true, but it can be said that having some kind of benchmark on what we do is unavoidable to ensure that we don’t waste resources on tasks that do not yield sufficient benefits.
Still, the frequency at which people in my company apply ROI to all initiatives is annoying, if not downright counter-productive.
As Vishua Dixit, vice president for research at Genentech, puts it: “Nothing will kill it [innovation] faster than trying to manage it, predict it, and put it on a timeline.”
I don’t know who’s made the first comment, Stephen… however, don’t be surprised if more good ppl quit
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