(Mr. Greedy, every morning, used to eat 66 succulent sausages and 48 pieces of toast)
There’s a phenomenon called ‘escalation’. The dictionary defines at as when “something gets more intense step by step”. This phenomenon occurs in all sorts of areas in our lives, and one place where it annoys me more than any is in business.
Allow me to explain. I believe in progress, but not progress that throws to the wind sustainability, realism, justice, health and ecology. In short, it’s probably better for me to say I believe in development — that development is a good thing — but I don’t believe in endless progression.
In business, especially corporate business, this thing of endless progression rears its ugly head way too often. We want more profits this year than last, greater production this year than last, more time spent on doing things this year than last, and on and on we need to do better and better and better and produce more and more and more.
At the same time, I find that the kind of profits many companies expect to pull in doesn’t line up to what they are paying their staff or the actual amount of workforce they have. In other words, they provide an inflation based eight percent increase in salaries, but expect almost half more production than the previous year, and will hire fewer people than is needed to get it there.
This is one of the problems the Western world is facing in its present Capitalistic systems. We shout ‘more, more, more’ or, rather, the rich few shout ‘more, more, more’ but there is very little talk of sustainability. There is little talk of slowing down and implementing development ethics that take into account that people can only do so much, should only do so much, and enough is enough.
Many sales people have experienced this first hand. If this month we manage to exceed our target, next month’s target is placed higher than it may otherwise have been. If we reach it or exceed it, the next month’s target is placed even higher.
There comes a point when realism must be taken into account, but seldom is it. Once we reach saturation point and have run out of manpower, skills, or we’ve been working to the bone and no longer have the energy — and so we miss that month’s target — then someone needs to be fired.
Of course it isn’t fair. But it’s the philosophy of 110 percent. No one can give 110 percent all-year round without burning out sometime. But companies tend to always expect 110 percent, all the time.
Personally, I think a bad businessman gives 110 percent. A smart and healthy businessman needs to only give 100 percent.
Many people feel like a failure that they don’t exceed their goals. Why should that be the case? We never get to celebrate our successes under this philosophy either, because the goal posts are always moving.
That’s escalation. The philosophy of more. The philosophy of fatter. The rat race, as they call it. A deeply flawed philosophy. A successful business, in my mind, is one that manages to give better quality of life to all — not just to the few.
The philosophy of fatter provides no quality of life, no rest — it’s unhealthy — and therefore should be jettisoned from society’s philosophy.