Hit Those Targets

Unbelievably only a month or so after the VW saga broke, we have another example of chasing targets and taking actions that are for the benefit of the corporation, both financially and with market share, but with no benefit to the consumer. In this new reported case, an Australian court has ruled the same product was labelled as 3 different targeted pain killers & sold at twice the price as the base product, with the same active ingredient.
With so many businesses including Ethical Trading policies in an attempt to convince the customer that they are not there just for their own benefit and those of the shareholders, it is not SME companies demonstrating this gulf between espoused values and actions; somewhat disappointingly it is the very companies who should be showing leadership due to their mass influence, blue chip multinationals.

So why do individuals within these huge organisations come up with these hoodwinking ideas and why do senior managers both allow it and support it? Let’s be frank, this is not innovation, it’s creative cheating, customer manipulation and abuse of position. I suspect it’s sanctioned in the name of growth and competition.
Leadership is not easy and involves having difficult conversations and making tough decisions. Innovation is good, encouraging innovative thinking as a culture is fantastic, but don’t let it run away with itself. In both reported cases, it stands to reason that someone somewhere came up with the ideas initially; clearly leadership was weak, it didn’t challenge, set the parameters of acceptability and failed to harness essentially a creative idea and challenge the scientists to come up with scientifically backed solutions. Sales and marketing saw an easy win, management saw target-fulfilment as more important and potentially, a bonus culture drove people to think about their wallets and not the consumer.
Leadership is not easy! Leadership is about doing the right thing. The company said the products had been “designed to help the consumer easily navigate our range”, particularly in groceries where there was no pharmacy.
“Consumer research indicates that 9 in 10 people (88%) look for pain relief for a specific type of pain (eg headache, migraine, back pain) and 7 in 10 (71%) say pain-specific packs help them decide which product is best for their needs,” said the regulatory and medical affairs director for the company.
So if it is within the letter of the law, does that make it right?