Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The clattering chasses

I don’t go to parties often; I guess it’s a function of my age. I used to, when I was young, free and single. Now I’m not, parties happen without me.

Last Saturday, however, I was invited to one, and had a great time. Not in the way I did when I was young, but still in a beautiful-July-evening-in-the-garden sort of way. There were lots of interesting people, a beautiful garden and conversation that flowed freely.

As the wine flowed, so did my outgoing nature and I found myself bending the ear of one of the geniuses next door. I don’t know that he was a genius, he had had some success in Making Things Happen, and had been recognised for it. We were talking energy policy (a bit of a difference to younger day parties!) and decided that there was a swell of public opinion that cared about how we would be leaving this planet once we have burnt all the fossil fuels we can lay our hands on.

The clattering chasses are not being given fair information about where we are heading with our energy policy. In our happy July evening way chattering classes was far too dull a description for those who discuss such things. I fully realise how this gives away my idea of a good time, but somewhere along the way things changed. I became one the clattering chasses – sorry chattering classes – and started to care about such mundane things.

I don’t believe we do understand what the target is with energy and reducing carbon emissions. Not everyone agrees that the Waitrose brigade are ready to discuss energy policy at their dinner parties (it will take a lot to displace the state of pension schemes) but there is definitely a change from a few years ago.

Performance management understands the importance of making targets clear and understandable, as does project management and many other disciplines. If you don’t know where you are going, you have little chance of getting there on time.

It is the same with whatever we are trying to do. If we don’t understand what the target is, we cannot understand how our actions contribute, positively or negatively, towards it.

Having clear targets will enable you to achieve whatever is important to you. Ensuring everyone understands the target, and can see visible progress, will improve performance. It's worth considering what’s important to you right now, and how clear and communicated your targets are.

I know I should give it a rest whilst partying, but I also probably should have had one less glass of wine. Perhaps the two are linked? Can’t wait until I get invited to a party with Ed Milliband …


  1. Do you set targets in parties? N units? Y contacts? When do 'we' (the great unwashed) stop having targets and go wander down the garden path... when does rational take a bender?

  2. Caroline

    Clear targets likely Henley rowers supportd and creates alignment, for me is the way one brings these alive that realy makes a difference.

    Your party sounds fab and may have helped bring the targets alive, it is after all not just what we say rathert what we think and do that matters.


  3. Targets at parties? Now there's a thought!

    Unless the target is to enjoy each others' company and a beautiful summer's evening, I wasn't aware of any targets at the party I went to. But maybe that's just the parties I go to?

  4. Robert - actions speak louder than slightly tipsy words. Never a truer word ...