Have you attended a “Mad Tea Party” Board of Directors or management meeting and listened to the CEO’s unrealistic expectations about future performance? Did you leave the meeting scratching your head about what you heard?
Lewis Carroll introduced us to the strange Mad Hatter and the March Hare in his 1865 book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter hosted the Mad Tea Party; during this raucous event there was one revealing exchange with Alice:
‘Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all around the table, but there was nothing on it but tea.
‘I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked.
‘There isn’t any,’ said the March Hare.
How many times has a corporate leader told you there was plenty of wine about, but in fact, there was only tea at best? Your gut is screaming… “There is no way this company can hit those targets”. But your hope and the March Hare CEO’s enthusiasm get the better of you. I have seen this scenario repeated many times at stuck companies; there can be over optimism and not enough effort focused on analyzing the brutal facts and confronting reality.