Turkey soup is a really bad invention. It’s not that turkey soup tastes bad. But it’s kind of like banana bread taken to a nightmarish extreme.
No one that I know of buys bananas to make banana bread. Instead, bananas that were bought to be eaten as, well, bananas, end up sitting around too long and have long since lost their golden hue. They are clearly ready to be thrown out, but then someone says, “Wait, I can use them for banana bread.” At that point, one of two things happens. The bananas are actually turned into banana bread, or they sit around for another week or so on the promise of being turned into banana bread. Then, they rot to a disgusting state and are mercifully thrown out, as they should have been days or weeks earlier.
Turkey soup is worse because by the time it’s made, we’ve all been eating turkey for far too long and are already sick and tired of it. The last thing the family wants is to find one more way to eat turkey, but some enterprising soul won’t give up. Turkey soup is made and then eaten with great resentment while the family contemplates how much they now hate Pilgrims and their silly hats.
There’s a temptation in business to make turkey soup. Too often we hang onto a program longer than we should because someone still thinks there’s a way to squeeze one more ounce of life out of it.
That’s backward thinking. Whenever you have an initiative you need to start with an objective of what you want to achieve. In compliance, it’s likely about a behavior you want to elicit from people (such as calling the helpline) or a behavior you want to stop (like paying bribes).
The question then needs to be: what’s the best way to achieve our goal within our limited means?
But, when the discussion of objectives begins with: How do we get more mileage out of…? or How can we use these leftover…..? Then you know, you’re going about your thinking the wrong way, and you’re about to serve people a big, steaming hot bowl of turkey soup.
And even a nice dessert of banana bread probably isn’t going to help.
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