Blue Peter ruined Action Man

Well, for me at any rate.

I loved my Action Man; I had the one with the fuzzy beard, fuzzy hair and grippy hands.  My mate had the talking Action Man but I had the armoured car.

We spent hours making up, what now seem like very blood thirsty, stories and acting out the scenarios we created.

But then Blue Peter went and ruined it.  You see, in their ‘make it yourself’ feature they were building an island hideaway and in the very best tradition it was made out of papier mache… that wasn’t the problem per se.  No, it was the fact that Lesley Judd said the island was ‘your doll.’

It wasn’t a doll.  It was Action Man.  Girls played with dolls, boys played with Action Men.

That was it.  After Lesley said he was a doll I never played with my Action Man again.  He’s still up there in the loft, with his strange 1970s hair cut… all alone.

Of course, it was an unintended consequence.

Like when I worked for a business that sold mortgages over the ‘phone.  Customers rang in and we could either send them out an information pack, we could partially complete an application form (known as a Part Pack) or we could fill in a complete application (known as a Full Pack) for signature and return.

Our conversion rate was massively better if we sent out Full Packs, so we targeted our telemarketers to send them out.

What do you reckon happened to our numbers?

Nope, you’re wrong, even though logically you’d expect it, wouldn’t you?

Our conversion rate went through the floor… because we had forgotten to target quality and quantity so agents simply banged any old Tom, Dick or Harry through the process, even those that just weren’t suitable who would have been filtered out of the process before our target was in place.

Again, an unintended consequence.

So, when you are setting targets and performance quotas for your franchisees it’s really important that you think through all the consequences, both intended and unintended.  I can’t think of a situation when it has been better just to have one target…

A suite or a range of targets is always best so you can balance out the unintended consequences.

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