Up Up and Away

Up, Up and Away

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted

“Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied, “You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above ground level. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.

“I am,” replied the woman, “how did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is that I’m still lost. Frankly you have not been much help so far.”

The woman below responded, “You must be in management.”

“I am” replied the balloonist but how did you know?”

“Well,” said the woman:

  1. you don’t know where you are
  2. you don’t know where you are going
  3. you have risen to where you are largely due to a lot of hot air
  4. you have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep
  5. you expect people “beneath” you to solve your problems

The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before you met me but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”


Top Tips for Managers:

  • You need to know exactly where you are against key measures
  • you need to have a clear sense of direction with an end goal that everyone in your team understands and wants to achieve
  • only make promises you can deliver
  • engage your people to find a better solution – don’t dump the problem on them

As regards hot air- well you have control of that as well!