No need for targets?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Emmanuel KenningFunnily enough nothing has been grinding my gears in insurance recently, which worries me.

So instead I shall be mostly writing about tennis.

To be honest I've never really been in to trying hard. If you don't try then you can't fail is a motto that has served me well in passing exams, retraining at my own expense as a journalist and trying to build a fledgling career.

Which is why I was so impressed to hear what Leon Smith, the head of men's and women's tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association, had to tell the BBC. 

"What I've learned is not to give targets," he said. "We've done that before - it's not the way to go."

Now in the name of balance and fairness he went on to say that focusing on the process could mean exciting times.

Last year Wimbledon fortnight served up, among other things, 207,000 meals, 100,000 pints of beer and lager, 28,000 kg of strawberries and 25,000 bottles of champagne in a fortnight.

It did not do that for free on behalf of the near half a million visitors.

The aim was to make money, in fact it made over £31m. It has had a "surplus" of at least £25m every year since 1994. An incredibly rough calculation makes that at least £425m over the past 17 years.

And with this it has....

Well, the underrated Tim Henman achieved his success despite the LTA's system. Andy Murray went to Spain to get his grounding in tennis.

In my opinion, in the history of sports administration, never has so little been achieved by so many with so much.

But, after all that, an organisation making nearly half a billion pounds every generation or so really shouldn't have targets should it?

Imagine if insurers took the same approach. Refused to give any targets on what product lines they were looking to develop, which parts of the world they saw as ripe for expansion or what combined operating ratio they were looking to achieve.

Or perhaps, if a broker declared they had no targets on gross written premium, profitability, customer satisfaction, cross selling and staff engagement - would you want to work there?

It would be enough to make you choke on your strawberries and cream.

  • LinkedIn  
  • Save this article
  • Print this page  

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact [email protected].

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have an Insurance Age account, please register now.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an indvidual account here: