It’s the last month of the year again and while our families are gearing themselves up for Christmas some of us are running around like headless chickens trying to close every last deal and cost saving initiative to hit our year end targets.

It is an irony that as we approach the season of good cheer our focus is on year end closing and everything that it entails.  Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones? Perhaps you have comfortably sailed home with your kpi dashboard all on green and with not a hint of orange or red in sight. But for many in these last few days of the year, it’s about trying to keep the balance of keeping a light and friendly attitude without losing focus on the work that still needs to happen before the office party and finally turning off the lights for 2014.

That’s the strange thing about targets, they can seem so far off and yet, like distant ships on the horizon they tend to creep up on you until they are towering down like giant mountains of steel. It is only then you realize just what a tough haul the year has been.

And yet we all know that business is so much more than numbers on a page, so much more than forecasts and broken promises.  It is all too easy to forget what it all really is about. You offer a service or product to someone that needs it and an exchange value is agreed and expectations set. And so it goes the whole world over from a fish market in London to a trading bank in Hong Kong. From the baker on the corner to the optician in the high street. From the oil rig in the sea to the factory making powdered milk for babies. We are all offering something in exchange for reward and recognition.

I like to think that it’s fun, that it makes sense, that it’s all worthwhile. Not everything is about consumerism and yet some academics think that it is.  Some think that business stinks, that it is somehow intrinsically bad.  And yet even lecturers and teachers are providing a service in return for a fee paid. They too have their KPI’s – their students passing or failing in large or small numbers.

I wonder if there is anyone that is not somehow connected to this chain. Someone, somewhere sitting on a desert island dreaming of home?

And then you realize there are people who are disconnected (or like to think they are): the monks and religious leaders, the philosophers and the poets, the hobos walking down an endless road with no particular destination in mind.  Perhaps they are the ones that once made sense of it all and decided it was not for them?  All I know is that among the hundreds of things I still must do for work it is important that I do not forget my Christmas list or to check the wine in the cellar before it’s too late!

Have a good week, just three more to go! 🙂