When I talk about V.S.O.P., I am not talking about Cognac. Sorry to disappoint, but this missive is not about drinking or brandy. It’s about making things happen and having something to show for it. And that is my question for Ireland. Where is the VSOP?
VSOP in the Cognac world is an abbreviation of “Very Special Old Pale.” In the world of business and innovation, VSOP stands for “Visible Signs of Progress.”
When I was a Partner at Accenture, before we would start a big project we would consider the VSOP early on. The client, and especially the employees, needed to see progress for them to believe that something good was happening. They needed to believe that, although change is painful, it will be worth it and look at the progress we are all making. Progress can be measured and it can be measured in short time intervals.
When reducing ten billion dollars of cost out of an airline, we showed month to month savings. When converting a strategy of a software company from consulting to licensing, we showed the improved margin on a weekly basis. When reorganizing a utility we could show the improved effectiveness right away. With VSOP change takes on a life of its own and the good parts accelerate.
Like other Irish Americans I have been watching the economic turmoil in Ireland for years. There have been big conferences (Farmleigh), big initiatives, new government, award dinners and lots and lots of talk. The Irish Diaspora is often cited as a source of change and resources. Innovation is cited too as the key to rebuilding the Irish economy. All good.
However, I would like to see VSOP for Ireland. I am looking for Visible Signs of Progress and I don’t see any. Is there any? A new economic report was just issued stating that in Silicon Valley 20,000 new jobs have been created. Those are 20,000 in 2011 alone. I take that as a VSOP.
If there is progress to be made in improving the Irish economy, someone needs to show us the visible signs that progress is being made. Progress is not a plan. Progress is not a meeting. Progress is making something happen and being able to point to it in a positive way. From where I sit right now I don’t see much VSOP in Ireland. Tell me if there is.
Casey Stengel, the American baseball coach said, “Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen, some people say ‘what happened?'” I fear the powers that be in Ireland are still asking “What happened?”
Many of us categorized in the Diaspora are more than willing to make things happen.