Would Midland firms benefit from appointing a head of inertia? Neil Boom, managing director of London-based Gresham PR believes it's the way forward...
Phew! Do you sometimes get the feeling that life is moving so fast you can hardly keep up with it?
Hop into a top of the range luxury car and the driver's display looks like the cockpit of a modern fighter jet. I am sure even Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear has trouble keeping up with the changes in technology.
And take mobile phones. By the time you have grasped how to use your latest model it is almost obsolete.
One recent survey found that a third of people who bought mobile phones offering the new 3G technology were totally unaware of the capability.
Smart salesmen, you might think, but pretty dumb consumers.
Remember how we were all mesmerised by the dot-com boom of 1999-2000? Nobody wanted to buy "old economy" shares - cement and plasterboard makers, bridge builders and lorry manufacturers.
Bright young men and women became the economic revolutionaries of the day - brandishing their spread sheets at bewildered middle-aged men in grey suits panicking them into believing that unless they embraced the new order their careers were finished.
It was the same across the West Midlands where traditionally managed businesses, especially in engineering, felt compelled to join the revolution and invest in ventures which promised the moon and stars but seldom possessed enough business sense to lift it off the ground. So millions - no, probably billions - were poured and lost in dot-com ventures.
My solution? Well, I would put a brake on fast and foolish decisions by creating a director with the sole brief of saying no to new projects.
Call him the Head of Inoperations, or Director of Inertia, or Head of No Development. This director would have the power of veto, with the absolute right to block changes and innovations.
Currently, the nearest most companies come to resisting change is a bit of half-hearted resistance by the finance director.
But even the most curmudgeonly FD is eventually forced to approve the finance for projects that other directors support.
For example, if only the latelamented conglomerate GEC had hired a Director of Inoperations it might still be around today as a FTSE 100 company.
Sadly, the new GEC management team jumped head first into what was going to be an enormous TMT market.
Take Unilever and Procter & Gamble. If they hadn't been quite so keen to join the dot-com revolution they wouldn't have blown so much on ill-considered consumer website ventures.
Both companies spent thousands, reacting far too quickly to what they saw as a market place they had to be in. If only they had appointed a director who had the brief to tell the companies to pause for breath and say no to these illjudged schemes.
In theory, this is the role of a non-executive director. But does it always happen?
Directors should welcome more heretics and dissidents into the fold.
So next time you think your colleagues are being intransigent when opposing your pet scheme for rapid growth, think of the longterm value they are really adding by saying no not yes.
It may be just the decision (or non decision) that could save your job.
And those of the people you employ.