Management by Objective was a business craze a couple of decades ago. It postulated that results can be predicted based on measurable, objective actions.
Want to sell more insurance? Have your agents make more cold calls and convert a higher percentage of calls to "appointments". Have your agents focus on selling the customer SOMETHING on each appointment. Once they are a customer they become vulnerable to a endless stream of up-selling.
At the end of the year trim your sales force based on a stew of performance-to-objectives. Trim the lowest 10% in cold calls per day. Trim the lowest 10% in conversion-to-appointment ratio. Trim the 10% who have the lowest percentage at punching the appointments into an entry-level product. And so on and so on.
The tide started to flow out in the economy. Companies find their primary problem shifting from finding any kind of workers to having to trim staff. It is the end of the year. Performance-to-objectives are being tallied and "cut sheets" generated.
And suddenly the phones in the ERJ family start ringing. Some of the callers are very insistent...pushy even. I drive them nuts. I tell them, "I am retired. I will just drop in when I have time."