More often than not a farfetched or absurd aim is a sign that a previous realistic aim hasn’t been met. It’s easier to hide failure behind some unattainable dream than come to terms with and correct flaws that saw a more modest goal missed. My favourite current example in Sport is England Rugby Union coach Eddie Jones. After he lost the Rugby World Cup final because he stubbornly refused to accommodate a creative alternative to honest endeavor in the sport’s key creative position, his denial and then deflection came in the form of a new exhortation to his pet players, to be the best team the game has ever known. This ridiculous aim landed him and his pets a new contract, and supporters a boring brand of risk free rugby destined to lead back to the previous success levels at best. There’s no lack of self awareness to marvel at, what’s insulting to critical fans is the brazen contempt for their predictions, even after events proved them right. Who wants to hear that safety first certainty is the only option due to supposedly ingrained cultural shortcomings from the ugly boot and mouth of the oppressors who go out of their way to game, taunt, humiliate and destroy the viable creative alternative?
As in sport, that crucible of life, so in business. The chances of Opal Oceans, or Undercurrent Affairs becoming a billion dollar brand would seem remote. And nowhere in the sales blurb will you find such a preposterous claim. Technically it’s possible, there are examples of FMCG’s and new Media models developing into such big corporate beasts, more likely is slow burner to a million dollar turnover. But a blog called Billion Dollar Brand with the favourite Polymath runners featured has a much more alliterative roll to it than Million Dollar Brand, and the property gearing near miss in Istanbul that would have provided a more solid platform for take-off proved that the story behind any effort ground up on the frontiers is probably the ultimate way to add value to the brand. Turkish culture does a special kind of crazy, so Opal Oceans under mercurial leadership not afraid of failure is just as likely to end up a Billion Dollar Brand as any England team under Corporal Jones and the pugilistic Farrell is to end up Greatest Team Ever. Polymath Creations is working on it. We’re in it for the long haul
Then there’s Project Immortal. Adam Peaty is the greatest breastroke swimmer the world has ever know. Quite comfortably. He’s broken and holds all the world records at 50m and 100m, and needs to set himself new targets. So he, or his coaches, came up with the aim of the perfect swim, one so quick that it would never be beaten, and called it Project Immortal. To accomplish that, he’d have to swim the 50m in close to 55 seconds, a time that not long ago would have been considered impossible. Now it’s just unthinkable. Micro seconds is meters in a short sprint in the pool, and such a swim would leave competitors literally trailing in his wake. He wants to set a time that is so intimidating, rivals today and well into the future are beaten before they get into the pool. There’s nothing defensive or hopeful about that, or anything detached from reality. He is so far ahead of his rivals, he is effectively competing with himself. And in that case, he has the platform to attempt the unthinkable, and leave a record time that stands the test of time.