TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It's time to find a new metaphor to replace "The Perfect Storm."
Last year it was a clever theme for the Management Briefing Seminars, given the tumultuous condition of the industry and the cinematic allusion to the George Clooney movie.
Very slick, very cool.
Maybe too cool, because many (most?) of last year's speakers felt obliged to use the image in their presentations, which became a little tiresome by the end of the week.
But then it was over, right?
Like a summer thundershower, it hits and then it's gone.
Two months later, guess what metaphor washed up at the Global Leadership Conference at the Greenbrier?
The perfect storm also blew into Paris last fall, just in time for the J.D. Power and Associates International Roundtable.
Then cold winter winds carried the storm image to Dearborn in January, where it was used in speeches at the Automotive News World Congress.
And I'd testify under oath that I also heard it a couple weeks later at the Power roundtable in New Orleans.
Here we are, back in Traverse City a year later, and guess what?
Like a virulent strain of Asian flu that mutates to survive and travels from port to port, the perfect storm is back, too.
Now there is even talk about the calm after the storm.
Maybe in some remote parts of the globe.
Let's face it, the next two years will be an extended period of change and upheaval, and many of us will be tempted to go back to the perfect storm metaphor.
As Dave Cole said the other day, in the book and the movie the crew dies. There will be some casualties in the coming months, but nothing like that. And no matter how apt, a metaphor that is used too often loses its punch.
So if you think of something new, let me know.
Remember, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at