This is a phrase I hear far too often and I’ve decided to “out” it. People tend to use it without really understanding its true meaning and I’ll confess to being slightly confused as to the precise meaning myself in the past. There are a whole series of other management catchphrases like this that I sometimes slip in to using myself. It stops here people – if you catch me using them, call me on it. For now, here is the explanation of Order of Magnitude that I found via Wikipedia.
If two numbers differ by one order of magnitude, one is about ten times larger than the other. If they differ by two orders of magnitude, they differ by a factor of about 100
Thus when people say we need to move our sales figures by an order of magnitude, I’d speculate that they don’t actually mean that and perhaps you should point it out to them 🙂