Mediocrity is good enough says Top Business Executive

We are delighted to welcome as our Guest post author, Sir Sebastian Littlecock-Dumpling, Chairman of Advanced Diesel Software Technology Ltd who is on the Institute’s management committee looking after Environmental issues. Littlecock-Dumpling has held senior executive positions with Ratners, Barings Bank and Enron. Over to you Seb!

Dear Directors, Leaders and any of the lower classes tuning in.

One was really awfully pleased to be able to scribe a few lines for this august publication. My daughter, Hortense, informed me that this was a ‘blogg’, when asked to explain she Instawotmessaged me or something so I still have no ruddy idea what a ‘blogg’ is. Anyway here’s a short speech – can you hear me at the back? (smiling face type icon!).

My topic today is Mediocrity, derived from the Latin mediocritatem ‘a middle state’. That is, neither up nor down, cutting edge or down the pan. This is a much maligned word in business today but probably the most effective company state if one is trying to be rich and successful and doing as little work as possible. And I can’t imagine why one shouldn’t want to follow this path.

Very rich and successful actor gets it!

A very rich and successful actor gets it!

Post Will Smith’s After Earth sci-fi blockbuster which was one of the top Mediocre Movies of all time, Will was quoted as saying

“I completely released the concept of goal-orientation and got into path-orientation – this moment, this second, these people, this interaction”

Marvellous! It’s the perfect example of rearranging reality to fit the moment. Ergo you can be right all of the time if you want to be and if you are a Boss you always need to be.

I remember back in the nineties when I was looking after some techie stuff for Amalgamated I.T.,  a computer geek chappy came to see me about selling some software to us. I remember him well, no tie, scruffy hair and jeans – I thought he was the window cleaner. He was called Lawrence, or Laurie Page, I can’t quite remember. He said would I like to by his Goggle (?) search engine software for $100,000!! Hah I countered, not while my trusty Yellow Pages tome is to hand. Now, I said, be gone scruffy and learn some respect for your elders and obvious betters!

Apparently his company has done quite well since then but I saved A.S. plc a lot of money and my bonus was pretty good that year. So from a Mediocre point of view – i.e. Never risk the next bonus – I was of course absolutely right!

Now one can go even further back in the annals of economic history to a splendid old geezer called John Stuart Mill who was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant.  One of his more famous quotations was:


Many business leaders, you know the sort; risk taking, ducking and diving, you can have it all if you work hard type, believe the quote actually promotes excellence. They may of course be right but as 99% of all businesses fail eventually, it’s safer, as we the mediocre elite know, to take the quote on face value.

So you splendid people, how can you ensure that your company becomes or remains mediocre enabling you to have a light hand on the tiller, little work but a large salary with lots of executive perks?

Here’s a ‘What to Do’ PowerPoint slide, the communication tool of preference, for those of us who proudly wave the flag of average, adequate, middling, mainstream, passable, uninspired and indifferent management and thus lead the great corporations of the world.


Than you for your time and off course do look me up on and let my people know you’d like a word.

Sir Seb

Stop press: Since this blog was posted Advanced Diesel Software Technology Ltd has gone into liquidation and Sir Sebastian is currently taking a short holiday in Bolivia where there is, co-incidently, no bilateral extradition treaty


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