Korean Airlines VP goes Nuts about Nuts

Here at ‘How To Be Rich and Successful’, which is now South Krukiztan’s 13th favourite Blog, we often acknowledge those whose leadership skills and management ability become a shining beacon for all of us who aspire to be the ‘C’ level execs that ordinary people talk about in wonder at Sales Conferences the world over.

To recap the story: The head of Korean Air’s in-flight service has stepped down after a dispute with a crew member over the way she was served nuts. Travelling as a passenger, Korean Airlines VP Heather Cho reportedly delayed a flight to expel a crew member over the way she was served nuts. Ms. Cho was seated in first class when she took issue with a flight attendant who handed her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a dish. Ms Cho is actually the eldest of the airline’s Chairman Cho Yang-ho’s three children, who are all executives with the airline so in reality is really a VIP VP

Of course the world’s press are up in arms about this, portraying her as ‘arrogant’, ‘only got the job because of nepotism’ and ‘out of touch with reality’ as though these attributes were a bad thing rather than key requirements of a successful Senior Manager.

The so called journalists who write this rubbish  probably have never flown first class and if they had they would realise how important this issue was. It’s all very well chucking packets of nuts and spraying beer over the people at the back of the plane but there are standards to be met when you turn left at the door. Ms Cho was absolutely ‘On Brand’ as marketing people are inclined to say. No idea what that means but most of them know their Chablis from their Chardonnay and also fly in the pointy end so lets not quibble with the concept here.

I, of course, fly first class everywhere and many times a year and I for one will not fly with Korean Airlines ever again. In fact I won’t fly with Cathay Pacific (napkin folded incorrectly), Delta (wine glass with a smudge on the base), Emirates (knife blade pointing inwards to plate) and the list goes on. I don’t spend £1000’s for this kind of appalling service (actually I don’t, the company does, but the point is still valid) without expecting to be treated as a Deity not an ordinary human being. With Emirates we were half way to Dubai when I demanded the captain return to London or at least hurl the steward out into the Adriatic and it was only when he kindly gave me another bottle of the ‘Krug ’57 that I relented and allowed to plane to resume its course to its destination.

Through my contacts I have obtained photos of what was served rather than what should have been served by the hapless Cabin Crew member, who apparently has still yet to be arrested. I will be forwarding these to the appropriate authorities in order to speed up this mis-carriage of justice.





Hopefully the airline will come to its senses, reinstate her and then promote her to the board. Marvellous lady, got more spunk than many a man I know.The good news is that the Institute of Mediocre Management will be approaching Ms Cho to see if she will agree to speak at our annual get together at the Royal Fartwanglers Club on the subject of Plebs and their occasional usefulness

The Office Xmas Party | Saving Unnecessary Expense | Use the 3 V’s

Just had a note from my Medusa my temporary P.A. Fantastic girl, no one ever gets past her into my inner sanctum, one look from her and they just freeze and stand there looking awkward.

Anyway, efficient girl that she is, she reminded me it was nearly Christmas and where did I want to hold the Xmas party. I was a little confused at first and said it would be at my little hideaway on St Lucia, like I do every year. It was her turn then to look stupefied and said how would the whole Office get out there?

I had a brief vision of the Operations lot sat around my pool farting and drinking my Dom Perignon ‘52 out of beer glasses and holding fistfuls of my lobster canapés in their hot sweaty hands. Luckily the vision passed but my mood was somewhat soured.

Through clenched teeth I asked what party dear Medusa was referring to and she said the Office Xmas Party. Apparently all her previous employers held these and some of them had them every year. Such profligacy is hard to imagine! Don’t they realise that there is a global downturn? I’ve had to cut down my first class travel to ye olde Caribbean to me only and put the wife and kids in cattle class.

I then asked her to explain what this ‘party’ would entail and she advised that the company would hire a venue, provide food and drinks and some entertainment all at the company’s expense. I nearly wet myself; she can be really funny for a P.A. sometimes!

Then the true horror dawned on me – she was for real.

The Office (c) NBC

The Office (c) NBC

So for the benefit of any Manager reading this who is also in the unfortunate position of have to agree to an Office Party I have some useful tips on how to organise one. To be absolutely clear, the tips are for one of your minions to use to organise the party.

Remember the three V’s: Venue, Vouchers and Volunteers


Check out the local entertainment website and look for the reviews. By booking late the 2 to 5 stars places will have long gone so it’s the solitary star hole that’s a strip club in the evening that’s the perfect site. No there won’t be any ‘strippers’as the party should be held at lunchtime. You’ll get a better deal then.


The last thing you want is the staff over indulging. Its nothing to do with being tight fisted more a paternal concern for their welfare and of course Health and Safety. The Voucher should allow the recipient to have 1 meal (including starter or Dessert) plus one alcoholic drink or one soft drink. Keep the former to light beers or a thin white wine.


To get everyone in the festive spirit ask for volunteers to provide the entertainment, especially the ones always horsing about laughing when they should be working. They can share their hilarious jokes with the rest of the staff and management. Also get the lot who tell stories of how they rinsed ‘Angels’ or ‘My Way’ at Karaoke to contribute their vocal talents as well and call it the the ‘V’ Factor’ talent show or lack of, for all to enjoy.

I may Skype in briefly from my bolt hole in the sun or my Butler may do said honours.

Happy Christmas one and all

Scrooge* Lannister

* Who says Senior Management don’t have a sense of humour

New TESCO offer set to restore confidence in ailing grocer

For those who may not know Tesco PLC is a multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer. After Walmart, it is the second-largest retailer in the world measured by profits and second-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues. It has stores in 12 countries across Asia, Europe and North America and is the grocery market leader in the UK. But  it’s now in trouble for allegedly telling porky pies about its recent profits. A new Mediocre company we Brits can be proud of! Take a look at the share price. Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 18.41.10

And this crisis has hit the other side of the pond as poor old Warren Buffet is now down to his last $70.3 Billion as he loses heavily on Tesco shares. (Please note that If you are able to donate to the WB I’m very nearly broke fund please do so that we can assist the poor guy in his dotage. As usual send all donations to Dick who will pass them on taking only reasonable expenses out)

There is however some good news. With the departure or suspension of many key Tesco Executives, rumours are circulating in the City of the imminent appointment of Torvil DeHavilland-Pratt, noted Marketing guru and a Director of the Institute of Mediocre Management, as Most Senior Executive RS VP Promotions at Tesco In an exclusive interview, Torvil revealed how he has married together the financial expertise of the remaining Tesco Accountants and the stores reputation for low prices. So coming to a store near you will be the  Get more Cash for your Cash! instore promotion He explains: “The prices for brand new and genuine £10 pound notes will be slashed. They were previously on sale at £14.99 each but will now be only £12 each or 2 for £22.99. If these notes are invested in the new Tesco Investment Trusts Upgrade Programme or TiTsUp customers will receive an interest rate of between -10% and +10%” Typical Example of whats bound to happen to your investment:

Buy 10 x £10 notes at £14.99 each £149.90
Introductory discount (2 for £22.99) £34.95
Actual price for customer £114.95
Total at end of 5 years cumulative interest (with assumed interest rate at 10%) £185.13*

“That’s over £70 profit from your TiTsUp fund”, explained Torvil, “compared to none if you’d kept 10 x £10 notes in a tin under your bed for the same time. And if you put in £100,000 and why wouldn’t one? You would get £71,000 yes £71,000 for doing nothing but acting smugly for 5yrs.” So Dick Lannister says ignore Warren Buffet, what does he know? With Torvil likely to lead the way at Tesco, sell everything you own and invest in this famous Mediocre UK company’s fantastic scheme.

* Please note that your capital rate ratios portfolios can levitate gravitationally both in a vertical and upwards scenario but also move in an anti-positive direction which may result in your fiscal remainder being short of a contribution or two at the end of term.

Top 10 Bad Behaviours

According to a recent press release by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) the top ten bad behaviours witnessed in the workplace were:

  • Cutting corners – 72%
  • Lying to hide your mistakes – 72%
  • Badmouthing colleagues – 68%
  • Passing the buck (when you don’t get your work done) – 67%
  • Slacking off when no one’s watching – 64%
  • Lying to hide other people’s mistakes – 63%
  • Taking credit for other people’s work – 57%
  • Taking a sickie – 56%
  • Lying about skills and experience – 54%
  • Taking low value items from work – 52%

This is an extremely worrying set of statistics and despite the source being a press release is very likely to be true.

It’s clear from this that successive governments and do-gooders have been pushing the education agenda too far. If you start telling the workers that they are equal in stature and status to their managers they start getting ideas well above their station and start behaving like one.

These so called ‘bad’ behaviours are the cornerstone of our Mediocre Management culture, a set of carefully honed skills that take years to perfect, requiring practice and effort to ensure they are never spotted and the manager never caught out.

Enabling the staff (sorry, ‘colleagues’), students, interns (!) and Doris the tea lady to get above their station in life and ‘cut corners’ or ‘’pass the buck’ is manifestly unacceptable behaviour and must be stopped or the rot will soon set in. Before we know it there will workers on the Board, the pay gap between them and us will shrink and we may even see a need for accountability for management decisions. This needs to be stopped!

Now in the good old days you could take one or two out and flog them as an example to the others but not today, you can’t even fire someone without 20 warnings and HR crawling all over your back so you’ll need to keep your retribution legal and above board.

My suggestions are:

  • An outdoors bonding weekend in February involving a river, a build-your -own raft and 7.00am starts
  • Compulsory team meetings every Friday at 5pm
  • A Bush tucker trial where employees have to eat insects or work unpaid overtime
  • Promote the most disliked member of staff to a supervisory role over the most rebellious department

If none of this works, then fall back to the tried and trusted method of a long-winded re-organisation. Set impossible targets and create a host of ‘challenges’ to be overcome with a gentle hint that winners keep their jobs.

Remember Mediocrity must prevail!

The 3 Pillars of Mediocre Management

There is an old joke, which is funny as it is based on standard guidance and practice for all mediocre  ‘C’* level executives.

In essence the outgoing CEO leaves his successor 3 numbered envelopes and tells him to open the first envelope when he hits his first crisis, the second envelope for the next disaster and then finally open the third envelope when the next catastrophe hits. This is what the notes in the envelopes said:

In envelope #1: Blame me

In envelope #2: Reorganize

In envelope #3: Prepare 3 envelopes

Practically speaking there is of course a great deal of sense in this methodology so aspiring ‘C’ levels, listen and learn.

1.     Blame the departing executive

This should be an obvious first step as the outgoing boss is usually leaving because they have been at the company for 4 years and one of their first acts was to announce a 5 year turn around plan. This plan now looks likely to be a giant balls up so they have found another highly paid job elsewhere and handed over the reigns to the incoming executive who will now have to try to sort this mess out. As the new boss you could, of course, accept full responsibility for the disaster as it was on ‘your watch’. You will then be applauded by those with a moral compass and then excoriated by stockholders, analysts, and the world’s press, all of whom lost their moral compasses just after puberty. Crises remember impact stock options and executive pay so carrying the can for someone who dumped you, as the new boss, in this mess is daft. Mediocre ‘C’s always pass the buck and then announce a new 5 year plan.

2.     Reorganise the Company:

When an external ‘C’ level is appointed they rarely have a grasp of the detail or the workings of the organisation they are about to take over. This means that they can be outmaneuvered, challenged or run rings around by those who were passed over or just fancy upping the ante. The second crisis is a perfect opportunity to get rid of these people and those who hold opinions that don’t agree with yours and anyone who is effective at things you’re not good at and therefore might show you up. Fill your inner circle with those who appreciate your talents, who see your obvious leadership qualities and who feel they need your approval to do anything.

Then reorganise the company. Good examples are:

  • If the company is run from the centre, move the management to the regions or the other way round
  • Merge Engineering and Operations or if already in the same department, separate them
  • Bring in a new Marketing Director and then change the company logo
  • Move 50% of Department heads to new roles outside their comfort zones. For example there’s no reason why the Sales Director can’t run HR
  • Downsize the workforce as the last act, getting one of the newly promoted executives to run the process as a way of blooding them
  • Have a Christmas party, the (remaining) workers will totally love you for it.
 3] Prepare for your departure:

 A mediocre ‘C’ Level is always going to get found out, so you should always prepare for that eventuality. As soon as the re-organisation is finished, you’ll need to start Networking in earnest. Its also possible to curry favour with suppliers by cutting them good deals and of course don’t forget that your competitor is not your enemy but in fact a potential job opportunity. So don’t upset them by rocking their boat too much. If the opposition is also a Mediocre ‘C’ then they will do the same. In fact you can have quite a good laugh about your ‘spats’ when you read about them in the press, when you both worked them out between you beforehand.

 So as the Boy Scouts say ‘Be Prepared’ for your inevitable departure and remember unlike a captain leaving a sinking ship last, the mediocre ‘C’ is on the lifeboat to prosperity before the alarm even sounds.

* What is a ‘C’ Level executive? They are the CEOs, CFOs, COOs etc and are the 3rd level of  Management.

‘A’ Level Execs:  Ideas people who plan ahead and create plausible strategies

‘B’ Level Execs: Work with ‘A’ Execs and then deliver stuff on time and on budget

‘C’ Level Execs: Have meetings and lunch a lot. Leave the actual work to the ‘A’s and ”B’s

The 7 Habits of Mediocre Management

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There is a very successful book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, written by Stephen R. Covey. The premise is that by aligning your behaviors to these Seven Habits then you can achieve almost anything you want. But what happens if your company is run by a psychopath, the middle management are incompetent and your co-workers are as effective as chocolate tea pots. You’ll need the following habits to survive.

The Seven Habits of Mediocre Management

(1) Be Reactive:

Whatever you do don’t start anything new. If it hasn’t been done before its bound to fail, as your competitors would have thought of it first and obviously decided it was too risky. Only do something if has to be done e.g. putting a fire out. Otherwise the safe not sorry mantra is: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

(2) Always Think of the Consequences:

If you have to start something new and god forbid, innovative, what happens if it goes wrong? Can it be traced back to you? If it can, set up a ‘Steering Board’ or at least a Works Committee so you can spread any blame by ensuring collective responsibility. If it goes well, your boss will take the credit so don’t concern yourself with that scenario

(3) Prioritise Yourself:

Put yourself first. After all you are at least less mediocre than your peers. So what can you get out of this? Is there a promotion or pay rise involved? Make sure that you are front and centre of any activities that are visible to your management and are bound to succeed or at the very least not to fail. Your team, direct reports and anyone else directly connected to the project should be in no doubt that your happiness is their job security.

(4) Never Apologise or Explain:

It’s an old truth but one practiced by the Captains of Industry, Politicians and Royalty for generations. You must always remember it’s never your fault. Even if you made the original decision, someone should have interpreted it in a way that did not cause the catastrophe it created. That’s the point of a ‘Team’. Plus of course, all should remember that in the unlikely event you do go down, they go down with you.

(5) Communicate Effectively:

Communicate information only a ‘need to know’ basis only. The ‘Team’ should not have the ‘Big Picture’ as it’s far too hard for them to understand. They should just follow any orders that are given to them, whether written, verbal or via ‘guidance’ delivered in the pub. Telepathic employees are like gold dust, so ask all the team to work on that skill, it saves so much of your time time if you actually have to pass on stuff.

(6) Build a Team:

You need do-ers, a note taker, a PowerPoint expert, a sycophant and an expert. Make sure there is only one expert, two will just contradict each other and this will involve decision making in a subject area you have no idea about. The do-ers should be told what you expect to happen and the expert will look aghast at the time scale and budgets allocated. Let them fight it out between them. The PowerPoint guy does the status reports, the more pages and complex the less likely to be commented on negatively at your review with your boss. The sycophant provides coffee and biscuits. The note taker (ideally a sycophant as well) is to ensure evidential proof that what ever you said or did was the right thing.

(7) Your Boss is Always Right:

A Mediocre Boss will practice these habits so expect to be managed in that way. The advantage is you know what to expect from the behaviors so don’t get caught in any fall out. If your Boss is a complete $*!@*% then sycophancy is the best defence.