Business Jargon for Dummies

Institute of Mediocre Management graduates demonstrate the art of meaningless psychobabble  that will enable them to progess to the highest levels of management.

Psychobabble

Practise these phrases to become a C level Thought Leader without having to do any real work.

Or if you want the written manual here it is:

Book Fan small

If you would like to avoid paying any tax on this purchase, please use my Panama bookshop outlet giving them your full bank details and any PIN numbers you may have. This way it saves a lot of paperwork for you.

 

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Sleeping is for Wimps! Man up says the IMM and smell the Coffee

Here at the Institute of Mediocre Management we pride ourselves on our policy of looking after our esteemed members holistically. Not only do we want to see our colleagues do well fiscally but also we want to ensure their mental and physical well-being. After all, IMM members are the Elite, The Head Honchos, Those Who Shall Be Obeyed and therefore without them leading our World, it would cease to function in the way it does today.

An infographic is currently circulating showing how the top business people and politicians manage their sleep patterns and it’s clear that there is a wide differential in the amount of sleep taken.

HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU REALLY NEED?

HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU REALLY NEED?

The IMM’s Medical team investigated this research and discovered that those who get enough sleep are more likely to have better mental health and are less likely to be overweight, develop high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes.

But they also discovered that if you cut sleep back to less than five hours a night for several days in a row, then your short-term and long-term memory, ability to focus, decision-making capacity, number processing, cognitive speed, and spatial orientation all start to suffer.

When I ran Widget European Enterprises , I personally introduced a corporate culture based around Sleep Deprivation and it didn’t hurt us a bit, apart from the litigation and the bankruptcy. It was a unique concept, which worked extremely well for W.E.E. as the resulting high turnover of junior executives, mainly from mental and physical breakdowns, allowed us to keep wages down and therefore increase profits.

Here is some of the guidance we gave to our up and coming leaders:

  • An ambitious manager should manage at least an 100-hour work week
  • Sleep should be restricted to less than five hours per night, so employees can be on call for longer.
  • Employees’ phones should be on at all times and answered at all times.
  • When you signed up, the small print advised that W.E.E. own you. Get used to it.
  • Stay Awake! Drink at least 10 cups of coffee a day! Snoozing is for Wimps!

For us, of course, the Numero Uno Executive Leaders, long days are not an issue. How else can we utilise our expense accounts? So we tend to burn the candle at both ends, with early breakfast meetings and dinners that run late, for days and days. And if like me you can’t get to sleep without some wind-down time in a lap dancing club then you may not doze off until 2 in the morning. Which can mean an average four hours of sleep a night for four or five days.

The IMM Medical team advises that Executives running this kind of schedule develop the same level of cognitive impairment as if they’d been awake for 24 hours, equivalent to legal drunkenness, and like a drunk, a person who is sleep deprived has no idea how functionally impaired he or she truly is. The results are obvious. Senior Executives may get angry at employees, make unsound decisions that affect the future of their companies, and give muddled presentations before their colleagues, customers, the press, or shareholders and generally offer bugger all value to anyone.

So no change there and no-one will notice any behavioural changes at all if we, the Masters of The Mediocre, have 4 hours or 10 hours sleep, so it’s BAU: Keep Calm and Carry On Oppressing the Masses.

Trickle-down economics means the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor

According to The Independent’s economics editor Ben Chu, what would later be championed by the free-market right was actually first spun as a joke by one-time circus cowboy and humourist Will Rogers. At a time when the US was in the midst of the Great Depression he said:

Money was appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.

Trickle-down economics is the idea that reducing the tax burden on the wealthiest is good for the least wealthy, as the rich see their disposal incomes increase and therefore spend more on services that companies can reinvest and create new jobs.

It’s also completely wrong, claims a report out this week from former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers and shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

The report, from the Centre for American Progress, states:

Left to their own devices, unfettered markets and trickle-down economics will lead to increasing levels of inequality, stagnating wages, and a hollowing out of decent, middle-income jobs.

According to Summers and Balls, the only thing tax cuts for the rich create is a growing income gap, as the wealthiest members of a society do not necessarily ‘invest’ in it, they could just save their money for example.

This graphic helps explain the idea versus the reality.

Trickle Down

Once you realise that trickle-down economics does not work, you will see the excessive tax cuts for the rich as what they are: a simple upward redistribution of income, rather than a way to make all of us richer.

Ha-Joon Chang, economics professor at Cambridge University
What’s the alternative? The Summers-Balls report’s suggestion is simple: Higher wages for ordinary workers, increased tax rates for the super-rich and corporations, and the closing of international tax loopholes, with the money instead being spend on public infrastructure.

That doesn’t sound like too much, especially in a week when it was revealed that within 12 months the richest one per cent of the planet will be richer than the remaining 99 per cent…

Original article by Ben Chu (edited by i100 staff) 

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.