Friday, March 27, 2009

Motivation is Concentric Circles


After the debacle that was Evar’s attempt at a motivational seminar in the ‘Rat & Ferret’, a group of us decided that we would help him out by adding ‘structure’ to his technique.


I was the first to arrive and I sat nursing a pint of Nightswerve’s Velvet Cudgel while I waited for the others. Evar turned up a short time later quickly followed by Lillian Flotelitely, who had offered to enhance Evar’s limited wardrobe by donating some of her late brother’s clothes. (see Note 1) .


A little while later, the roar of a fleet of Mercedes cars signalled the arrival of a bafflement of Management Consultants (see Note 2) we had secured for the occasion with a little help from Padstow (see Note 3).


The bafflement entered the lounge and immediately agreed that, in the spirit of standardisation, they should all order the same drink. They then stood at the bar and argued over exactly what that drink would be for a good ten minutes before Mattress Madge intervened and gave them all a pint of Velvet Cudgel explaining it was the local standard. Thus placated, they joined me at my table as Lillian led in Evar.


At first, the bafflement nodded and muttered, before one of them decided Evar’s tie needed to be upgraded to silk. Another announced that it wasn’t an upgrade that was needed, but a replacement bow tie was required. The third immediately declared that the tie was an overhead and needed to be dispensed with. They squabbled amongst themselves before Lillian suggested that the tie be blue instead of green. They muttered a bit before all nodding and agreeing that a blue tie would be acceptable.


There was then a period of unexpected unanimity. All agreed that what Evar needed was a PowerPoint slideshow and that pictures and videos (see Note 4) would be spliced into some slides showing the latest management thinking gleaned from 10 minutes on Google.


When we tried to assemble the actual presentation, things started to get heated. Throgmorton Cranfield insisted that the presentation had to start with a slide consisting of concentric circles. Evander Waterhouse, immediately countered that this was against ISO43277/B and that all presentations must open with a two by two matrices. For a while, Abraham Logica said nothing and sat there thumbing through a leather bound folder before suddenly launching into a tirade claiming that both were wrong because of the template being used.


It looked like they would come to blows and try as we might, we could not calm the increasingly heated debate. In the end, Mattress Madge, Evar and I retired to the snug bar and decided to do the presentation ourselves.


When we returned an hour later, the argument was still in full swing and the walls had been covered in yellow post-it notes. I tried the polite cough to gain their attention and was totally ignored. Mattress Madge slammed a fist down onto the table causing glasses, blackberries and folders to jump several inches into the air.


The room went silent. The Management Consultants looked at Mattress Madge with their jaws hanging open.


We showed them our presentation.


Whether it was the quality of our offering or the sight of Mattress Madge all a quiver in pent up frustration, I don’t know, but the bafflement accepted it with fulsome praise.


After agreeing that Evar would give his first run through of his presentation at ‘MacWhirtles Widgets and Flanges’ next week, we all handed the Management Consultants our watches, they declared it was 22:37 (see Note 5) and we all left happy.


Note 1: The unfortunate Stanley Flotelitely will be sorely missed. A rather eccentric engineer, he travelled around the town in his patented steam powered car. His lifelong ambition was achieved last year when he developed the world’s first steam powered, fully automated Hurdy Gurdy orchestra and performed an open air concert in the local park. Sadly, while attempting to incorporate bagpipes into the orchestra, a poorly manufactured non-return valve resulted in his demise and the complete destruction of his workshop.


Note 2: I am reliably informed that bafflement is the correct collective noun when describing more than one Management Consultant. As everyone knows, a single Management Consultant is described as a flim-flam.


Note 3: Padstow had been stalking a minor soap star who had been booked to open their annual conference in Scarborough, it was our good fortune that he had decided to go for a walk on the hills and managed to get the pictures. The consultants claim they were playing charades and trying to act out Bo Peep and who am I to contradict them?


Note 4: All of us were particularly taken by one video of Evar and Yvette shot on a break from one of his competitions. In another unexpected show of unanimity we all agreed that for a big girl, Yvette is surprisingly flexible and that the video could not be shown without fear of arrest.


Note 5: I’m unsure whether or not this note is needed or if I should even include it. If you believe that it is surplus to requirements, then read no further. For as everyone knows, a Management Consultants job is to go into a company, borrow your watch, tell you the time and keep the watch.


 

6 comments:

Dick Madeley said...

You mention PowerPoint but the whole piece is lacking detail. I'm something of a PowerPoint whiz, you know, and I do like to hear a little more about custom animations and fades between slides. Or even better, some of those lovely 'fly in from right's that make me quiver with excitement.

Simon said...

I wasn't sure if the world was ready for the 'magnify' vs 'whip' debate.

I had a PA the other day and at a critical moment she told me she loved 'bounce'. It quite put me off my stride.

Rachel Noy said...

"Note 2: I am reliably informed that bafflement is the correct collective noun when describing more than one Management Consultant. As everyone knows, a single Management Consultant is described as a flim-flam."

Right on.

mutleythedog said...

You could have had them all eaten by highly intelligent radioactive howler monkeys you know.

Simon said...

Rachel, It is a sad fact that there is a terrible falacy within many organisations that the quality of advice is directly proportion to the amount paid for it.

Mutley, I have tried. The howler monkeys took one bite and sadly expired. The Management Consultant added a 10% surcharge for 'primate evaluations'.

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