Magazine article Management Today

Smoke & Mirrors

Magazine article Management Today

Smoke & Mirrors

Article excerpt

Quick thinking from our hero, plus the help of a Burmese cat, salvages Smokehouse's reputation after it overdoses on transparency.


Transparency. I can see right through it. My mother, bless her, had it down to a fine art. Only open the curtains of the room you want the neighbours to see. Rest of the house was a pigsty, obviously. Some idiot in operations (in the interests of transparency, I mean David Eldritch, operations director and wearer of short-sleeved polyester shirts every day of the year, including Christmas party) decided it was a good idea to put details of the Smokehouse supply chain on the web. Now the public knows that we supply the NHS with surplus bandages from the Burmese Army. Some whining liberal having her sense of humour surgically removed has noticed and is now making a fuss. Rip the bandages off and let her bleed, I say.


CEO Linton Spivey has scheduled a Burma bandages crisis meeting. He's very cross. You can tell because his hairpiece lifts slightly and moves to the front of his head like a departing hovercraft. He was caught out in the open by a journalist - we encourage him never to leave the office/home without PR minders. It took one question to reveal that he knew nothing about the basic commercial functions of Smokehouse. He even forgot the phrase we've tattooed on his inner arm: 'A lot of what we're doing is commercially sensitive.' So now he wants a major PR push to heal the damage. I suggested that we get the Burmese Army Band to play in a few hospital wards. Spivey was so angry I had to pretend I was joking.


Burmese Bandage Crisis meeting. Spivey was late so I sat opposite Ollie Quayle, our social media manager. Apparently, he reports to me but as his head never lifts from his screen I couldn't actually tell you what he looks like. He's got long thin fingers made for skating on touch screens. Very easy to break, I should imagine. He's either very clever or very fast at online search. I never know whether it's him speaking or he's just reading from Google. Spivey burst in and asked everyone whether they knew that we had a sweatshop in east London that paid minimum wage to repackage Burmese bandages. …

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