Magazine article Management Today

Weak at the Top

Magazine article Management Today

Weak at the Top

Article excerpt

MONDAY

Zut alors!! Smokehouse pan-European operations being introduced to cut costs in the value chain (is that a cheap bicycle?). Doing business with the Continentals is like the light bulb; we have a bayonet fitting in Britain and they have a screw fitting -- the trick is to bayonet them before they screw us. The point of Europe is somewhere to go on holiday with good bread, not to do business with countries whose banknotes look like subway murals. Personally I love the Europeans: the French play great rugby (when they're not gouging your eyes out), the Italians make great cars (if you ignore the rust) and you can't beat the Dutch at drugs and prostitution. And then of course you've got the Germans, but you won't find me knocking them; when you're up against the Latin Mafia in these Euro-meetings, they're your only ally.

TUESDAY

Hayley (secretary) has organised first Euro-meeting. Travel broadens the mind and I find the extra width is filled with impure thoughts. There's nothing like clearing customs to get the old testosterone racing. That's the great thing about us Eurobusiness types; a lot of meetings in exotic capitals with uninhibited Eurototty. Had lunch with Bill Peters (chemicals) and we agreed that women are the ultimate marketing triumph: a unique combination of functional and emotional benefits in great packaging. But I'm good at being faithful (in the past have been faithful to three women at a time!). Of course I'm happily married, but what she doesn't know won't hurt her. It's what we call 'knowledge management'.

WEDNESDAY

Flew to Charles de Gaulle for first Euro-meeting. Easy to spot the Europeans; the men wear brown shoes and sports jackets and the women look like models. The Italian guy used the 'No Smoking' sign to light his cigarette. I told one of the French guys that this had a certain Je ne sais quoi. …

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