Magazine article Management Today

Weak at the Top

Magazine article Management Today

Weak at the Top

Article excerpt


Arrived latish after an early meeting with my duvet ran over. Shirley on reception asked me whether I worked for Smokehouse, which she does without fail every time I arrive after 9.30am. Found my desk weighed down by huge glossy brochure from HR department -- 'Your Behaviour is Our Business'. Inside it told us that we should behave in a way that reflected the core values of the Smokehouse brand. I binned it in a way that reflected the Smokehouse reputation for immediate, forceful action. At that moment Giles Renton-Willets (weirdo HR director] popped into my office and asked me what I thought of the big new initiative from his department. I said there was certainly a place for that sort of thing.


Got in slightly late because of appalling traffic. I had to wait at home until it had completely cleared. Was crossing the car park when Bill Peters shouted from his window that I wasn't walking in a way that was consistent with brand values. 'Report to HR! Report to HR!' he yelled. I didn't know which was funnier, Bill Peters' shouting or the look on the face of our CEO Sir Marcus Rigby standing outside reception with important business contact. Shirley asked me whether I was paid undertime -- money for coming in late. Does having someone that sarcastic on reception reflect well on the firm? Bill e-mailed me suggesting we should write another brochure called 'Our Behaviour is None of your Business'.


Arrived late and told Shirley I hadn't heard the alarm. She recommended turning it on. At meeting of Exec I asked whether Renton-Willets' pony-tail was consistent with Smokehouse brand values. Or come to that, whether Renton-Willets was consistent with brand values. We were ahead on points until Bill suggested a programme of selective breeding of graduates to fit the brand. There's something about this new HR offensive that's got right up Bill's nose. …

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