Saturday, October 6, 2012


My workplace is in transition from being a small, family-owned business to becoming a proper, corporate environment.  We are having some growing pains.  To help us out, my bosses hired a consultant to offer helpful suggestions, and brainwash the employees.

Note:  Names of people and programs in this post have been changed to protect... me.

The consultant, I'll call him Barry, gave a long presentation to the entire company about his program of improvement, which is called "Think Like a Boss".  The goal of the program is to improve the business's profitability while at the same time improving the workplace environment for the employees.  Everyone is supposed to have loads of FUN implementing the Action Plans.

Barry had some sensible ideas to offer.  For example, he made the point to everyone on staff that "entitlement" is a problem  He defined "entitlement" as "feeling that one deserves a reward without having worked for it or otherwise fulfilled the criteria of being deserving of said reward".  For example, the employee who feels it's unfair that he didn't get the promotion to a management position, because he's been working for the company longer than the person who was promoted.

Maybe working for some companies is so much like being in jail that "time served" is all it takes to move ahead.  Not where I work, thank God.  There are a few other items to consider, such as organizational skills, the ability to stay calm under stress, communication skills, patience, etc.  So that was a point that I agreed with.

Other points, not so much.  For example, in a smaller meeting with the Key Personnel in the organization, Barry gave us guff for not having a marketing plan.  We do have a marketing consultant who does work for us on an as-needed basis, but there's no plan in place.  Barry looked at all of those assembled, expecting someone to put up his or her hand to volunteer as the leader of the Marketing Plan Team.  We all sat on our hands.

When Barry didn't get the message that none of us had the time or expertise to take on the project, I stated this directly.  "Oh," he said, "marketing's easy.  There's nothing to it!  I can give you the four main points of marketing right now."  I sat up in my chair, prepared to be enlightened.  "All you need to know is Who, Where, When, and How!"  proclaimed Barry.  And that was all he had to say to me on the subject.

Um, say what was that now?  Some flaming b.s., is what it was.  I shot back at him "But you could say that about anything!"  I mean, heck, why don't we plan a trip to the moon?  After all, all we need to know is Who is going (us), Where we're going (the moon), When (a.s.a.p.) and How (with some metal, a soldering iron, and team spirit).  Right?  

The other thing is that he wanted us to give cute names to all our Action Items.  For example, we could call a paper-saving plan "If a Tree Falls in the Forest, We Hear!"  Because, as all y'all know, that's how to make things FUN!  *epic eyeroll*

Anyhoo, the bottom line is that I believe the program will be good for the company, if we can get past the goofy parts.  I also like Barry a lot.  His enthusiasm is genuine, and he was very patient with the Key Personnel and our huge collective load of cynicism.  The proof will be in the pudding.  (Mmmm.... pudding...)


DarcKnyt said...

Barry would've received a rousing round of "meh" and eyerolling with my team too. I can't say I blame you. And being a genuinely enjoyable guy isn't really a redeeming quality to the flaming bag of BS left on your porch, but then, no one's perfect.

Good luck in implementation! I hope it works as planned!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I want pudding and a trip to the moon!!! A team working with good synergy and teamwork can do anything.... ok... can't keep going... feeling ill.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I want pudding and a trip to the moon!!! A team working with good synergy and teamwork can do anything.... ok... can't keep going... feeling ill.

Jameil said...

As a communications person, I absolutely can't stand someone who doesn't know what they're doing being in charge of marketing. It's often glaringly apparent. Is there a non-Key person who has those skills and would like to step into that role? I'd love if that happened to me!

Jenski said...

Hope the majority are willing to work past the goofiness too. :-) Barry sounds like a big-picture guy.

LL Cool Joe said...

When I read something like this, I know why I'm self employed. :D

Did you mention pudding?

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: My tolerance for well-meant but fundamentally useless statements hits rock bottom in hour three of a three-hour meeting.

Ron: There's a fine line between "If you can believe it, you can achieve it!" and completely losing touch with reality. Wait, no, actually there isn't any line.

Jameil: Either we'll get our consultant to deal with this, or maybe the directors will simply dismiss the idea altogether. Not having a plan and simply doing a little promotion here and there when the sales numbers are down has worked for us so far.

Jenski: He's a visionary or a dreamer, depending on your perspective.

LL Cool Joe: I'd be interested to see what Barry would do with you. He'd probably insist that you give FUN names to all your party playlists. Ex. My Big Phat Hip Hop Playlist.

Lynn said...

He should tell that to the people with hard earned degrees in Marketing. :)

DarcsFalcon said...

Did somebody say pudding?

Boy, those goofy parts do indeed sound goofy! Who, when, where, and how? Seriously? Wow. I hope he's not teaching any courses on that! I'd want my money back!

Good luck with the transition things you have going on! With you at the table, I'm confident things will go pretty smoothly. You're good at that sort of thing, Spark. :)

Granny Annie said...

Since my last job before retirement was as a VP of Marketing, I resent this guy already. Actually those consultants are big reasons I'm glad to be retired! What company ever gets their moneys worth out of them?