Today my colleagues and I have the dubious pleasure of another 4 hour meeting with a group of management consultants who have been brought into our organization to tell us something. I am not entirely sure what we are supposed to gain from this exercise, as it wasn’t made clear during the first 2-day exercise, and a quick straw poll of several of my co-workers has revealed that they too are equally in the dark. However, as is often the case in such situations I am sure it will be seen as money well-spent by the corporation hierarchy. It baffles me how executive management of corporations are hailed as being successful managers and stewards of an organization when they need external consultants to do their job for them, but then as the old adage goes “no-one ever got fired for hiring McKinsey” (even when they do a poor job).
Anyhow, in an attempt to maintain my sanity in this ocean of madness what this means for me is that I have a credible excuse for posting some of my motivational irony that I have produced over the last couple of years, usually after similar exercises, so here goes:
Firstly, I am tired of seeing bombastic scribbles which proclaim just how important we are as individuals, and how we should embrace this thought. To me this somewhat misses the point. Yes, individuals are important but we are only one tiny part of a greater society. Perhaps we should be reminded of this more often, and perhaps our seemingly ever increasing proclivity to narcissism may be held in check. We should be able to deal with this perspective.
The other hackneyed rhetoric to which we are often subject is to “think outside the box”. This truly annoying phrase has been with us since the advent of the management consultant and apparently has links to the old “nine dot puzzle” which is occasionally rolled out as if it is some kind of magic trick. As someone who solved this the first time I saw it, it never ceases to amaze me how many people who are proponents of the out of the box concept struggle with this simple puzzle and its derivatives (yes it can be done with 3 lines and even one line as long as it’s on a sheet of paper (big hint there). Anyway, I digress. My antidote to this, as a Whovian, is the following poster:
And finally, to summarize my view of the whole management consultant affair, I offer the following picture to consider if you too also have to deal with hour after hour of meaningless metaphors sprinkled with irrelevant platitudes: