Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Colleague

You may remember Lenny, the work colleague I was sent to the States with this time two years ago. Well we're still working on the same project but, thankfully, I managed to convince the boss man that we would be more effective concentrating on separate plants in our project rather than both of us trying to do bits in every plant. This has had the favourable knock-on effect of allowing me to limit my dealings with a guy that absolutely does my nut in.

So all's well and good. However this week there's a 'Leadership Team' in town. Now in the company I work for everyone is a 'Leader', in fact 'leadership' is one of the comapany's core values (Jesus weeps...). Furthermore everyone whose job function has 'Leader' in the title (i.e. everyone bar the blue-collar grunts and the bottom-level technical staff like me), AND everyone who aspires to be one of these Leaders, must complete a Leader Behaviours course designed to ensure that all these types stay on message at all times. Of course if everyone is on the same road and going in the same direction you'd wonder why so many leaders are required...

Anyway I digress. So these junketeers are in town - mostly in from the States, some from England - and they were to get tours of the plants and presentations on various projects, including ours. So the boss man decided Lenny's stuff would be presented. This was absolutely fine by me because a) the various managers brick themselves over these things and are a pain in the hole as a result; b) they're a lot of extra work and meetings and I'm busy enough as it is, thanks all the same; and c) the junketeers never actually listen to a word you say and openly spend the time checking emails and going out of the room to make calls and so on.

But Lenny, having delusions of leadership grandeur, was delighted, and set about preparing his stuff with great enthusiasm. We all went to a meeting on Monday to do a pre-check of his stuff and the fella had pretty much written out essays on PowerPoint slides. I, not unreasonably, mentioned that the secret was in the name - 'Point' - i.e. short, snappy bullet points that you talk around (I personally have a 6 x 6 rule - no more than six bullet points and no more than six words per point in a slide). It didn't go down well and it wasn't changed. I didn't care, I tried to help.

So fast forward to today and the boss man asks me if I'm going to the tours and presentations. I said I hadn't intended to, so I was told to turn up for Lenny's to have the whole 'team' present. Next thing I know Lenny is ringing me up and telling me not to say anything during his presentation! I mutter 'no problem' on the basis that I figure he's well able to make a fool of himself on his own. So, anyway, up I went at the allotted time and no sign of the junketeers. I hung around for half an hour and then asked to go back to work.

It turns out that the junketeers had stayed at lunch for almost two hours and were so late they basically had to run past everyone's presentations in jig-time. What should have been 15-minutes for Lenny to make a lasting impression (in his eyes - the gullible shite) was turned into less than 3-minutes of waffle from the boss man, with Lenny glumly and unsuccessfully trying to get them all to listen to him, before they headed off to the next poor sap whose time had been equally wasted.

I laughed.
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