Friday, 26 March 2010

Shooting the messenger

As an executive you are often used as the fall guy for your superior’s shortcomings. We all know that. I am almost of the opinion that it is fair enough as making mistakes means far less when you are young. Pulling rank is inevitable.

I am sure many are familiar with the phrase ‘don’t shoot the messenger’. However, it seems that many high powered managers and directors are not.

For them, bad news is bad news. Nothing but a task completed to their high standards with minimal fuss will do. I guess when you are the organ grinder, you are not interested in how the process works, only that the end result is good.

It is always frustrating when someone kicks off at the first sight of bad news (delivered although not caused, by you). The humble executive stands dumbly in the doorway, unable to offer a solution, only to act as a wind break for the hot air and bile flying out Mr. Director’s mouth.
I guess the solution is, either dress up bad news better, or don’t deliver it at all!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Bad ads #5

Hi all. A great entry from Lakestar media this week. They have managed to put some random lions on their plain black and white ad to make their company look vaguely interesting (and complete the pun on pride).
Lets examine where it has gone wrong. Firstly, they don't even show a pride of lions, there are only two. Lions are fierce dangerous beast and probably not a good metaphor for how your company will look after clients and make them feel special. The pun doesn't even work!
Taking "a group of lions" in you online marketing solutions.
This is truly one of my favourite non-sensical ads.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Top of the pile

This week, I have prepared a little ditto about the top brass, and the games that we like to play with them.

When a Director or some such person of importance starts to chat to someone in the department, underlings sidle out of their offices making their approach. Sometimes their slow crab-like movements are spotted by co-workers who know they don’t have an ‘in’ to the current conversation.

More embarrassing examples of this ‘sidling’ I have seen include standing in silence around 5 yards away and inching closer, getting to the outskirts of the conversation and simply nodding and saying ‘oh yes’. The worst of course is when someone pulls rank on you and simply interrupts a conversation with a direct unrelated question to the director.

You see, when the top brass comes down to visit, workers turn into children begging for attention, pulling on their sleeve whilst say ‘look at me, I’m oh so smart’.

This all has the undesirable effect of making directors more aloof and giving them an inflated ego. Not only do they think everyone is that nice and attentive normally, but they realize how important their time is.

I don’t know how many times I have been asked by someone senior to provide information or explanation on something which requires a trip to their office. Upon welcoming you into their office abode, they then proceed to read 10 emails, check their blackberry, compose responses and make calls. It is a demonstration of how busy and important they are, whilst showing you that your time is expendable.

What are you supposed to say? ‘Hello, remember me, the only other person that is sitting in your 10’x10’ box office’?

Hey ho, back to the pod.

Bad ads #4

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Bad ads #3

Well, We are back again, and who's this little fella?
He is the victim of a terrible campaign for an email targeting company and a campaign against rational thought and sense.

It is needless to say that physical benefits cannot be presented to users via email, but I will say it anyway.

It is needless to say that dogs don’t use computers; this one clearly has very little idea of how to type.

Anyway, enjoy the confusing piece of art attached and wait with baited breath for the fourth instalment.

Monday, 15 March 2010

It's all about who you know

It may be obvious, but fairly closed industries such as media are insular virtually to the point of incest. The industry really is about whom you know, not what you have to offer.

I often go to meetings where you don’t have an immediate ‘in’. If you have to introduce yourself at the start of the meeting, you invariably end up with little in return.

In fact you get to realise that in this mind bogglingly complex web of who knows who, you are a pawn used by others unless you aggressively collate contacts of your own.

Some people are competitive about how many LinkedIn contacts they have – I’m still not sure what you are supposed to do on LinkedIn apart from making a ‘connection’ with someone. Facebook sure as hell is more fun.

Some elder members of the media fraternity get competitive on numbers (or most likely quality) of the lunches they have been taken out for. And for the higher echelons of the business, the bragging goes on about jollies, premieres and parties.

For someone who has little interest in firing out business cards like bullets in the air at a Confederates pride BBQ, you get an eye for who is in media for the long haul. Who is playing the long gain? These people know they have to doll out enough pats on the back to get ahead further down the line and not just grab free gifts and lunches like a spoilt child.

It brought is all home to me when I came back from a constructive agency meeting and your bosses say:

Where have you been? . . . Who was it with . . . OOOOHHHHHH, I know them, how are they? Did you say hi from me?

Etc etc.

It is never the content of your work that is interesting to those in the long gain, just the connection made and how it affects their tally of back slap received to back slaps doled out ratio.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Organising your life at work

Everyone likes to organise their life at work, the two have become practically intertwined, but where do you draw the line? What do you owe to your job, and what does your company owe to you?

Many workers in this executives office can be heard on the phone calling nurseries, energy companies and banks at all times of the day without the sense that you should at least be discrete when sorting personal business on work's time.

It is difficult to fit personal admin into your life (especially if you work regular hours), but surely you have to try. Whilst I don't want to side with employers completely, it riles me that everyone thinks they are owed something by the company (on top of salary and employee benefits).

If you asked all the employees in the country if they deserve to be paid more based on their performance at work, at least 75% would say 'yes'. Yet obviously, three quarters of the population are not underpaid, but it is difficult not to fall into the precipice of malcontent yourself:

'I deserve a promotion'

'If only I got that 5k more'

The rat race demands that you are always chasing that elusive next step up the ladder.

Going back to moments that make you want to hide under your desk, that dull Tuesday afternoon when a colleague pipes up from nowhere above the clatter of fingers on keys with:

'How much bonus are we getting this month?" it kills me.

Whilst you have been working on some god-awful labyrinth of a spreadsheet for the last few hours, your esteemed colleague has been checking flights and thinking 'am I going to get paid enough to cover this'?

Surely we all know the line has to be drawn somewhere . . .