This year’s credit crunch made for testing times in boardrooms across the corporate world. Northern Rock, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup all took a huge hit – as did the high-street, with many shops forced into starting their January sales before Christmas. Not the easiest time to be a boss. For a lesson in keeping your head while all around you are losing theirs, look no further than Apocalypse Now’s Colonel Kilgore. That said, even if times are tough, we cannot cannot guarantee success if you adopt this approach in corporate life.
It has been a good year for gadget-lovers, with the launch of the iPhone, and demand for the Nintendo Wii making it an elusive gift this Christmas. But it’s worth remembering that products don’t need to be packed with the latest processors in order to cause a clamour. Often it’s just a matter of capturing customers’ imagination. As the hula-hoop scene from the Coen Brothers’ Hudsucker Proxy proves.
The failure of Steve McClaren’s team to qualify for next year’s European Championships made it a terrible year for English football. This caused yet another recruitment debacle at the FA, which has handed the task of restoring the nation’s footballing pride to someone who doesn’t even speak English. Here The Office’s David Brent gives an object lesson in irresponsible appointments: ‘Has he passed his forklift driver’s test? He gives the tests,’ lies Brent.
McClaren’s linguistically-challenged successor, Fabio Capello, has a cast-iron club record but even he will probably be tested by the ‘poisoned chalice’ of the England job. His best chance of success may lie in a return to the basics: ‘Motivation, motivation, motivation – the three Ms’. Just one of many pearls of wisdom from Alan Latchley, Peter Cook’s classic football manager from Clive Anderson Talks Back.
Back at work, the festive period means a good chance to sink a few beers with the team to celebrate the successes of the past year and steel yourselves for challenges ahead. Of course, this provides the perfect opportunity to laugh at the boss’s jokes. But as this classic scene from Goodfellas suggests, just make it clear you’re laughing with him, not at him.
And finally, most people reading this will be back at their desk, with the final traces of festive cheer having been discarded alongside the last Roses wrapper. Days on the sofa and turkey sandwiches have once again been replaced by long commutes and sandwich trolleys. If the stress levels are already rising, we recommend having a rest, taking a deep breath and thinking happy thoughts. It’s a far healthier solution than unleashing a baseball bat on a convenience store. Someone should have told Michael Douglas…