UK: A STEP-BY-STEP RETURN TO REALITY. - David Morton offers an easy-to-follow, face-saving plan for the times when those expert guidelines to erotic personal or exotic personnel practices don't live up to their promise.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

David Morton offers an easy-to-follow, face-saving plan for the times when those expert guidelines to erotic personal or exotic personnel practices don't live up to their promise.

Next to sex manuals it is probable that books teaching management techniques have done most to ensure that normal reasonable people suddenly start making bizarre demands of their partners.

Doubtless careful attention to some variety of the 'Joy of Management' has led many to the discovery of levels of performance which have come as a pleasant surprise to all involved. But what about all those times when it just ends up with everybody looking more than a little foolish, red in the face, uncertain of what to do next and wondering how best to suggest a return to well-tried and trusted ways of doing things?

The main snag is that far too few advice books give advice about what to do when you have made a complete balls-up of things by following their advice. This lack of what we might call the Plan B approach is something of a glaring deficiency in the world's advice literature, given the almost inevitable tendency of humanity to get hold of the wrong end of the stick in any set of written instructions.

To help fill this gap Backbite has put together an all-purpose, easy-to-follow, three-point plan to enable anybody to escape the pitfalls of the print gurus - whether they offer advice on erotic personal practices, exotic personnel practices or just DIY car maintenance. Just follow these three easy steps and you'll find that you can step back from self-inflicted disaster with your self-confidence unimpaired, your reputation unaffected and your understanding of the real world much improved.

First, it is essential that you get an accurate idea of just how wrong things have gone. Your performance may not be as lamentable as you think. For example, you may be feeling an absolute idiot all dressed up in black rubber, or whatever constitutes the latest corporate dress. However, the odds are that the rest of the world couldn't give two hoots what clothes you wear and there is more than an even chance that most people are actually too preoccupied with the embarrassment of their own latest fancy dress to notice what a prize turkey you look in yours.

Lesson one is that just because you have not achieved success in life doesn't automatically mean that you've actually managed to fail. Real, undeniable and irretrievable failure is a rare commodity in this world. Mostly, like government by-election defeats, like Labour Party general election defeats, like the retreat from Dunkirk, there is a surprising amount of silver lining to be plucked from the greyest clouds. And it's not just a question of brazening out the bad news like a politician being grilled by a sceptical Jeremy Paxman. The good news about life's setbacks is that the majority of people are unlikely to have been aware that you were trying to do anything in the first place.

Meanwhile, those who know you intimately - whether in the bedroom, boardroom or beneath the car bonnet - probably didn't have too much in the way of great expectations about what you were trying to do anyway.

The second step is to consider who should take the portion of blame appropriate to the perceived level of disaster.

A word of warning here - never blame any of the world's leading experts. First, many of them are dead, and are therefore no longer around to carry the can. Second, the ones who aren't dead are fantastically wealthy and live in places like Malibu - so they're not around to carry the can either. In addition, it is worth remembering that you were the person who chose to follow the writings of the world's leading expert in the first place.

As a result, the second lesson is that nobody can be held to blame. People have to take risks and make mistakes if they are to grow and develop, and the same is true of organisations. But, on the other hand...

On the other hand, it has to be said, given that the instructions of the world's leading expert weren't wrong, and the implementation of those instructions went as well as you could expect allowing for budget limitations and the cost of bondage chains, we were all a bit disappointed with the failure of the world (viz spouse, employees, or Fiat Uno) to live up to the management's ambitions. To put it bluntly, you can't help feeling that there is something wrong with the world as we know it.

And that is lesson number three. It is not that the instructions are wrong or that you're following them wrongly - it's just that the reality we've got is different from the version of reality illustrated in the manual.

The real problem is that all our lovers are...well, they're just people...that all our managers and employees in companies are...well, they're just people. And the most real problem of all is that, on the version of the car which we are trying to fix, there seems to be no sprocket A on which we could attach the non-existent wire B before turning the absent valve C. In other words, reality is to blame - but, what the hell, be forgiving. Pretend it was you that got it wrong, say you are sorry and - whatever else you do - stop reading those stupid step-by-step guides. And why not start now?

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