Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Sir Marcus has joined a cult. Shocked everyone at board meeting by saying he was deeply concerned with vision and values. Then introduced weird looking pony-tailed hippy who revealed to us that our people are our brand.

Let's start selling them then, I suggested, because that's what you do with brands. Sir Marcus gave me his P45 look so I communicated internally for a while. Rasputin and his agency Breakout (they're called Breakout because by rights they should still be in prison for fraud) have proposed a total programme with vision and values, team building-workshops, and a colourful, easy-to-use, jargon-free binder all nicely branded Vision 2010. Sir Marcus then announced how much it all cost and while I was choking he added that as it was internal marketing it should come out of my marketing budget. Sodding Nora!! Had that part of the budget earmarked for Board team-building at Japanese Grand Prix.


St Marcus (as Bill Peters now calls him) summoned me into his office again. There was a big poster on his wall with Breakout Values on it: Creativity, Efficiency, Integrity, Courage, Learning. Rasputin said the people have to live the brand and its values and must all be involved.

Then he added something like: 'Tell me and I forget; show me and I understand; involve me and I remember.' I told him with my team it's: 'Tell them and they forget; show them and they forget; involve them and they forget.' Got back to office and began wide-ranging staff focus groups to involve them in creation of vision and values, ie, asked Hayley when she brought in my coffee. She said more money, less work. Smart girl.


Had long lunch with Bill Peters, who knows all about internal marketing, as he supplies half the company with cheap cigarettes. Told him about Rasputin and he volunteered to take him outside and have his balls for cufflinks. I thought a more subtle approach might be required. Bill puts subtlety in the same category as needlepoint. Sat in office in despair.

Looked at last year's team photo at Brazilian Grand Prix with Bill face down in gutter. Noticed that shelf was being held up by fat ring-binder of Vision and Values from 10 years ago. Blew the dust off it. Vision 2000 - These values aren't just words, they will become our way of life. Signed by the then chief exec who's now serving life for corporate manslaughter.


Called Timothy Smallwood, finance director - his vision for the company is to put an immediate stop to every form of expenditure. Normally I phone him only in dire emergencies - such as when my expenses are being held up. But I invited him out for very cheap lunch at very authentic Mexican restaurant (they bring you a glass of water and warn you not to drink it). Told him about Breakout and their Values, which all translated into massive expenditure. Then showed him my Vision 2000 binder. He said it looked expensive. I said it was paid for. He liked it.


Told Sir Marcus that in the interests of Efficiency I had found another agency called Internal Organs who had proposed a much more Creative approach.

They weren't here to present it because they believe external agencies shouldn't be involved in internal issues because, unlike some (Breakout), they had Integrity. This approach was more in keeping with our own vision and values and I wondered whether we (Sir Marcus) had the Courage to accept this Learning? Timmy Smallwood pointed out that our approach was 90% cheaper and Breakout's bill would mean cancelling other team-building activities.

Saw scales fall from Sir Marcus's eyes and Rasputin's stock fall to all-time low. Returned to office and prepared to live out brand values at Japanese Grand Prix.

Contact John Weak at john.weak@smokehouse.co.uk.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

How to find the right mentor or executive coach

One minute briefing: McDonald’s UK CEO Paul Pomroy.

What you don't want to copy from Silicon Valley

Workplace Evolution podcast: Twitter's former EMEA chief Bruce Daisley on Saturday emails, biased recruitment and...

Research: How the most effective CEOs spend their time

Do you prefer the big, cross-functional meeting or the one-to-one catch-up?

6 rules for leading a remote team

Our C-suite panel share their distilled wisdom.

Showing vulnerability can be a CEO’s greatest strength

Want your people to bring their whole selves to work? You first.

A mini case study in horizon scanning

Swissgrid has instituted smart risk management systems for spotting things that could go wrong before...