Weak At The Top: John Weak's Diary

Weak At The Top: John Weak's Diary - MONDAY

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Board meeting to talk about Change Management (CM). Sir Marcus (CEO) said I was good at reacting quickly and so gave me company-wide responsibility for CM. Didn't react quickly enough and got lumbered. He said change needed to start with the individual and the board needed to be 'champions of change'. All I could think about was Champion the Wonder Horse. Then I started thinking about the sweaty flanks of the woman who brought the tea in and missed the rest of the meeting. On the way out bumped into Polly Trip (junior research spod) who immediately burst into tears for no reason. Told her to get herself some hormone patches.


Sir Marcus gave me Premier League bollocking about insensitive treatment of Polly Trip and rest of my team. Said business was all about building strong relationships (like him and Jenny in accounts, I didn't say). He said I was in charge of CM so I'd better start by changing my management style to be more sensitive and coaching. He said I better buy into coaching management or heads will roll. Very depressed afterwards. How do you coach someone who is lard from the neck up and obviously not on the success vector? As far as I'm concerned she's careering down it on a bobsleigh marked oblivion. And if you ask me, coaching is for Saga holidays. Directors direct.


Got in early to crack CM. If it means changing our clock-watching rabble into managers, we're doomed. Of course, all this should be Human Remains' job but the HR director was so keen on change he went off to become a woman. Pretty typical of HR if you ask me. Have yet to be told the difference between change management and a colossal kick up the pants. Maybe managing change is the same as the feminised workplace with everyone changing their minds all the time. Got Hayley (secretary) to arrange in-depth coaching session with Polly Trip where I can listen 'empathetically' to her concerns and develop a strong win-win mentoring relationship with her. Howard from gym called to see whether I was on for a quick round of golf and a few beers. Cancelled Polly Trip coaching session.


No progress with CM. Maybe it just means changing your figures, changing your story and changing your job before the dung hits the fan. Better get some consultants in, they're bound to have some fancy ideas and if they charge enough they may even put Sir Marcus off the idea for good. Told Polly that my door was always open if she wanted a chat. Got a confidential call from Sir Marcus so shut door. When I opened it an hour later she was outside crying. I asked Hayley to give her some coaching while I went for lunch with Bill Peters (chemicals). Found Bill in Bojangles wine bar 'continuously improving' with God knows how many bottles of beer. Told him about CM nightmare. He shouted: 'for God's sake, it's not Bosnia!' before passing out cold.


Much better day today; three big wins. Firstly, got Hayley to send flowers to Polly Trip to build a nurturing relationship. Secondly, applied some top marketing thinking to CM problem: when in doubt repackage. We lurch from one cock-up to another so we're already continually managing change. I identified those responsible for most of the cock-ups and made them champions of change. This gives them an incentive to report their disasters earlier as champions of change and gives me an opportunity to sack them for not changing fast enough. I win, the business wins and they win in their next jobs. Final win was that I managed to remember wife's birthday. Diverted Polly Trip flowers at last moment.

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

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