WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's diary

WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's diary - MONDAY

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


I know how the Poles felt. I've just had half my territory annexed by a bunch of storm-troopers in knickers - ie, HR. They've stolen marketing's best meeting room (the famous shag palace), to be used as an Innovation Centre for the whole business. Don't they realise that marketing is the innovation centre for the whole business? Marketing comes up with the big ideas, which operations say we can't do, sales say we can't sell, finance say we can't afford and HR says no-one will understand. HR and PR have a lot in common; they both dream up imaginary big issues and then charge you a fortune for 'managing' them. And they're both chock-full of women who have that vital 'huge fuss over nothing' gene.


Innovation Centre officially opened. HR announced that their consultants had created 'a distillation of the environment that has inspired the great artists'. This seems to mean a lot of trendy geometric chair-things that you couldn't sit on, and some sloping translucent tables that you couldn't write on. There were also a lot of children's toys because we all know how many brilliant things children have invented. Finally, there was the world's largest supply of Post-it notes. Post-it notes are the toilet paper of the office world: whenever you see them, it's a guaranteed sign that a lot of crap's about to be produced. I don't think there's been a single good idea in the world since the advent of the Post-it note.


Had a quiet word with Sir Marcus to try and stop rampant HR foolishness. He said it was part of a culture change in the organisation that HR are leading. I told him the only time HR successfully managed culture change was when they switched brand of yoghurt in their low-fat lunches. But Sir Marcus said he was right behind HR, which generally means he's visualising himself positioned right behind one particularly tasty HRette. Had lunch with Bill Peters at Mr Bojangles to cheer myself up. As our own concession to culture change, we had a couple of bottles of a lively Chilean red. Suitably inspired, we developed a complex tottometer for the entire HR department, which took all afternoon to complete.


Advertising agency turned up to show me some creative work. I took them up to our meeting room, where we usually just sit around, eye up the totty and warm up for lunch. I suddenly remembered the room was now the bloody Innovation Centre. Worse, Tim Smallwood, Finance Director and possibly the most unimaginative man since Derek Slingsby (previous Finance Director), had booked the Innovation Centre for a full-day creative meeting for the Accounts Department. (That'll clearly be a mini-Renaissance.) I was about to explain to the agency why a whole bunch of polyester-wearing accountants had turned our meeting room into an outpost of Nerdistan. Instead, I suggested we adjourn to Mr Bojangles and 'accidentally' locked the Innovation Centre on my way out.


Got in late due to sheer weight of head on pillow. The Accounts team had put up a big Post-it note sign on the Innovation Centre window saying they were trapped inside and could someone get a key. Fortunately, I'd already put up a sign beneath the windows saying that messages on the window should be ignored as they were all part of a big teambuilding exercise. At lunchtime, I slipped them a note saying they were experiencing the creative environment of Bunyan, Milton and Cervantes - ie, prison - and that I was sure they would come up with equal strokes of creative genius. At the end of the day I let them out. The big action they had all unanimously come up with was to scrap the Innovation Centre and never leave the accounts department again. Now there's a really good idea.

John Weak can be contacted at john.weak@smokehouse.co.uk.

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