Larry was the owner-manager of a very successful laundry. It specialised in hotel and restaurant linen. Every day, including weekends, a fleet of vans set off on their respective rounds delivering large wicker baskets of clean linen and collecting the dirty linen. On the whole the drivers had good, friendly relationships with the staff they dealt with at the various hotels and restaurants. The drivers would frequently stop to enjoy a chat over a cup of tea and a cigarette. [...]Read more of "A manager who became the victim of unintended consequences"
We are busy downsizing and getting rid of things we have had for the best part of 42 years. I placed a ‘for sale’ advert in the local paper advertising a filing cabinet. It was an ordinary, unremarkable 4-drawer metal cabinet, slightly battered and a bit rusty. The asking price was £10. On the day it appeared in the paper, a lady rang up to enquire about the cabinet. She asked me lots of questions, what colour was it? (light [...]Read more of "I felt sorry for a filing cabinet!"
Fred was the managing director of a large software company. He cut an unlikely figure – entirely bald, enormously fat, with tie askew and an unbuttoned jacket revealing a pair of wide braces holding up his trousers. He was also extraordinarily uncouth, peppering his sentences with expletives regardless of his audience. By no stretch of the imagination could Fred be said to be politically correct or to display any sensitivity or interpersonal skills. But the man had a brilliant mathematical [...]Read more of "A manager who lacked social skills"
Every morning for eight years I have weighed myself on scales that my wife bought from John Lewis. I do this after taking a shower and before getting dressed. The machine ‘knows’ it is me rather than my wife because I switch it on by touching the right-hand button with my big toe (my wife touches the left-hand button unless, of course, she wants to pretend to be me). The machine immediately springs to life and reminds me that I [...]Read more of "My scales"
Keith was the Managing Director of a construction company. A qualified surveyor, he had long since abandoned his profession as he rose, too rapidly for his own good, through the management hierarchy. Keith had some very irritating characteristics. First, he always, even when angry, wore a supercilious smile. It was an ‘I’m better than you’ smile. Second, he didn’t walk; he strutted and, thirdly, he always knew best. Whatever the topic or occasion, Keith behaved as if he knew more [...]Read more of "A manager who had to win every argument"