Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Before ze Germans get here.....

Sorry for the lack of blogging, I've been busy (note: doing urgent, important stuff so that my Idle Theory can take over).

Today, I took a radical step in that I have convinced the board of a multi, multi million pound company that they are doing it wrong. Never an easy thing, although I suspect their lack of growth has been a clue. I simply pointed out that it is the British way to do short term business, ram square pegs into round holes (cue Ron Broxted), send teenage Sales persons with tattoos, hair gel and iPods to deal with seasoned Procurement managers and attempt to fleece your customers at every turn is not the right way to grow a business. It always ends in tears.

They are going to adopt my model instead. It will consist of:

Work. Lots of it, but fun and rewarding. I expect my staff to laugh all day. I also expect them to sit and day dream for half an hour. I know they are not there "to work" but to pay a mortgage, get a career, for the banter, for their mates. Nobody other than factory workers "go to work to work". It isn't work if you enjoy it.

Growth. Not just the business, but people. Sounds like bullshit but it isn't. I have never hired a qualified person in my life and will not start now. I take the people that can do the job, given the chance, but have never been given the chance. It's my job to work out who that is, because let's be honest, qualified people never ever fuck it up, do they?

The long term view. No, I am not going to watch you piss off our customers because you want to hit your targets and grab your bonus - Anglo/US bankers fucked us doing exactly that. I will not allow you to jeopardize a company that pays the mortgages of hundreds of people because your girlfriend really, really wants a Porsche. If the deal does not benefit ALL of the people involved, it will not happen and you are in the wrong company.

Not surprisingly, this is all based on living in Germany for 12 years. If the British company will not adopt German methods of business, then the British Company deserves to go the way of most British Companies. Shafted by management and shareholders, shafted by suppliers and shafted by employees. If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, then I'll bring the mountain to Mohammed. Except the mountain is called G√ľnther and is quite, quite used to doing what the customer wants. Unlike Mohammed.

Oh, and I'm going to introduce "apprenticeships". Show me you want the job, show me you can do the job (well), show me you appreciate the thousands in training I am going to spend on you, show me you will return (eventually) at least what it cost me to hire you.........and you'll have a job for life.

Here's hoping it's going to catch on.


The Filthy Engineer said...

No that'll never catch on. You've got to allow them 90 mins each day to watch 22 grown men(Used loosely) kicking a bladder around.

sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

Do you need a cleaner? I'm good round the u-bend.

wv: manteam


Anonymous said...

The UK must be by now near the bottom of the slippery slope started when instead of engineers running egineering companies it was handed over to accountants. Bastards all of them put them back under the stones they crawled from in the 80's encouraged by Thatcher alomg with the lawyers and wait for it financial advisers. Can't be more than a few million of the parasites can there?

Daedalus said...

Christ almighty do you have any jobs going??? I have been looking for this company since 1996 when my BLUE CHIP company shut down the site I worked at that ran just like this!

I am even prepared to move Darrn Sarth for this sort of thing. People that can do the job thats just so novel.!!!!


Old Holborn said...


Love your blog

Ron Broxted said...

I believe Google allows its employee's up to four hours a day thinking time. This strictly uninterrupted four hours is to enable their employee's to come up with fresh idea's, and does not have to be connected with the company's business.
I applied for a part-time job just working for four hours a day, sadly they wrote back saying they have vending machines for making coffee and tea and they were also very satisfied with their current office cleaners.
Another 'dream job' that came to nothing.

Old Holborn said...


A random idea, the result of day dreaming, gave us the internet, facebook, blogging, democracy

Ampers said...

I have read hundreds of management books in my life but the best one was about 150 pages, cost just over a fiver and was so brilliant I have never looked back.

It is one of a series of books but don't buy any of the others in the series, only this one was so brilliant. It is called "The One Minute Manager meets the monkey." it is so brilliant you will buy a second copy when you wear this to a pulp.


Ron Broxted said...

OH, out of interest do you know any country in the world where real democracy is applied and working?

Anonymous said...



I work for a German firm because I work under British, or to be more specific, my rules. Work on weekends? Gern. Work at night? Na klar. Want to join the Betriebsrat? Du kannst mich mal.

I wish you every success and look forward to updates.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Hell of a philospohy, OH. Like it. :)

RantinRab said...

Sounds good. I'd even drag the family down south for a decent job! I'm stagnating doing what i'm doing now, even though the money is decent. The old grey matter needs stimulation!

Electro-Kevin said...

I like the Germans too - except that every once in a while they get the urge to invade their neighbours and kill everyone.

Other than that they're OK.

Dioclese said...

Rule 1 - never employ a graduate. It takes 2 - 3 years to untrain them. It is interesting to note that the professional qualifications I hold now require a degree as a prerequisite. This is clearly unnecessary as I qualified at the first attempt and only have a grade E in A level chemistry

Rule 2 - never allow an accountant to run any business. Their training makes them fundamentally unsuitable for any kind of comercial decision making. I started out as an accountant. when I started my own business, I made my wife the sole director and gave her all the decisions.

Rule 3 - You can't teach management. It has to be learned the hard way through experience.

Rule 4 - Never employ a firm of consultants. Anyone who knows what he is talking about is probably self employed.

Rule 5 - All employment agencies are run by prats. If they knew how to do the job, they wouldn't be working in an employment agency.

There - that's the world set to rights. And just in case you think I'm talking bollocks, I should add that I retired at 52...

P.S. Oh - and forget working for the Japanese. It's just a bad idea. Trust me...

P.P.S.Dilbert is spot on.

Atlas said...

OH, you and your crazy modern ideas! That you expect people to exhibit enough pride and show up for work in the first place and not sign on is ground breaking!!!

hangemall said...

OH, you sound like Robert Townsend in his book Up The Organisation (No bad thing. One of my favourite reads.)

Anonymous said...

Dicolese is spot on:

1. never invest in any technology company run by an accountant.

2. never trust recruitment consultants. They're just greasy haired spivs who'll do anything to get a sale. And I mean anything. My hobby during the recession has been winding the bastards up by screwing their rates down to under 10% and then not giving them the deal at the end.

And Graduates - well I'm advertising for one at 17k, offering retraining into state of the art IT technology (making 'em worth a realistic 30k+ on the open market after 2 years), and the only replies I'm getting are from bloody Indians who are patently not qualified to work in the UK.

And don't get m started on the company I'm working for right now....

Anonymous said...

How about worker controlled workplaces? Democracy in the work place should be an important part of the democracy I would like to see.

It wouldn't be run by bean counting c*nts on the payroll of distant paymasters at the top. It would also be a good arguement against Nationalisation. (i.e State control)

caesars wife said...

, the book , the OH pilates video ,7 habits of highly effective marketeers .

Interesting you support apprentices though , and agree with quite few comments on here , i was privildged to see man with porsche arrive cost company 70k in fees , wrote natty time management plan , went off into sunset , first 3 months the joy of trying new timings , next 3 months looking for cost savings to arrive and watching people leave who hated it , 6 months later , chief accountant declared it had generated no cost savings and we had lost some of productive workerforce . Bargain !

so why do govt need consultants then

Anonymous said...

Hope this is in line with your 'Freeman' philosophy Holby.

I've only worked for two kraut outfits, one merged with another Bosch mob and virtually disappeared and the other has farmed mahoosive swathes of jobs out to Bangalore resulting in lots of jobs losses here.

No time for daydreaming or any signs of what you describe at either of them.

They were cunts to work for.

Ron Broxted said...

Work makes you free. But not as free as living off State Benefits and being an idle bastard. I even get extra money for my faithful mutt I use when begging in the shopping centre.

bofl said...

british business views us all as targets.we are to be used,abused and fleeced.they want to invest as little as possible for the shortest possible time period.why bother trying to build a reputable company when you can just fleece people at will like the railways,utilities etc?

they penny pinch at every turn and we all know what you get when we pay peanuts!

as for the germans?

the banks were in a terrible state even 10 years ago........more recently ikb went bust and commerzbank was on the edge.......

the state guaranteed or part owned landesbanks had NOT defaulted on a pfandbriefe (bond) in the 200 years since they began.........

my own experience of living in gernaqy wasn't too bad (rather good actually)but many of my colleagues had the same problems as here ie phone companies etc.......

and shop staff!!!!!!!!!!

builders turning up with a 6 pack of beer on friday morning might give health and safety a few heart attacks!

our politicians keep banging on about us being 'in this together' but most of our companies are still offshoring jobs and making us pay for their look at how much banks want to charge now for loans......
as they say in germany...'die kunde ist der konig'...........chortle, chortle

bofl said...

typo 'gernaqy'.......

i meant tchermany!

.243 Win said...

One other thing OH :

Don't ever - really, ever - "outsource", "co-source", "offshore" or "contract manufacture" anything.

If you're not doing something well enough, figure out what that is and fix it.

Some bastard tells you they can do what you're doing and save you 20% ? Only by taking all your people's futures and punting them off elsewhere.

Dave said...

Dioclese is spot on.

Also get rid of your HR dept.
Get rid of psychometric testing which removes all original thinkers from your organisation and prevents anyone from progressing through the ranks.

I worked for a company back in the 70s that turfed the factory manager out of his office and gave the office to the accountant. It went bust soon afterwards. Co-incidence? I don't think so.

staringatclouds said...

don't suppose you have any IT work do you ?

for a 52 year old ?

I spent 3 years getting a degree and demonstrating I can solve problems

real world problems not classroom abstract crap

and in nearly every job I've ever applied for, there was a bean counter who had decided my job was going to be to reboot the server when it crashed

not, find the problem and fix it

just, get the server back up as quickly as possible

why ?

because they signed an agreement guaranteeing uptime and not problem free operation

once I found that out I would go elsewhere, you see I actually like solving problems, I'm weird like that

and the one company I did work for that let me loose on problems went down the tubes because a bean counter made a mistake at a very senior level and the shareholders decided they wanted their money back

the bit of the company I worked in was the one of the only bits that was making a profit, so we were sold to someone else as an asset, you guessed it a "reboot the server" company

I took voluntary redundancy and started my own company rather than prostitute myself by claiming benefits

trouble is I'm great at problem solving but not great at running a company, my customers are happy, we limp along, the bills get paid, we'll do, I don't want to rule the world I want to pay the mortgage

one thing though, I have worked in Cambridge and I'd rather chew my own leg off than try to sell my detached house and convince my partner to move dahn sahf and live in the shoebox that the proceeds would bring, so it would have to be telework

so purely on the off chance that you need some IT work doing and don't mind it being done "oop narth" I'm available

Chuckles said...

Not just the Germans, many other nationalities are similar. More a 'hang the accountants and MBAs' thing?

Some very good advice throughout the thread, so may I add 'First establish that you are going to hire the person, THEN decide what job they are going to do'

Anonymous said...

Mohammed was too busy coming in a nine year old to go anywhere near a mountain.

Ron Broxted said...

I got thrown out of St.Johns College Cambridge by two fat faced bowler hatted Porters who caught me bunking over the wall. They gave me a proper shoeing and then twisted my ear until I screamed for mercy, fat sadistic bastards.

The Apostrophe Protection Society - yes it exists. said...

@Ron Broxted - for fucks sake learn to use apostrophes properly!
They DON'T form part of a noun's plural case, unless it is also possessive and then there are rules for their placing.
I quote :"employee's" (twice!) and "idea's", both simple plurals, in your posting at 20:50 hrs.
You are a Wurzle!

The Apostrophe Protection Society - yes it exists. said...

I was so incensed I fell into the trap myself, but at least I realised it. It should read, as a possessive, for fuck's sake.

Gareth said...

Your 'who to employ' bit is Bang on, thats what i do.

Oswald Bastable said...

I worked for a multinational that was reputedly owned by a couple of guys from Mafia families.

Best damn company I ever worked for.

Then they got the 'offer they couldn't refuse' and sold up to go live in the sun.

The company went public, the bean-counters moved in and it all turned to shit...

Willy said...

Sorry APS

Cue, this classic.

J Demetriou said...


Old Holborn has 'staff'! I've heard it all now! HAHAHAHA!

Oh deary me!

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