Fearless pharma blogger Maxine Vaccine takes a look at some key issues affecting the industry – this week, a seasonal recommendation for anyone driven to drink by the pre-Christmas routine of motivational meetings and on-message corporate communications.
This week, in the festive spirit, I’m going to recommend something nice. (I’ll be carving the roast beast next.) It’s a small book of captioned photos, ideal for an office Secret Santa – especially if you’ve drawn the boss’ name. The book is Management Boll**ks by Richard Havers (Mirrorpix, £7.99).
As we’re not appearing on the shelves of W.H. Smith’s, we can safely inform you that the theme of Richard’s book is management bollocks. Otherwise known as empty jargon, business cant, doubletalk, Newspeak or just plain bullshit. The common language of all the piss-poor presentations, mind-numbing meetings and cretinous conferences you’ve ever had to get through by painting wide-open eyes on your eyelids – and afterwards, pretend it all had motivational value.
Management Boll**ks is as simple as its theme is tortured. It consists of images from old films and newsreels captioned with management-speak. There’s a night-club manager saying to three hostesses with identical skimpy outfits and hairstyles: “Good, I see you’ve all read the corporate identity manual.” And a butler saying to a despairing baroness: “I think we need to keep going forward in order to achieve a win-win, while not losing sight of our exit strategy.” And a very drab middle-aged man leaning over a terrified young lady and muttering in her ear: “Cheryl, I want you to be part of our ambitious change agenda.”
The beauty of this book is how it gently demonstrates the absurdity of office dialect by showing how far it is from any real experience. This is not the language of the street, the sports field or the home, however much your boss may pretend it is. This is the dead air of pretension and intellectual decay. It has all the spontaneity of a politician’s jokes, all the natural grace of a drunk trying to prove his sobriety by walking in a straight line.
Make it your New Year resolution not to think outside the box, push the envelope, identify the win-win, benchmark the blue sky or future-proof the bottom line. Because if you send out bullshit, you will undoubtedly get nothing but bullshit back. And you’ll deserve it.
Maxine Vaccine is keen to receive your feedback on these and other pharma industry issues. Be nice (but don’t be NICE)!