This week’s guru

Feisty mayor gives hacks the bird

It is said that you should never work with children or animals. Guru has had
numerous management seminars interrupted by little tykes, and can only agree.
The kindergarten-speaking circuit just isn’t what it used to be.

However, two stories prove that Dr Doolittle may have been on to something.
Take, for example, the mayor of Ecuador’s biggest city, who has hired a parrot
to speak on his behalf when he is asked ‘undesirable questions’.

Jaime Nebot, mayor of Guayaquil, wheeled out the parrot to speak to
journalists. "Here is the parrot that will be in charge to answer all the
undesirable questions that I have no time to answer," he said. "Some
people only approach me with nonsense talk, so the parrot will answer back in
the same way."

And would your staff show the dedication and coherence of the animals in the
charge of llama farmer, Graham Bailey? He fell in a rabbit hole on his farm
near Kettering, Northants, and was stranded for two hours before the emergency
services were called.

His four loyal llamas leapt to his aid and formed a cordon to prevent any
further harm coming to him. Unfortunately, Milo, Bertie, Horatio and Felix,
refused to let the ambulance crews anywhere near him.

Sleeping partner may be out on ear

John D Bellenie, personnel manager at the State Bank of India (UK), admitted
what many of us know to be true by e-mailing Guru about a survey regarding what
UK workers do when faced with a boring meeting:

Dear Guru,

I was alarmed at the lack of honesty among those responding to the ACT
survey, particularly as we all know that personnel is renowned for its honesty!
I can only assume that none of the respondents were from the function.

Nowhere does it mention a percentage of those who take a nap. Perhaps I
am the only one who attends afternoon meetings, arranged by others to impress
attendees with how brilliantly they are performing and to give them the
opportunity to blame others for the fact they are not. My personal record to
date is sleeping through 50 per cent of a meeting.

Guru hopes that by printing this letter, Mr Bellenie’s meeting problems will
be over; as it is unlikely he will be invited to any more meetings (apart,
per-haps, from the one to explain the details of a P45 to him).

Love in the fast lane for hospital workers

A Norwegian hospital is hoping to lift employees’ spirits by providing
facilities for a bit of R&R next to the A&E.

St Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim has opened ‘kiss and drive’ lanes so staff
can say goodbye to loved ones without blocking ambulances. Managers hope that
providing a place for a kiss goodbye will stop traffic impeding the kiss of
life in the emergency entrance.

The special lanes on both sides of the road have pink hearts painted on the
pavement and will serve the needs of the hospital’s 5,500 staff.

"A kiss is a good way to start the day," states a brochure that
urges staff not to "get in the way" while they are doing it.

E-mail is the key to most office friction

Alienating people at work is something Guru knows a little bit about.
Whether it is refusing to let Guru smoke cigars at his desk or complaints about
Guru’s hammock between the yucca plants, some people really know how to rub
Guru up the wrong way.

Just in time, recruitment consultancy Office Angels has released a study on
how not to alienate people at work. The top five pet hates are listed below:

– 85 per cent hate being e-mailed by people who sit three feet away

– 75 per cent are frustrated by people who listen to voicemails on

– 71 per cent are irritated by colleagues who swear at their computer

– 68 per cent are annoyed by people’s choice of radio station

– 60 per cent are frustrated by colleagues who don’t share tea-making

You have been warned.

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