This week’s guru

Workplace jungle brings out wild side

Guru has come across a few bird-brained approaches to training so was not
surprised when he heard about the latest offering from BBC Worldwide Learning –
a series of videos entitled Corporate Animals.

However, having seen the series, which uses examples of behaviour from the
animal kingdom as a metaphor to illustrate how humans can be successful in the
workplace, Guru was impressed by the uncanny accuracy of parallels it draws
between the natural world and office.

Apparently the Lion is the strategist who is ahead of the game, armed with
the latest information, he knows when to strike the market hard.

The Bee is a teamworker who understands that to be successful you need to
communicate effectively, trust your colleagues and support the team through
good and bad times. In contrast, the Squirrel is a problem-solver who can adapt
to any unfamiliar task and is flexible when faced with new challenges, while
the bird is a sales person who always knows how to attract a mate or a buyer.

Guru has had loads of fun categorising his colleagues but he hasn’t been
able to pigeonhole himself so accurately. Can readers suggest a creature that
sums up the creative, vibrant, charismatic and slightly dangerous animal that
is Guru?

Best suggestions secure a fabulous Guru mousemat. E-mail

Firing off on all cylinders

Guru would like to defend Personnel Today over the use of a photo of nurses
on bikes on page 3 in our 12 November issue. Reader Paul Holland wrote in
accusing the magazine of portraying stereotypical images of nurses, while
implying our coverage of the firefighters’ strike would not be so even-handed.

Guru would like to point out that the nurse picture was a nice lively image
designed to lighten a page which also covered some fairly complex HR issues.

However, the photo to the right, courtesy of the British Firefighters
Calendar 2003 at,
is in fact the gratuitous use of a picture of a half-naked fireman purely for
the titillation of our female readers.

It’s enough to make you swear

‘Manners maketh the man’ is Guru’s proud family motto, but it seems it may
be a little out of date now. A survey from supplier Office Smart found that
although politeness is important to UK workers, it’s often overlooked.

Forty per cent said colleagues don’t even bother to say good morning any

The language of the workplace is also changing with words used that were
once only common on building sites. Swearing in the office used to be thought
taboo, but now only 36 per cent think it is rude to swear in a meeting.

When Guru tried to address this depressing trend in his office by
introducing a swear box he was told to stop being such a prude and to stick it
up his ****.

HR fails to swing it for Harrogate

Guru was a little surprised to hear that Harrogate’s Conservative Club has
been denied an alcohol licence. Apparently the magistrates disapproved of the
fact that women are not allowed to attend meetings, vote or become full

In idle moments Guru has often wondered about the cultural impact which must
result from thousands of HR people descending on the Yorkshire town each year.
Now he knows – very little.

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