This week’s guru

Turning a deaf ear to vociferous points

Tony Blair was not the only one given a ‘headache’ by the unions at the TUC

Guru was irritated by the decibels bellowing from the hardliners. While they
might have a point about Iraq, private sector involvement in the public sector,
pensions, employment law, etc, their noise denied Guru a post-prandial power
nap on the first day.

In the end, Tony Young, the president of the conference, had to make
repeated appeals to the likes of Bob Crow and Mick Rix of the railway unions to
reduce the volume to prevent those with hearing aids from being deafened.

Fortunately, Guru improvised by stuffing the promotional material for the
next two motions in either ear, and was soon snoring like a train.

Going to work is just child’s play

A Scottish company has turned its staff social room into a playground,
complete with giant chess board, golf course and PlayStation terminals.

Malcolm Bushell, who owns Ingenico Fortronic, believes the playground will
make his 170 staff work harder. They can play golf on the six-hole putting
green, or test out a giant Scalextrix set, or just relax in the garden with
soothing fountains.

The facilities are part of a £1m investment at the company, which designs
and develops electronic payment terminals. Guru has some concerns about the
playground initiative.

Staff could develop some unhealthy rivalries on the PlayStation and games of
kiss chase could lead to some messy employment tribunal claims.

Lego’s seriously fancy brickwork

Guru has always been fairly open-minded when it comes to develop-ments in
senior management training, but he draws the line somewhere.

Earlier this year, the latest word in corporate training was through virtual
helicopter attack pods, allowing executive teams to carry out joint operations
against a common virtual enemy. But the high-tech approach seems to have gone
out the window with the arrival of a slightly different management development
tool – Lego.

Lego Serious Play claims to be the first application of Lego for the serious
world of adults at work. Apparently the aim is for staff to ‘unlock their creative
potential’ by building models to understand how their business works.
Consultancy Executive Discovery is working together with the Lego Group to
train firms such as Alcatel, Daimler-Chrysler and Nokia. Guru, who was referred
to a child psychiatrist after some of his early Lego experiments ended in the
(accidental) death of his pet goldfish Cousteau, will be steering well clear.

It’s back to school for work-life balance

When Guru parachutes in to rescue the management team of one
FTSE 100 company or another, he is always supremely confident of his
trouble-shooting capabilities.   

But as many senior business figures find, a superior
understanding of strategy and management does not necessarily help you to deal
with your own family.

However, Guru has now been informed that boarding schools are
catering for parents who work long hours. A survey shows that half of the
families using boarding schools live within 30 minutes drive.

Furthermore, many of these schools are providing occasional
boarding facilities for "parents who might have to attend a conference for
a few days or have regular work commitments in the evening," claims a
spokesperson for the Boarding Schools Association.  

Now that is what Guru calls work-life balance.

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