Guru has graced the back pages of Personnel Today for the last six years,
regularly astounding the HR community with his incisive wit, cutting satire and
near telepathic foresight. Tackling all subjects from executive coaching to
strippers’ unions, Guru is never afraid to dodge the controversial questions or
cast his educated eye over the issue of the day. Here, in our last issue of the
year, we find out what makes him tick.
What qualifications do you hold?
It’s more a question of which ones don’t I hold.
Who is the ultimate guru?
I always like to see myself as the guru’s guru. Michael Porter, Charles
Handy, Gary Hamel and even Dave Ulrich all pale in comparison to the mighty
What is your essential viewing?
I really enjoyed the recent six-part documentary The Office. Its findings
showed me that top-class British managers are alive and well in Slough. I was
hugely impressed by David Brent’s grasp of HR policy and his ability to blue
sky think while on the job. If only all UK managers were as gifted as Brent –
there wouldn’t be a productivity gap.
How do you fill your spare time?
Of course working so hard is a full-time job and leaves little time for Mrs
Guru, although that luxury is starting to recede since the advent of work-life
balance. I’m also a keen reader – currently halfway through How to Lose Friends
and Alienate People.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
The greatest risk is probably the annual pilgrimage to Harrogate. Every year
the faces get younger, the days more tiresome and the expense account more
difficult to explain away.
Do you network?
Extensively. Only this week I’ve held informal meetings with Jack Daniels,
Jim Beam, John Smith, Jose Cuervo and Julio Gallo.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
A reporter on Personnel Today. It must be so exciting, rewarding and well
Who would play you in the film of your life?
What’s the worst/best office party you’ve ever attended?
Harlequins nightclub onboard The Oriana cruiseship. It was
the best of times, it was the worst of times.