This week’s guru

Production or seduction, Latinos leave us trailing

Guru has always had a soft spot for the Italians. He had a little chuckle to
himself while commenting on Italian research that revealed seven out of 10
Italians indulge in flirtatious behaviour and sexual innuendo in the work
place. The study concluded that this helps encourage a relaxing and supportive
atmosphere in the office.

All very amusing until this week a joint CBI and TUC study revealed Italy
has over-taken the UK in terms of the productivity of its workforce.

Guru accepts that the Italians are better lovers, better dressers and drive
more glamorous cars than the British – but better workers as well? No it can’t
be true. That’s not funny at all.

Time flies when Bacus is a friend

The annual CIPD conference in Harrogate can be a confusing experience.

Last Friday morning, Guru was having a heated discussion about the problems
of outsourcing when an Abba tribute band started playing next to him.

He checked his watch and was surprised to realise it was 3am. One minute
you’re listening to Robert Kaplan, professor of leadership at Harvard Business
School, and the next you’re getting Tony Hadley’s signature (aka Spandau Ballet
front man) in a local club.

Stella and Foster played a dominant role in this year’s conference – and
we’re not talking about former MI5 head Stella Rimmington and Olympic gold
medallist Tim Foster, who were speakers at the event.

It wasn’t Guru’s fault, he accidentally spent an afternoon with TV wine
taster Oz Clarke on the Personnel Today stand – the man doesn’t know the meaning
of the word spittoon.

At least Guru wasn’t the only one. In Dr Clive Morton’s seminar,
three-quarters of the HR delegates claimed to understand their organisation’s
business strategy. But only a quarter admitted to understanding the HR
strategy. You’ll have to work that one out because Guru’s head hurts.

Sun shines on share buying

Guru had initially welcomed the Government plans to give shareholders more
of a say in how company directors are remunerated.

He felt that this, coupled with Gordon Brown’s proposals announced last week
to expand employee share ownership, will help engage staff with business aims
and give them a greater sense of involvement over how their organisation is

But Guru has had second thoughts after reading research last week, which
showed that people are more likely to buy shares when the sun is shining.

Academics David Hirschleifer and Tyler Shumway compared data from 26 of the
world’s biggest stock exchanges and found a significant relationship between
the markets and sun exposure.

On the New York Stock Exchange the annualised returns figure on sunny days
was 24.8 per cent a year but on overcast days it was just 8.7 per cent.

Guru is concerned that if this theory holds water then decisions by UK
shareholders could be as hard to predict as the UK’s weather.

Germ welfare is path to genius

A messy desk is a sign of a creative mind, well that always been Guru’s
excuse. Is it really possible to let loose your imagination if your desk isn’t
strewn with piles of papers, files and Post-it notes, reflecting your darting
intelligence and out-of-the-box thinking? Guru thinks not.

But an American businessman has taken this approach to an extreme. Ray
Kostin has not seen his desktop for 43 years. When he opened his timber
business in 1958 the desks in his office were brand new and clean as a whistle
but they are now buried under 80 cubic feet of paper.

(This item should have appeared more than three weeks ago but the news
article was lost under an old pot noodle in Guru’s in-tray).

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