Crawl Across the Ocean

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Time for Another Great Leap Forward

"And now I tell you openly
You have my heart so don't hurt me"
- 'Dreams' - The Cranberries.

Those of you who work (or used to work) for a large organization will be familiar with the annual meeting where the higher-ups hold a little ceremony to talk to the employees about how the last year went and what's planned for the next year. In my experience with different organizations the coffee and muffins beforehand, brief video with inspiring music, sound bites from the CEO/Chairman and pictures of smiling workers, the powerpoint presentation and the closing q&a session are pretty standard.

The only difference is that this year, for the first time, I tried to keep myself awake1 by making mental notes for my blog.

1. The only thing worse than the bland/banal music typically chosen for the inspirational video is when they choose a song that you actually like and have [had] some respect for.

2. Given 5 minutes to try to inspire the whole organization via sound bites (and allowing that the inspirational music will take up a couple of these minutes) the inspirational video rarely gets beyond platitudes such as 'we need to continue to grow', 'we have to focus on profitability', 'our customers are our number one priority', 'the industry is more competitive than ever' and (if the company is doing well) 'there's no room for complacency'. However, this time, in amongst the vague sound bites, one of the execs found time to come out and specifically state that the (rather specialized) job I do is not important. It's a good thing I don't take these videos seriously!

3. I know it's not an exact parallel, but there's still something a bit disconcerting hearing an authoritarian organization the size of a small country talk about how successful their 5 year plan has been and their plans for the next one.

1 Actually, as these things go, this latest one was better than most.
In amongst the motherhood statements and empty rhetoric there was actually the odd bit of relevant information, humour and insight here and there.

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  • I'm feeling ripped off now. We don't get inspirational videos or inspirational music when the company's CEO and CFO come to town. I guess that's what I get for working at a company three years removed from bankrupcy rather than some big profit bank.

    On the other hand, I have to present at the departmental annual review next week. I could prepare a video or slide show with pictures of our co-ops, eyes glazed over, as we explain US tax law to them. I think it would be particularly striking if I set it to a song like "Give Me Novacaine" (Green Day). Then again, my boss probably wouldn't be impressed with the message I was conveying.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:38 PM  

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