founder of naked leader

The Top 13 Business April Fools *

Monday 1 April 2013


Time to Read – 3 minutes 03 seconds

Time to Listen – Make a coffee first!


The Top 13 Business April Fools *


13.        Meetings

A French River in Egypt – Where people travel, who think that more meetings = better decisions.

Back from De Nile – Cut down your meetings by half – in number and length, have a clear Outcome and when you make a decision, make it a true one. Oh yes, and all attendees must justify why they are there.

12.        Job Descriptions

The Comedy – Roles / responsibilities must be defined, along with the skills needed to do them.

The Punch Line – You are not in the paper business, you are in the people business – replace them with online, people descriptions (Living CVs) – you need flexibility, not straight jackets.

11.        Post Implementation Reviews

This is Hilarious – The word “post” gives you a clue – by then it’s too late.

The joke’s on me – Oh, you never do them anyway, sorry.

10         “Change Programmes”

Stop talking change – it’s not funny anymore – do it”

9          Intangible Benefits

If anyone uses this ridiculous phrase, pay them with intangible money.

8          Power Point Presentations

Ho ho ho! – Word for word quotes at events over the last year:

“You won’t be able to read this at the back.”

“This slide is too crowded – that’s deliberate”

Me – “You have a 30 minute slot and 53 slides”

Presenter “Yes, but I don’t need most of them”

7          Spreadsheets are the same thing as Answers


6          Total Quality Management

You are at the dentist:

Dentist (with a big smile): I have run out of anesthetic, so I can either drill, and cause you a lot of pain, or  you can read this manual on Total Quality Management”


5.         Jargon

The greater the bullshit, the greater the truth to be uncovered.

4.         Projects 

My favourite question in every top team event:

Me (with as straight a face as I can muster) – “Are all of your projects clearly prioritized, with a single point of ownership and a specific amount of money that you will make and save?”

1st Answer: “Yes”

(Let the silence run)

2nd Answer: “Some of them”

(More silence)

3rd Answer: “No”

(Actually, there are three companies I know who now do this – if you want to know how, and save a lot of money – e-mail me – )

3.         Competency Based Anything

The Cunning Plan: We’ll identify a set of criteria against which we will measure people and how they are doing. We may even link it to their rewards. Also, we’ll use this to identify people’s weaknesses, for people to work on during the following year.

The Flaw: We all have different strengths, skills and talents. When we do not work with these, they weaken. Competencies, perhaps the most boring word to ever come out of our HR departments, do not engender excitement. Beware, if you have such “schemes,” ensure they are weighted according to the skills needed in different people and roles, and never create general all-rounders who score average on everything.

2.          Service Level Agreements

See how effective they are, for yourself.

Tonight, persuade your partner to cook you a meal – eat it, while saying nothing – show no expression whatsoever.

When you have finished and your chef asks – “Did you enjoy it?”

Reply – “It was satisfactory”

And later – if you still have a relationship, and after enjoying some romantic, intimate moments together – your partner whispers in your ear: “How was it for you?”

Pause for a few moments, look them right in the eyes, and say:  “you met my expectations”

1.          The Biggest Trick of them all

Is how you lie to yourself each and every day that you are not good enough.

When you are.

You, being you, is ok.

With my love and best wishes



* Unless any or all of these take you forward, of course, in which case do them – after all, there is no “right” or “wrong”, there is only what helps you move towards your outcomes, and what moves you further away…

6 Responses to The Top 13 Business April Fools *

  1. Thanks David. your latest article made me smile. Not an easy expression to extract from me on a cold & windswept bank holiday.

  2. The Service Level agreements point is priceless.
    If my other half did that to me I would not be happy!

  3. Intangible benefits!
    I hate that phrase too David. Is there such a thing?
    A benefit has to be tangible otherwise what’s the point!?

  4. Nice caveat at the end there David, a kind of legal ‘none of the previous comments need be true’ cover all 🙂

    As ever, a few beauties in here.

    Meetings where nobody can answer the simple question “what are we aiming to achieve with this gathering”. Love those.

    Powerpoints with slides the presenter stares at blankly, obviously with no idea why it was included (of course I’ve never done this!). I did enjoy one memorable occasion, a Sales call, when the customer told us after 5 mins that he got the pitch and wanted to discuss the deal. The sales guy had worked so hard on his deck he refused to stop and we ran out of time to close. Guess if we got invited back.

    I would however actually promote a number of the ideas you so cruelly mock:

    JDs: of course people need skills and development but they also need clear goals that you both understand and agree take us collectively closer to the desired outcomes. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there .. but Shareholders can get tetchy with this approach.

    PIRs: everyone would love to get it right 1st time but not all of you do. Working out why things went wrong and what you are going to do to ensure it goes right next time is a valuable activity (unless all projects are one-offs).

    SLAs: appreciate they are not terribly emotional but then they are typically a contract between two IT organisations and emotional connection is not really the point. Again they serve to clarify what’s to be done and how well which is critical to avoid disappoinment (and sometimes worse).

    And agree there is no right or wrong so these are just one man’s way BUT there are positive outcomes and the right approach does improve the odds on achieving these.

    Sermon over .. very cathartic

Leave a reply