Stephen S. Covey, a management writer, distinguishes between leadership and management:
“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”
George Formby, who sang about cleanin' windows, might agree. But I'd be tempted to walk under the ladder - bad luck or not - giving it a good kick.
What happens if the ladder is a greasy pole and the wall is a glass ceiling? Why, then you recruit a "diversity sponsor". That's what PA Consulting do:
“We are being asked to tell clients in our tenders what our diversity policy is,” says Neil Amos, a partner in PA Consulting’s government practice. The company recruits a different diversity sponsor every year and this year Amos is in the hot seat. He says that the firm looks at “diversity in the round”...
Does this mean they employ fat people? Probably not, or at least only along with anorexics as part of a multimorphic initiative:
He says that the firm looks at “diversity in the round”, examining three aspects: diversity of individuals, which takes in gender, age and sexual orientation; diversity of working arrangements, such as flexible working; and working style, which means taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of staff and assessing if people are effective team players. “It’s being increasingly recognised that a diverse team can deliver more,” he says.
What has sexual orientation got to do with how well somebody does his/her/his-formerly-her/her-formerly-his job? And hasn't the phrase "team players" worn itself out yet? This isn't cricket, even if we must think outside the box.
I have never been able to fathom what management consultants do that is at all useful, although they work very long hours at whatever it is and get paid a lot for doing whatever it is. Readers considering management consultancy as a career may like to try this quiz. Sample questions as follows:
In a meeting your boss tells your client that he needs to open his kimono if the project is to succeed. You:
a) Shriek like a schoolgirl and close your eyes
b) Nod in agreement. There’s no getting ahead without a frank discussion of the company’s true financial situation
c) Hope you hid your confusion better than the client did
It’s time for your 360-degree evaluation. Do you:
a) Make the effort to iron both sides of your shirt
b) Greet the occasion with enthusiasm. Understanding what people think of you will help you to improve
c) Hope the colleagues you paid off remember their lines
An experienced colleague advises you that it’s easiest to swallow the frog early in the morning. You:
a) Smile and back away
b) Agree. It’s better to get nasty jobs out of the way than to have them hang over you
c) Make an unPC comment about French people
How many times have you mentioned “multi-sectoral key deliverables”?
a) Once, when last year’s grad trainees hypnotised me
b) Any time there is an obvious commercial imperative
c) Quite a few, but I didn’t have any idea what I meant