For fifteen minutes I watched Sally Gulliver hop silently up and down in anxiety.
Finally, I could stand it no longer. ‘Sally Gulliver. Whatever is the matter? Have you mistakenly issued an email closing all the toilet facilities, and now found yourself an unwitting victim of your own policy?’
She grimaced. ‘Bingleby, I’ve promised the CFO I’m going to come up with a plan that will improve the biggest wobbly pudding company in the world, overnight.’
‘A laudable ambition,’ I rumbled. Does Global Blancmange plc need improving? Does Gardeners’ Question Time involve questions?
Does Gardeners’ Question Time involve questions?
Sally Gulliver began to wail. ‘I don’t know what I was thinking of. I have never, literally never, improved big wobbly pudding companies, overnight, before in my life.’
‘It does seem something of a specialist skill.’ But then I reflected a moment (and I’m not just talking about the sunlight spinning off my leaves, in a rather elegant fashion). ‘Or then again, perhaps it isn’t…’
Sally momentarily paused in her hopping. ‘How d’you mean?’
‘Well, the big wobbly pudding is irrelevant, if I may put it like that. We’re hardly the first company to be less than perfect. What do you want to try and improve first?’
Sally’s face betrayed her suspicion the list was altogether too long to be of immediate use.
I tried a different tack. ‘Well, what do you know most about? As the Head of HR…?’ ‘The people!’ said Sally, seizing upon the word like someone shipwrecked seeing her favourite hat floating towards her and lunging for it, in the hope it’ll bear her weight.
‘Quite so. You need not so much a strategy, more…’
‘A VISION…’ completed Sally, just as a ray of sunshine bellyflopped through the window and rather helpfully lit up her face as she stood, staring into the middle distance, enraptured by the possibilities, bits of her breakfast still stuck to her dress. ‘Ah, yes, well, quite; a vision for your people, yes. That’s exactly what you need.’
Sally was still entranced. ‘A vision for Global Blancmange, 2015…’
I harrumphed. ‘If you like. Then all you have to do is sort out the brand, the products, the business strategy, and how we actually deliver stuff, and your work here will be done.’
Before I could stop her, Sally Gulliver started hopping again.
Next Friday: Are any of you good enough to be working here?
Bingleby was confiding in Richard Goff
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