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Make yourself indispensible

Congratulations - you’ve got the job. Your first task, having settled into your nice warm office, is to set up your email account and obtain the addresses of all the company’s other managers. Next, write a report for your fellow managers to read, enabling them to write a report for lower-level managers so they can write a report aimed at their underlings. You get the idea.

Then set up weekly meetings with other managers to review the reports. Don’t forget to brain-drain any good ideas for your own use later. Declare your strategy and order your junior managers to filter it down to the ranks. It doesn’t matter whether it’s practical or not.

Order a large book case to sit next to your desk. Make sure it has lots of shelves and a clear glass door - you’ll need it to show off all your reports, forms, policies, standards, safety publications and that framed copy of your business management course certificate. You’re very proud of that, aren’t you? Don’t forget to stand something in front of it to mask the poor result. It looks good if you prominently display a few engineering books as well - don’t worry, you don’t have to read them.

Recruit an assistant. You can hold this person responsible for all your bad decisions. You will also need full-time clerical help and a car for those rare occasions when you leave the security of your office. How else will you get to the golf club or take little Trystan to school?

You should set your assistant the task of creating a series of forms which must be filled in by all staff on a weekly basis and returned to you. From the replies, draw a series of graphs and flow diagrams. After lunch, plot a cost-benefit curve. Then get your deputy assistant to produce more forms. Before long, your job will be critical to the smooth running of the business - who would read all those forms and reports without it?

As your managerial empire expands, you will need additional support so build up your department with a Human Resources team, Health and Safety specialists and competence assessment hit squad. To ensure you’re not undermined, only recruit people who lack drive, integrity and good sense. When your feet are fully under the table, engage a human factors expert, research guru and project management division.
To ensure you're not undermined, only recruit people who lack drive, integrity and good sense.

To fund this expansion, it will be necessary to cut staffing levels at ballast level. Don’t feel guilty about this. Remember, those chappies on-track are now being well served by a mountain of paperwork and constant pressure from your minions to increase production with less manpower. How much more motivation do they need?

And of course you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that, if things go belly-up, managers are never convicted for their failings. Having signed lots of forms, it’s those workers who will be shown the ‘go to jail’ card. Who says there’s no justice in the world?

Remember, only in football do managers get the sack for poor results.

Story added 1st April 2008

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