The Jerks Shall Inherit The Earth

by sidin in

Dick Cheney(Latest newspaper column. Not bad at all.) I can't tell you how excited I am to write this fortnight's column.

See the thing is normally, one or two days before my column is due, I am sitting at home and pulling my hair out. I don't know if you've noticed this but writing humour is tough. And writing humour from the wonderful world of business is doubly so.

To be honest the world of business isn't really a frolicsome hotbed of humour article ideas. Business is, in fact, only marginally more interesting than those old taped cricket matches you have at home that were fondly recorded many years ago and watched once, at best, and have now become populated with fungii colonies so large that I wouldn't be surprised if there was a Big Bazaar and an ICICI BANK ATM in there somewhere.

I have friends in the stock trading, M&A, Corporate banking and allied sectors and what distinguishes them from normal people, apart from monthly salary slips that have an index and several footnotes, is a uniformly underdeveloped sense of humour.

Let me explain by 'cracking' a joke representative of the banker type:

Banker A: So dude, why did the chicken cross the road?

Banker B: I don't know man...

Banker A: Because of an inverted yield curve and a strengthening dollar!!!

Banker B: Oh! HA HA Oh my! Oh! Good god! Too much! Stop that right now! Phew! You are good bro!

Banker A: I KNOW! I didn't get it at the time either. But you get the picture yes? Looking for veins of humour in these parts is pretty pitiful.

So I was just about to get into one of my weekend 'Sid Says' funks, desperately looking for inspiration, when the missus emailed me about a recent consultant report that had she had heard about.

Compared to Consultants, Bankers are a total hoot.

Consultants have little time for humour. They are in a mad rush from project to project helping companies achieve significant improvements to topline and bottomline through complex methodologies including, and not limited to, 'making slides with animation of trucks' and 'expensing minibar usage'.

If you ever get invited to a party with consultants it may be advisable to, beforehand, do a root canal on yourself with a tea spoon to get in the mood.

So boy was I surprised when I read the report my wife had pointed me to. The report by one of the biggest names in global consulting, which I will only refer to as McChickensey & Co., goes out to highlight a terrible evil that threatens to have dire economic impact on companies:

Hiring of Strategic Management Consultants.

Ha! I jest.

No, what they actually said was that companies had to pay a heavy price if they hired, retained and refused to remove 'jerks'.

According to the report 'jerks' are people in a company who are 'nasty and demeaning' to other employees. Now I know what you are thinking: "Hey! That's like everyone in our top management team!" And for thinking like that I am appalled at you!

You forgot HR and Accounts.

Now this column has a duty to its readers: all the young managers out there. We have pledged to educate them about the truths of the business world and warn them against misinformation and rumours.

Therefore I need to tell all of your right now this simple rhyming message:

"Be one of the jerks, become a CEO, get all the perks, this rhymes ayayyo"

In that one line I have encapsulated a life time of learning, experience and hands-on achievement by people like Jack Welch and Winston Churchill.

Let us look through the annals of world history.

So what are all the sobriquets we often hear? Bismarck the Iron Duke, Ivan the Terrible, Alexander the Great, Peter the Great, Richard the Lionheart, William the Conqueror, Winnie the Pooh and Vadukut the Tremendously Gifted As A Satire Columnist to name but a few.

Have you ever heard of a Jonathon the Polite, Frederick the Excellent Behaver with Subordinates, Paul the Teamworker or Manoj Kumar the Balanced Performance Evaluator?

Exactly my point!

In the real world there is no place for the meek and mild and tender. And so it is in the world of business. Success in the young manager's world goes to him who is aggressive, focused and ruthless. A tiny teensy bit of ruth is all that it takes to drop you from the giddy heights of success to the just-about-ends-meeting depths of middle management mediocrity.

Now to justify all these points and aspects very clear let me tell you why, briefly, being a jerk is not just a good thing, but a prerequisite for managerial success.

Listen carefully:

Nice bosses empower their subordinates, give them much freedom and let them chart their own workplans.

Nice Boss: Sidin we need to get this report done by tomorrow!

Sidin: But I need to take my family out for a long weekend vacation...

Nice Boss: Oh ok! Let me work on it then...

So while his conscience may be clear the nice boss is just going to walk around vacuuming up on himself other people's project work like a first year engineering student in a final year hostel.

On the other hand let us look at the go-getting jerk boss:

Jerk Manager: Sidin we need to get this report done by tomorrow!

Sidin: But I need to take my family out for a long weekend vacation...

Jerk Manager: Oh I see! Let me arrange some interviews then...

This way the jerk boss has translated the company objectives into a very clear and powerful personal deliverable for the employee: remaining solvent.

Now that's what I call motivation.

The next thing is that nice guy managers spend a lot of time in meetings trying to get his point across and making decisions:

Nice Manager: So I was thinking that we could try implementing SAP before the CRM suite...

Sidin: But I don't completely agree...

Nice Manager: Oh and why is that?

Sidin: See if you look at the long term financial implications of a sequenced rollout program...

As you can sense this meeting is going to go all night and will probably end in 'road maps', 'transition presentations', 'gap analyses', 'due diligences', 'phased rollouts', a pizza dinner, and a decision to meet again the next day.

Jerk Manager: So I was thinking that we could try implementing SAP before the CRM suite...

Sidin: But I don't completely agree...

Jerk Manager: Oh I don't care. And, to reiterate, !@#$% you too!

Sidin: But from where I am coming is ... OWWW... who threw that stapler at me???!!!!

Jerk Manager: La la la... whistle whistle... la la...

Thus jerk-managed meetings happen quickly and easily and this can only mean better profits and returns for the company.

Similarly jerk managers get better bonuses by:

a. passing on less to the team driving them to achieve ever more, they maintain high attrition levels thereby keeping the company always flush with fresh ideas,

b. keeping their subordinates uncomfortable and insecure thus fighting that great virus of corporate excellence: complacency and,

most importantly, they infuse the company with a sense of good-hearted resilience and verve.

So if you ask me jerkdom is really the way to go.

You may have a differing opinion of course, but then this is all I have to say:

!@#$%% you!