Who moved my Blackberry? Where fiction is reality

The Poorhouse has just been thoroughly enjoying reading a book (yes, a book, no need to die of amazement) called "Who Moved My Blackberry(tm)?", allegedly written by fake Financial Times columnist Martin Lukes.

To lazily quote the back of the book, it describes "a year in the life of an A-playing brand ambassador suspended halfway up the corporate ladder. Must be read with a can-do headset". Yep, this book, detailing the manifold output of Martin's Blackberry is compulsive reading for those of us still unlucky enough to be messing around in the world of corporate nonsense. It is also hilarious, mainly because - even moreso than The Office - it is absolutely true.

In fact it is such an exact replica of real life that a "fact or fiction" game can be played, with WMMB(tm) battling against the actual day-to-day existence of a company with special ties to the Poorhouse. Excuse the slight crypticness, it would probably just be better if this wasn't Google result #1 for the name of said company. Life at the company would probably be equally as hilarious if people just realised their life is essentially a satire of itself.

Let's contrast the 5 values in one organisation:

  • Purpose
  • Practice
  • Potency
  • Performance
  • People

(mostly borrowed from Peak Performance's "Peak Performing Organization Theory it seems) along with their 5 behaviours:

  • Connectivity
  • Craziness
  • Caring
  • Coaching
  • Creativity

with the 8 in another:

  • Success
  • Positive Energy
  • Innovation
  • Talent
  • Collaboration
  • Candour
  • Integrity
  • Accountability

and four practices:

  • Be There
  • Play
  • Make Their Day
  • Choose Your Attitude

(borrowed from the Fish! philosophy)

And don't get the Poorhouse started on the elaborations of those super-vague utopian attributes. "Our passion for our purpose motivates and mobilises us"? Motivates and mobilises whatever massively-overpaid corporate think-thank came up with that more likely. "We are restless in a constant search for a new and better way of doing things". So we bothered coming up with a stack of ephemeral nouns to clutter the in-box up with? Hmmm. So is that the real company, or Martin Lukes' a-b global huh? Clue - the other company has the slogan "Fearless in our Caring, Relentless in our Sharing and Peerless in our Daring" amongst its prized gibberish-gems.

Is this fact?

We have developed an easy way for you to start to look at how well you think you are currently living the Values. You'll be rating yourself for each of our eight Values - how well do you think you live each value right now

or fiction?

You will today receive a form inviting you to grade your own behaviours and to write a paragraph to explain your thinking behind the marks


This will enable us to segment our people into three unique talent pools, A players...B players...and C players....Everybody in this company is a uniquely talented individual...we believe that in their own best interests [the C players] would be happier working someplace else.

or fiction?

[Employees] are grouped into 3 categories A (good), B (average) and C (poor)...Take action based on all of your data sources. Monitor and track the change in performance against the actions and key dates for performance improvements. Make the hard call when no performance improvements are seen.

...and so it goes on. Best quit whilst am ahead for now and hope that corporation X won't stumble upon this immensely insightful posting.

23.5 percent better than my very bestest,

The Poorhouse.

Update: Much as it pains the Poorhouse to have to pour slight ridicule on Public Concern At Work, a charity that supports and aids "whistleblowers" - i.e. those who provide evidence of the many corporate misdeeds that go on - the fact that in their recent advert they used the word "blame-storm" means that some mention has to be made of them. With a bit of luck, their list of values-equivalent nounage is at least a little tongue in cheek and perhaps designed to appeal to those that read business-ish magazines.

The crowning glory on the ad, pictured above, is that it blatantly contains 13 references to the acronym CBA. CBA is perhaps the most used phrase during the Poorhouse's workday, having the benefit of both being non-understood by the majority of high-and-mighty administrators at this point who would rather nod and smile than lose face by appearing ignorant, and standing for Can't Be Arsed.

"How's that report coming on?"
"No problem, I've prioritised it as CBA."


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