Bringing marshmallows and coals to teamwork; People & Business

The Book That's Sweeping America! has just plonked on my desk. This, to me, is the perfect antidote to those legions of tedious American management books which bring together born-again earnestness with mind- numbing biz-babble.

The author, Stephen Michael Peter Thomas, shamefully admits in the introduction that "none of his ideas are actually new or different enough to challenge you or make you feel uncomfortable in any way".

The book claims to be interactive, since "you can read the words in any order you want to". It includes challenging exercises for modern executives who need "concrete in their business practice (always a useful tool)". These teamwork exercises include "changing a tyre at 80 mph", "taking charge of a big ship" and "bomb disposal squad".

The book also mercilessly pillories management jargon, with swipes at the learning organisation, and how easily it can turn into the "forgetting organisation," how to create the humour-free work place and "managing change". My favourite is the staff exercise pushing a marshmallow (product) across a bed of white-hot coals (development process) to the far side (the market.)

All in all, an essential purgative for anyone who has just taken an MBA.

I think Mr Thomas could have had a hand in a press release from the Co-operative Bank I've just received hymning the bank's commitment to "an inclusive partnership approach to its business activities and to providing regular, independently audited reports on its performance with each partner".

The bank's managing director, Terry Thomas, carries on with more of this incomprehensible twaddle: "If companies are to succeed in the long term they must understand the needs of the various natural partners in a business and that each partner must be treated in balance - not equally, not in preference but in balance and across time."

Has Mr Thomas been studying at the feet of the Dalai Lama, or is this merely an attempt to emulate his namesake, the popular 1950s film comedian?

Mr Thomas adds that "we believe this all-in approach is the way all businesses will be run in the 21st century". Book your prayer-mat in the ashram now.

One hundred and sixty years of English brewing history drew to a close yesterday when Eldridge, Pope sold its original Thomas Hardy Brewery in Dorchester to the management for pounds 2.4m.

Jeremy Pope, Eldridge, Pope's chief executive and the fourth generation to head the family company, says he feels no pangs of regret: "I would be more emotional if I didn't think we were doing the right thing for the people who work at the brewery."

He has sold the brewery to Peter Ward, a former production director at Bass whom Mr Pope recruited two years ago to be general manager.

Hard commercial logic dictated that Eldridge, Pope should concentrate on its fast-growing pub chain, says Mr Pope. The company now owns 200- odd pubs, with two about to open in the City - The Slurping Toad in Bishopsgate and Bar Excellence in Cornhill.

A year ago, Mr Pope put the company's brewing and packaging interests into the newly formed Thomas Hardy Brewery, and freed his pubs to buy beer wherever they wished. He will continue to lease the Grade II listed premises built in 1880 to Mr Ward, and will sit on the board.

As for Mr Pope, he continues the family traditions. Only family members are allowed to hold fully voting shares in Eldridge, Pope. "Archetypal nepotism, I suppose," he says. Whatever, I rate Eldridge, Pope shares a buy.

Stakis has appointed Ian Payne as managing director of Stakis Casinos. Mr Payne, 44, is currently managing director of Gala Clubs, a division of Bass Leisure, with responsibility for no less than 138 bingo clubs in the UK.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
These photographs released by the University of Maryland Medical Center show images of full face transplant recipient 37-year-old Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, Virginia
mediaGQ front page features man who underwent full face transplant
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Sport
Moeen Ali wearing the 'Save Gaza' and 'Free Palestine' wristbands on his left arm
cricket
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tv
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Battle of the Five Armies trailer released
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Business Analyst - London - Banking - £400-£450

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Banking - London...

Project Manager,Conduct Risk,London,£5-600pd

£500 - £600 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Senior Fund Administrator - Edinburgh - £22 p/hr

£20 - £22 per hour + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Fund Administrator, Top Four ...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on