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.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
tv

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
film
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
film
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

The benefits of Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes