Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Leadership potential

So Caroline was in the south of Spain with a few hand-picked colleagues from her company. A week away from the desks in East London, a chance to learn those crucial leadership skills, an even bigger chance to look a complete idiot.

It became obvious after the first two days that there was another agenda. Monsaint was looking for the high-flyer who was best suited to setting up their new operation in the heart of Europe. The job would have a grandiose title and be dangled as a stepping stone to better things.

Once this became known, the gloves were off. Everyone wanted to shine. Melody Bigger, the course facilitator, had turned to an old friend, Sid Schweinsteiger, to run the outdoor exercise that would sort the sheep from the goats. Sid and Melody had history. They both had a chequered management career. In Sid's case, he was lying low from the authorities after it was revealed that certain car companies had been bribing union officials with prostitutes. Sid had moved his wealth to Spain before the crash and was trapped there with a seedy bar on the coast he couldn't sell. He made ends meet taking parties of tourists for walks in the hills and running outdoor exercises for big companies.

So what exactly is the relationship between running around the mountainside in pairs and running a division of a multi-national company? What is it that the participants learn?

Well let's consider this specific example.

Donna, Director of Central Services back in London (stationery cupboard, annoying emails) learnt that everyone was scared of her. The others followed her directive that they should ignore the brief. They should think outside the box. They should co-operate, each pair going for two or three control points and she would co-ordinate the effort from behind the shade of a wall.

Alistair learnt that if revealing a personal problem once could get him inside a woman's pants, then it would work again and again. He was in a pair with Antonia, who reckoned, correctly, he was strong enough to carry her over the rocky bits. She helped him with his 'problem' in the shade of an oak tree.

Caroline learnt that Clive Pontin, Marketing, was hopeless at reading a map. He managed to misread the symbols so completely that they ended up extremely hot and sweaty beside a deep  ravine. She also learnt that he had seen her naked in the swimming pool the night before, and that he was a smooth talker.

And Sid Schweinsteiger, powerful binoculars and camera trained on the participants from a vantage point above, learnt that C has a very nice body and looks particularly attractive when emerging, after cooling off, from a pool in a mountain stream.

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Who are these people?

The world is divided into voyeurs and exhibitionists... It takes one of each to make a good marriage.

Robert and Caroline Fanshaw are an ambitious young couple trying to make their way in a complex world.

What happens when their private affairs collide with world events and the big issues of our times? Drama, comedy and x-rated scenes.

email fanshawrobert@gmail.com