Thursday, May 08, 2003

The following was related by the person concerned during lunch. Person concerned is the "new" quality manager, leaving on Friday after one year and two months in post - going to (rumour says) a much more highly paid job far closer to his home. Anyway, he had to sort out some tax matters, and didn't want to do it at his desk, as people could hear. So he went to a quiet conference room to phone the tax people. He didn't check if someone else had booked the conference room. Aa it happens, a very important, though normally unassuming, person had booked that very conference room, for a meeting with external customers, so person turns up with entourage in tow, to find the conference room occupied. Our anti-hero, who has now got through to the Inland Revenue, looks up, holds up two fingers meaning "I'll just be two mnutes" and the unassuming person waits outside. A little while later, the whole thing is repeated, and our anti-hero holds up one finger meaning "I'll just be one minute". Some unmeasured time later, he comes out of the conference room and the unassuming person tells him off. Our anti-hero doesn't say anything much, unusual in itself, and walks away.

Part two occurs about a week later. The new quality manager is walking from one place to another at work when he sees this unassuming chap. He draws him aside and tells him, forcefully, never, never, again to speak to him (to the new quality manager) in front of customers.

The new quality manager things that he is justified in all this. I'm tempted to think that he's so wrong about so many things that it's difficult to explain.

The product is so expensive that the number of customers able to afford it are limited, so, being a continuous improvement company anyway, customers are given special attention. Even in a normal company, I would imagine that potential customers take priority over private tax matters.

There is flexi-time available, and most people take Friday afternoons off - though it's true that people do make personal phone calls and the official line is that it's allowed, provided it's not excessive. Besides, damn it, this chap has a mobile. There's lots of quiet corners to hide/make private calls.

The unassuming chap is someone who is directly concerned in designing the product, rather than a quality manager who, when it comes down to it, considering he's not being replaced, is perhaps not essential to the company.

The kindest way I can think of putting it is that the new quality manager doesn't understand the culture of the company, never has, never wanted to, and so it's just as well that he's leaving.

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