Damned insomnia struck again the other night and so after a quick scroll through the internet, I found myself watching “Jeff Randall’s Christmas Dinner” Basically, the pretty decent Mr Randall interviews three captains of industry over dinner and drinks and gleans their collective wisdom. It was about 3am and so I decided to listen to what they had to say.
He was talking to a mobile-phone hawker, a booze-hound* and some chick who ran a series of burger outlets.
The first thing that struck me was how remarkably mainstream and conformist all their views were. I don’t imagine too many mavericks or original thinkers get to run large corporations, but really, this lot were pub-bore material in the first segment. Randall asked what they thought of the Olympics and they all thought them wonderful. Possibly because people rang each other more while getting drunk and troughing burgers for all I know, but no-one mentioned the four/five fold over-spend or the dead legacy or where the money was coming from to fund the jolly. Quite disappointing.
The he got onto more serious topics, namely the Euro. None thought it doomed. None thought the fundamental over-spend that social democratic western governments all engage in MUST bust their currencies and presumably they all thought that 25% unemployment in Spain was wither sustainable or fixable as none addressed it.
They all knew the economy was in the doldrums of course but claimed or possibly hoped for better times next year. I guess when you are the boss you must sound a bit optimistic; saying “We are probably canning half of you next year” doesn’t make for a happy Christmas party.
Now it is of course possible that they were all highly intelligent people who thought that sounding like a conspiracy-loon in national TV might not prolong their careers and thus simply trotting out clichés was de rigueur but I have to say, they were not an overly impressive group. It is also possible that each works so long and hard at their respective businesses they struggle to find the time for wider strategic contemplation. And let’s applaud their rising up the greasy pole in the first place, but if there was any real insight, any nuggets ~ they weren’t sharing.
I had always thought that the various CEO’s I had encountered in construction were unusual in being largely stupid, noisy, alcoholic, brown-nose bullies who would get lost on the way into the IQ test**. Maybe such characteristics extend beyond construction?
*By which I mean someone who sells alcohol rather than is overly-keen on it of course.
** For the avoidance of doubt I do not suggest any of Mr Randall’s guests share any of those characteristics nor are navigationally-challenged.