"Very Important Meeting" at Comedy. Let's analyze the flights?

All the weekend feed on Facebook and my PM were bursting with links to the same video – "Very Important Meeting" from Comedy Club members. Comments and signatures were monosyllabic: “ha”, “tochnyak”, “and remember, we also did R in N”, etc. I did not immediately watch the video, but as soon as I saw it, I realized: this is an article. Article on Habr. Because the video turned out to be cool, in relevance for today no worse than the “Red Lines”, funny and somehow very symptomatic, causing not a good, but a nervous, almost sarcastic laugh. Well, let's see, we'll figure it out.

The video itself, if someone has not yet seen (I post a link to the most normal of the channels, if the SS themselves flood, reload).

First of all, I want to say that the video had a cool screenwriter who not only invented this story, but who was in the subject. I am sure that this is not an ordinary author of the guys, but someone who went through the corporate vent in a large company and felt important nuances.


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At first glance, it may seem that the video’s task is to ridicule the office newspeak and slang, which is incomprehensible to a simple hard worker, supply manager, who accidentally turned into a manager’s support team. For an inexperienced viewer, it is – a frankly incomprehensible language, funny reactions, vivid images. For a person who has gone through 14 years of corporate life and three very large companies (all IT companies), the video sounds completely different. This is a caricature of us all guys. Someone considers almost everything, someone only a part, but how not to remember the immortal Gogol: “Who are you laughing at? You are laughing at yourself. ”

So let's go

Somewhere before this meeting, the supply manager formed an agenda – and all the managers gathered to nail a plate or stick it on. Already at this stage we see the first problem: the lack of personal responsibility of the employee within his competencies, the desire to transfer everything to the field of collective responsibility. Moreover, most likely, the agenda itself was formed incorrectly and the essence of the issue was not voiced, otherwise he would know that it was his report that was waiting.

We see a large group of managers, find out about the presence of departments in the company – which means that we are talking about a complex hierarchical organizational structure, which just has a collective responsibility. That is why they list a huge number of actions that will be initiated after the meeting.

In addition, closer to the end of the video, it is proposed to conduct a digital screening and focus group. In large companies, there are several motivations for such actions:

  • spend your department’s budget on research
  • really test the hypothesis and find an external, weighty, justification
  • show that employees who are involved in these processes receive a salary not in vain.

And yes, it happens that such serious events are held for trivial decisions such as evaluating New Year’s landing. This is an unreasonable waste; it is better to turn to a / b tests 🙂

Further along the course of the meeting, the important root causes of this behavior of company managers are revealed.

“We want to avoid the feylo, so that there is no negative background.” The company is obviously afraid of mistakes, because they can affect their reputation. Unfortunately, in our time, information (even unverified) flies instantly and it is easier to overtake and not make a decision than to prove later that you are not a camel and spend money on anti-crisis communications, which, moreover, do not give any guarantees. This feature is common to almost all companies.

“The glue is toxic, and we would like to avoid the image of a toxic company.” Again, the image of the company is important not only inside, but also outside, in particular in order to choose the best job seekers. If there are bad rumors about the company, it will not work to get a cool professional. Yes, and consumers can harass the company because of stupid little things.

“This is contrary to our metal free philosophy,” “they will accept us.” The company looks back at important trends. In particular, hereinafter we see that the corporation has become dependent on one of the most fashionable and contradictory trends – ecology. Indeed, it is worth a well-known corporation to do something non-environmental, anger will fall on it from not only buyers, but also non-profit companies and advocates. And this is again a reputation, risks, money …

The methods of communication of the company are also interesting. First, it is reported that one of the managers will send a letter following the results of the meeting (by the way, for some reason the word “fallowap” was not mentioned, it sounds right at every rally of large companies), then channels and chats in instant messengers are instantly created. And again two features of modern management are revealed.

  1. Everyone voices the reason why he chose this or that messenger. This is also part of the disclaimer – I informed, I argued, and as you want.
  2. Many technologies used. Indeed, in one company there may be 2-3 instant messengers + mail + chatroom. This is inconvenient, confused, disperses information and reduces responsiveness. The problem is that companies can lobby for certain technologies with groups of employees, and then a conflict of interest arises.

At the same time, the manager-analyst suggests looking at the presentation in keyote. And, I must say, this is a good move: information is visualized, and comes not only through the audio channel, but also through vision, which improves perception. Even in the video it’s a “clear spot”, a good visual. This does not mean that you need to spend working time on the presentation on any trifle (do we remember why the heroes gathered?), But if the topic is serious, backing up the explanation with slides is a good surprise for the meeting participants.

We have three key points left.

The problem of a long period of decision making. “You are sitting on your asses and you cannot solve an elementary question. While you were deciding what kind of signaling to do, we were robbed six times. You decide the year – the year! “Where to put the cooler”, – the supply manager shakes the air, which, in fact, created this agenda.

Indeed, the coordination chain in a large company can not only slow down the project, but also cause specific harm – for example, spend or ruin a resource, miss a market opportunity, not introduce automation in time, and so on. Again, an imitation of activity (coordination) takes place, work formally takes place, but there is no final solution. Small business cannot afford such a luxury – it will go bankrupt 🙂

Finally, the only rational solution is proposed: use “plastic screws from recycled ocean debris” for the plate. A good decision from a person with a salary of one million (uhhh, worked) – take it and do it. But then we return to the fact that in fact the negative hero of the video is precisely the supply manager, because he precisely divides the task according to the guideline and asks a new question: “Do you need to screw the screwdriver's head with a Phillips screwdriver or a hexagon?” The trigger worked, everything resumes in a circle, rally scheduled. That is, even in such a petty task, the employee discards the burden of making a decision. But do not rush to condemn him – maybe the company pursues any independent decision and initiative you know what it is doing with the initiator.

Thus, we saw a typical corporation, depending on external opinion and maximally lubricating responsibility. This is, of course, an inefficient company that has subsidized sources of income. Therefore, for employees of large companies, the video is a "life buoy", and for employees of companies of medium and small business – an occasion to laugh at certain things that no, no, and even slip. Especially if an effective manager from a large business gets to work. Need to re-educate 🙂

About Newspeak

Finally, I’ll turn to the main topic of the video – Newspeak, an office language crowded with Anglicisms even where it is not needed. I am a fairly modern employee who understands absolutely all these words, it happened that in past works I had to trump them when this was not yet mainstream (2008-2010). So, everything is very clear here.

  • Such words give a visible weight to the speech, easy juggling gives the experience of the manager "in the corporation."
  • They mask mistakes, problems and frankly get along.
  • They highlight the circle of the elect who understand these words.
  • They give a sense of professionalism – you just feel like in the best scenes from American business films.

But all this is valid until some point. When you become a professional, you understand that only someone who knows a lot about the subject can explain in human language and on the fingers. And such an office newspeak is not needed.

Of course, some buzzwords, especially in IT, will not go out of use: we refactor and commit, debug and check, deploy and send to the prod. These are professional jargon. But you need to get rid of solution and disizhin 🙂

While writing, I thought that it turned out something similar to the composition “what the author was thinking about when he wrote the novel”, although he might not have thought about anything, but sipped his wine and dreamed of a young serf. So here – we don’t know what the screenwriter was thinking, but our laughter and virality of this video is very symptomatic. And it's cool that while we laugh, it means that everything is fine with self-criticism.

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