Justin Thyme

Caption Competition

Yet again, we implore readers to pick up their pens and offer thoughts on what might be going on in the photograph below.

The picture shows a Mr Stephen Bernhard, managing director of Bernhard & Co, which sells a range highly specialised lawnmower sharpening equipment.

Although he was the proud recipient of a 1997 Export Award for Small Business there really is no excuse whatsoever for the frankly odd nature of the pose. What on earth is going on? And what’s the real reason behind the teasing smile?

Caption Competition, Management Consultancy, 32-34 Broadwick Street, London W1A 2HG.

After draining the Tio Pepe, Oscar looked forward to life

“The son of God was born and proceeded to advance the careers of his flock”

Christmas. A time for merriment, prayer, family get-togethers, holly, ivy and ruddy-faced young ‘uns? ‘Fraid not. Yuletide is, according to recruitment consultants, Office Angels, an “excellent opportunity to climb the corporate career ladder”. Paul Jacobs, corporate communications director, says “If you know how to spot good career development opportunities and turn them to your advantage, the festive season can be a time to advance your position.”

So, according to the consultancy here are the rules you must follow in order to score well at Noel.

Advice: Practice the art of networking. The Christmas party provides an excellent opportunity to mingle and “shmooze” with those on the top floor. Fine tune your social skills and prepare to impress!

Reality: You arrive at the party, sink a vat of Baileys and proceed to tell “those on the top floor” the way that the business should really be run. Spend the rest of the year hiding.

Advice: Don’t over decorate your desk with tinsel. Obey the laws of Feng Shui.

Reality: When office managers obey the basic laws of health and safety, then we’ll let the Eastern mystics have their say.

Advice: Volunteer to arrange the office party.

Reality: Yeah, right.

Advice: Drink and be merry. But ensure you keep your dignity at all times.

Reality: Yeah, right.

Advice: Santa hats are great in moderation but maintain the professional image that you have established over the year.

Reality: How many Santa hats represent “moderation”?

Consultancy is the state of the art

Creativity seems to be the latest buzzword in the consultancy industry.

AT Kearney is staking its claim to being one of the high-profile patrons of creativity by sponsoring the 1999 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Managing director, Jan-Willem Broekhuysem said: “The value of the creative exchange between art and business cannot be overlooked.”

The issue of business and the arts was tackled last month when the RSC drilled consultants to make up a song illustrating the harmony that can reign between the two sectors. It’s good to see that AT Kearney prefer to take a more sedentary approach to the promotion of the relationship.

Trust me – I’m a consultant

In the City, a man’s word may be his bond, but among small businessmen it seems to count for very little. A survey carried out by Better Business magazine shows that a sizeable proportion of small business folk felt that their biggest mistake had been to trust someone; a banker, friend, relation, client, organisation or consultant. Woeful news, indeed. After all everyone knows that bankers can’t be trusted as far as they can be thrown; friends are fair-weather; relations are those who happen to share similar eye colour, and organisations are dark, monolithic hulks that are behind every conspiracy from JFK to Profumo. However, we at MC magazine will not tolerate talk of clients not trusting their consultants. For without that bond of trust where would the client/consultant relationship be? Better Business does offer a free factsheet to those who have a problem with trust. “How to avoid tears – or worse – in a partnership” is available to all of those who fear being dumped at the altar, left at the bar or, worse, fearful that your client doesn’t trust you or love you in the same way as you love them.

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