Company: American Apparel
Thoughts for Tuesday by Suzanne Bates
I used to be a devotee of the CBS show “Survivor.” It’s fascinating the way that human beings adapt and live through horrible, if contrived circumstances. In the corporate world, the equivalent of Survivor is the dreaded business meeting. You don’t have to be wearing a loin cloth and eating worms to feel like a contestant. Running from meeting to meeting, you must learn to outwit, outlast and outplay.
Like travelers in a jungle without food, water or time to think, people are desperate. It’s not just physical deprivation. It is the emotional toll. When meetings routinely start late, run long, are badly managed, and accomplish little, you go a little insane. To survive, you must outwit. Come late; schedule calls during the meetings on purpose; duck out to answer “emergency” email; or just don’t show up. Manipulate people to make them think you’re with them; leave the meeting and shoot them down behind their backs. It’s a brutal, brutal game. \
If your audiences could vote with their feet, what would happen?
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans”
You learn a lot from the savvy traveler who has to fly coach. Of course they all carry on; and they’ve learned to stand as close to the miserable airline representative collecting boarding passes as is socially acceptable. This way they are positioned to sail forth with alacrity onto the jetway when their row is called.
The other day at a Starbucks on Cape Cod my colleague Dave seemed distracted. “I’m sorry, I just can’t take my eyes of this group of kids.” Four boys who I’d guess were between the ages of 14 and 16 sat facing each other - their high end laptops open to separate gaming or Internet sites. 45 minutes later when Dave and I got up to leave they were still locked in this activity. As far as I could observe they hadn’t spoken a word to each other.