The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Hold the Ice

Think your job couldn’t possibly get any worse? I’ve got a surprise for you. Your horrible state of indentured servitude is a frolic through the marigolds compared to what could lie right around the corner.

Just imagine – you’re dozing through your workday like always, contentedly pretending to be actually working, when, all of a sudden, the Big Boss calls a department meeting.

“Good news!” Big announces. “We’re bringing in Ice to shape up the team.”

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Instantly, tragically, you intuit that the sobriquet, “Ice,” does not apply to a giant cooler of bar ice in which are seated a dozen bottles of the finest French Champagne. And you are right. This Ice is Rob “Ice” Field, “former Top Gun air-combat instructor and Blue Angels Squadron Leader.”

Or so he is described in a recent press release, released by Ice’s PR team, who go on to explain that Ice is in the house to “show organizations how they can apply strategies and techniques for top performance, resulting in winning cultures of innovation, success and sustainability.”

Now, if you’ve spent any time at all in the working world, you know what this means – the worst job in the universe is about to get a whole lot worse.

Exactly how the Iceman “uses his experience in the Navy’s elite groups to propel Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and sports teams to their next performance level” is something of a mystery to me, though I suppose I could read his new book, “Building a Culture to Win: Expanding the Frontier of Human Achievement.”

Frankly, doing all that reading feels like a daunting task, especially as the Top Gun in me stands committed to a particularly brutal regime of snoozes, pizzas, donuts and beer.

Fortunately, Ice’s PR team has gone the extra mile, performance-wise, and provided me with a tip sheet of “suggested interview questions.” In a surprising lack of initiative, the team did not provide a tip sheet with “suggested interview answers,” but that’s OK. I have a few minutes before my pre-lunch nap, and I can fill in the blanks myself.

Q: “Tell us about you and your company. How did you come up with the name CATSHOT Group? What does CATSHOT do?”

A: The purpose of the CATSHOT name is to strike terror in the hearts of the employees we will be training. If we can demoralize the staff before we even start the program, it makes it much easier to mold them into the mindless automatons that management prefers. Also, the caps lock key on our computer was broken.

Q: “In Part 1 of the book, you talk about preparing a team and the recruiting of individuals you call, Relentless Innovators. Why is that so important and what sets these individuals apart?”

A: Relentless innovators are innovators that innovate relentlessly. They just never stop. That means the rules are always changing, and nobody has any idea what is going on in the company. What sets these people apart is that everyone in the organization loathes them, which means the managers, who never innovate anything, start looking really good. Any consultant who can pull that off deserves the big bucks.

Q: “Part 3 of the book is perhaps the most important and it is inspirational to read. In it, you discuss the importance of creating an organizational mystique, something you call the performance multiplier effect. Tell us more about those?”

A: An organizational mystique is when the employees are completely mystified as to how top managers ever got their jobs, or what they do to justify their giant paychecks. Other than hire high-priced, high-flying consultants like me. It’s quite surprising, really. Most employees have some sense that they are working for idiots, but after a few Top Gun sessions with the CATSHOT Group, this suspicion is multiplied, leaving the staff is completely confused, demoralized and mystified. This makes them even easier to boss around.

Does Ice’s program work? In my job as a workplace humor columnist, what I like best about my experiences so far with Ice is that he not only did my job, by providing these questions, he also provided my opinion of his book. Apparently, I thought it was “important” and “inspirational.”

Since I’m always in danger of falling behind in my own endless quest to do almost nothing and get paid a whole lot for it, coming to these conclusions with so little effort definitely represents top performance for me.

So, here’s a big salute to Ice, Top Gun and CATSHOT.

Now buzz off.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com.

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