Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns
June 9, 2008
Have You Heard the
The CEO of my client was troubled. “I’m troubled,” he said. That’s how I
seems there was a spate of rumors circulating through the company. One
had the company up for sale. One had massive layoffs in the offing. Yet
another suggested a merger with a long-time competitor.
The buzz in the hallways was unmistakable.
“D.F., we can’t have these rumors spreading like wildfire throughout the
human infrastructure of this company,” said the CEO. “It will undercut
the foundation of everything we’ve built and create an environment in
which it will be impossible for us to steer our company in the strategic
direction we’ve embraced.”
heard a rumor that the boss likes to mix lame metaphors. I can’t confirm
rumors are going around. You’re worried that too many people are hearing
them. You don’t want that. So what would you do? You wouldn’t call a
massive assembly would you? On the off-chance that someone hadn’t heard
course you would!
The employees filed into the company cafeteria. There were about 150 of
them, which makes for a full 75 percent of the company. Why not invite
the other 25 percent?
“Someone has to get some work done, and besides, we don’t want to
inadvertently spread the rumors.”
No. You wouldn’t want to do that.
Before I tell you what happened at the meeting, I have to say at this
point that I was disappointed by the fact that all these rumors were
spreading, and I hadn’t started them. There is nothing more hilarious
than planting a completely absurd rumor and seeing it take root because
people will believe absolutely anything.
One time I started a rumor within another company that the CEO was going
to demote himself to a shipping clerk position, resulting in a pay cut
of something like 85 percent. Dopes. People are so gullible. But I
digress . . .
would like to address the various rumors that have been circulating
within the company,” the CEO announced. “Rumors are like cancer cells
spreading through the walls of our corporate gray matter!”
Everyone looked at each other with that
“First, let me address the rumor that the company is for sale,” he said.
heard that rumor!” said Spengler.
“You did?” said Jackson. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Everyone started buzzing. The CEO called out: “People! People!”
Quarters raised her hand. “Sir, have you heard the rumor that OSHA is
about to shut us down for safety violations?”
“No!” the CEO said. “I haven’t heard anything about that!”
Smithson stood up. “We’re about to be shut down and our CEO doesn’t even
know about it?”
Well, by the time the rumor control meeting was over, approximately 17
new rumors had taken root in the company, but on the plus side, I don’t
think anyone really remembered the original three. I think Spengler and
Jackson are fighting – at least that’s the rumor I heard – but at least
Quarters has inspired everyone to check their work spaces for safety
for our CEO, he pronounced himself satisfied and his strategic goals
met. Then I saw him checking the supply of FedEx envelopes and asking
someone to explain exactly how they’re used.
swear. I did!
© 2008 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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