How to Run Your Company

So, you’re in charge of a company? Looking to grow? Expand into new areas? Motivate your workforce? Add shareholder value? Turn it into a multi-dimensional avatar of GOD’S MIND? Here are twenty three new ideas from the Belly Up! team…

  1. Inform all staff by email that a health inspector is coming to inspect the building and the staff. Tell them that their hair will be inspected for nits and lice and that they should all wear a flat side-parting that day to facilitate the process.
  2. Take photos of all the staff and put them up on a noticeboard (‘our people‘). Insert the photo of a 35 year old Indian who nobody has ever met. What you’re aiming for, a few weeks down the line, is the comment ‘who is that guy?’
  3. Put some ‘motivational’ quotes on the notice board by Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt etc, but change them with things your racist, homophobic grandmother used to say.
  4. Leave a King Edward potato by the main gate every other Thursday morning.
  5. When talking about yourself to colleagues don’t point to your chest area but instead point to your elbow. If referring to others, point to their elbow. Discretely ask your senior managers to do the same.
  6. Play Delia Derbyshire over the company PA. All the time.
  7. Arrange a meeting with a key worker and tell them their walk perfectly matches the company ethos. Tell them they have been selected to represent the company to train new recruits how to walk the right way. Tell them to produce a PowerPoint presentation to be included in the training sessions. Be most insistent and encouraging.
  8. Send an email banning the use of the words ‘You’ (and all proper nouns) ‘Today’ ‘From’ and ‘11.00 am’ in emails or conversations that take place inside the building.
  9. One weekend change every object (all furniture, stationary, IT, plants, etc) in the building for a precise replica that is 5% smaller. A few weekends later do the same, but 7% larger. Keep making ‘subtle yet massive’ changes like this — repaint the whole place one microscopic shade darker, replace lights five watts brighter, etc — always just below the threshold of awareness.
  10. At exactly 3:30pm on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, pretend to be in a highly elastic bubble, floating through space.
  11. Build a sauna, hire Turks to run it.
  12. Also, build lots of secret passages in the building. Start leaving clues around that guide your workers to them. Aim to create a network of secret rooms containing special gifts. Make sure this is never explicitly spoken of.
  13. Also build a flying fox from the top floor, across the ring-road, over the railway tracks and down to the turf section of the garden centre.
  14. When a colleague gives you a specific piece of information ask them to be a little more vague. When they do so, ask them to be vaguer still. Keep going. They will be forced to convert ‘red’ into a ‘colour’; ‘socks’ into ‘item of clothing’; ‘one’ into ‘under 30’ then into ‘under a 1000’; ‘Husband’ into ‘a relative’ then into ‘a person’ then into ‘a living thing’ and so on. What you’re looking for is sentences like ‘I’m going to buy under 1000 items of clothing for a carbon-based life-form.’
  15. New company rule: All meetings from now on must be conducted via puppets. Buy high quality hand-puppets for staff and get some puppet-artists in for intensive training.
  16. Order a toggenberg goat for the sales director.
  17. Stick a very small photo of a black and decker workbench in diverse and unexpected places. Keep doing it until it can’t be ignored and a meeting is called.
  18. Train wild birds of prey to occasionally enter the work space. Eagles, Kestrels, Buzzards, Owls.
  19. Replace ‘Dress Down Friday’ with ‘Quote Milton Thursday’—all employees must slip quotes from the devil’s speeches from Paradise Lost into their chat, or you’ll fire them. Cash bonuses for epic (but not overly demonstrative) delivery.
  20. Then, a bit later, replace ‘Quote Milton Thursday’ with ‘Hunter-Gatherer Wednesday’. All staff to wear loin-cloths, ingest peyote, worship the great Cham, dance ecstatically until 5:30 then clock out and go home as normal.
  21. Begin firing people who are frightened and confused by all this. Begin hiring people with elaborate tests of their improvisational skills and / or based on the lambent warmth of their eyes.
  22. Tell everyone that exactly one year from now you will hand the entire company over to the staff and give them collective power over the allocation of surplus — but only as long as, by that time, they’ve all learnt to play an instrument and can perform six classic ska tracks together to a high standard. Give staff two days off a week, paid, with free lessons. Construct a huge stage in readiness for the concert, build the event up (start giving staff more paid days off to practice), invite friends, etc. Fit everyone out in outrageous spangly seventies costumes. More build up. Then, on the evening of the concert, just before they are about to play, tell them that you’re going to give the company to them anyway, no matter how well they play.
  23. Then kick it.


(This post was written with Mr. William Barker. who will be turning up in a few guest posts over the year. All of which will have a snazzy blue title)