Memo from General Manager to Manager
( Jul - Aug, 2001 Volume 1 No.3 )

Protocol can be a two edged sword. Take the experience of one particular organization, the general manager of which is an ex-military man and a stickler for "proper channels". "Every piece of information or directive has to go through the proper channels," he tells staff daily. That means memos, memos, memos. A single memo for all staff isn't good enough. Each department must be informed of any development by its department head, who must in turn be informed by his superiors, and they by their superiors. The only problem is, all these memos provide plenty of room for people's own interpretation. Here is how a simple directive from the general manager passed down the line one day recently. Memo from General Manager to Manager: Today at 11 o'clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun appears behind the moon for two minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the car park. Staff should meet in the car park at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse, and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.

Memo from Manager to Head of Department: Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will disappear for two minutes. For a moderate cost, this will be made safe with goggles. The General Manager will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some background information. This is not something that can be seen every day. Memo from Head of Department to Floor Manager: The General Manager will today deliver a short speech to make the sun disappear for two minutes in the eclipse. This is something that cannot be seen every day, so staff will meet in the car park at ten or eleven. This will be safe, if you pay a moderate cost. Memo From Floor Manager to Supervisor: Ten or eleven staff are to go to the car park, where the General Manager will eclipse the sun for two minutes. This doesn't happen every day. It will be safe, but it will cost you. Memo from Supervisor to Staff: Some staff will go to the car park today to see the General Manager disappear at eleven under the sun. It is a pity this doesn't happen every day. For your own safety, you had better pay a small price.