back to article IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Marketing folk in IBM's offices in Austin, Texas, were treated to a visit by CEO Ginni Rometty this week – but not before they were handed a list of things not to do in her presence, including taking selfies or using the loo at the same time. Rometty, also Big Blue's president and chairman as well as chief exec, dropped by the …

  1. kain preacher Silver badge

    The boss is coming, quick act normal and busy.

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Choose one, I can't do both.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Then act sane . :)

    2. Duffaboy
      Trollface

      where i work

      this is achieved by walking around with a bit of paper in your hand.

      1. BillG Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: where i work

        I wonder if the Austin office has a lot of young employees that aren't aware of protocol when a C-level executive shows up.

        Reminds me of the Dilbert where Asok fantasizes: "I can meet the CEO in the rest room and give him my opinions! And he'll be so impressed with me, he'll promote me to Special Assistant To The CEO! That'll show my boss and co-workers how smart I really am!"

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: where i work

          And in many ways, this like a visit to the troops from some general. Clean up, spruce up, and beautify. So will she see the "real" Austin? Probably not, even if she is actually in the office for more than 10 minutes.

          They should probably just rent a building and put some actors in it for "official" visits. Fly the boss in and out. Repaint, move some desks, and fly the boss back in telling her it's an office in another city.

          1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

            Re: where i work

            Mark, when I was in the Army and still enlisted before I got my warrant to avoid that kind of bullshit, we were supposedly going to get a visit from either the INSCOM CG or maybe the CENTCOM CG or G2 (Don't recall which). I wound up being stuck on a detail to sweep the sand. In the middle of the Central Highlands which is a desert in the part of hell (some call it Afghanistan, same thing) I was in. I ran a broom over it for 10 minutes and then went and fucked off in my CHU for a couple hours til I needed to go to the SCIF and get on the knobs and get some actual work done. Supposed General never showed up. I got complimented for my attention to detail from some 22 year old 2LT that was supposedly my supervisor all the same.

            It's still better than the most sham detail I ever got put on, which was dress-right-dressing rocks at the NTC on Fort Irwin because some NASA bureaucrat from Houston was coming to Goldstone, which is on the Fort Irwin cantonment, and sometimes they'd tour the regimental facilities. It was like 130 degrees that day and myself and 15 other Soldiers are outside making the rocks look organized, however in the fuck you do that.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: where i work

            In the forces the reason for an inspection is to check everything is ready for action as it has to be clean and in working order at all times. The B******* factor was used to ensure troops knew every part of their equipment intimately and had pride in it's readiness which usually saves lives when the real SHTF.

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: where i work

          I'm surprised that no one has an LBK (Look Busy Kit).. It usually consists of a number of books, printouts, engineering drawings, and some scribbled notes on a pad of paper. Set it up each day, change the way the piles look, say every hour and managlement will think you're really I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine what should be on computer screen as that depends on where you work and your job.

          1. Brenda McViking

            Re: where i work

            During a graduate placement I used to browse websites such as el reg in a browser resized to exactly match the email preview window in outlook. I read a lot about various MIT hacker court cases and read several air accident investigation reports cover to cover.

            Never did work out what I was supposed to be doing in those 8 weeks. My manager up'd and left on day 2 saying he was going abroad and would be back soon, and I never saw him again. HR couldn't move me as I was on scheduled rotation without 'bringing the entire graduate system to a halt,' so I was only able to move on when my next manager called me up to make arrangments for the next placement - I asked if I could start immediately and he agreed.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: where i work

        Years ago I worked briefly for a mail order company as a file clerk.The job was ghastly, requiring little slips of paper cut from magazines and posted in to be filed tightly into plastic wallets that cut into our fingers. Most of the files were well out of order because after the first week the clerks would just give up trying. It was a temporary job, but I got fired before I could leave, as did everyone who was hired at the same time, we were taken into HR and fired on the spot..

        The difference between us was that I deserved to be fired. I'd spent most of the previous two weeks walking round the building holding a clipboard and pen and waving some sheets of paper.

    3. theExecutive

      The boss is <finallly> coming, quick act normal and busy.

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      fly casual

      1. ROC

        but do keep it zipped!

    5. bpfh
      Paris Hilton

      The boss is coming? I can carry on watching cat videos until she finishes then...

    6. davemcwish

      The boss is coming, quick act normal and busy.

    7. macjules Silver badge

      2 words: Potemkin Village

      1. Doctor Huh?

        IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

        2 words: Potemkin Village

        1 acronym: IBM

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ginni Rometty looks like a monster

      ...a beauty OP gone wrong.

      > please inform the manager... so we can fill your seat while the guests are in town.

      Haha. All faked

      > We are a fun and vibrant team of marketeers

      I am sure you are, lol. Watsooooon

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

    But tidy the place up, throw stuff that reminds her of how better IBM was before away, wear these clothes, don't go near her, don't touch stuff, don't be on holiday.

    "We are a fun and vibrant team of marketeers... but one step wrong and you're out."

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

      That's why true entrepreneurs show up unexpected and look at how things really work.

      CEOs now think they are some kind of kings and queens and have to be treated accordingly by serfs.

      They are building a "Potemkin office" - and what is worse, they aren't aware of it...

      1. James Anderson

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        Potempkin office --> great historical reference.

        However I think Ginny more resembles this lady - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Dowager_Cixi -

        She ruthlessly wielded absolute power over her disintegrating empire.

        1. Denarius Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          Cixi also tried to move the cumbersome ruins of the then Chinese government to a goal of constitutional monarchy. However, as much of Chinese history was written by egomaniacs worthy of any modern CEO, only more evil, her reputation was besmirched. As for IBM, pretending to fool the boss is a routine ritual of the PHB class in all companies.

        2. tim 13

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          Cheers, read that and the the wiki page on the Boxer Rebellion. Friday afternoon well wasted!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        @LDS; I suspect most of them *are* perfectly aware of what they're doing and are just going along with the bullshit expected of them.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          If they're aware of it and allow it to continue, then they are truly terrible at their jobs.

      3. IT Hack

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        LDS - That's why true entrepreneurs show up unexpected and look at how things really work.

        I wonder. I suspect you are right that many CEO's have a bit of a delusion going on when it comes to visits. Some not so much.

        I used to work in a tech support centre for US based storage appliance company a few years, ok a lot of years back. Our CEO was coming to visit the place (not only the support centre but also euro HQ). I was (don't hate me!) a tech support manager there and was working to the of shift with the guys and we started talking about the CEO and the visit. On of the team said the CEO would never come up to the centre to see them hard at work as the clock headed towards 7pm. The company made a big thing of being a team etc so thought bugger it.

        I went down to the reception area where the great and mighty had congregated and was lucky enough to catch the CEO sort of by himself at the buffet. Now not really having much truck with this kind of thing I asked him if he'd like to visit the tech centre. He readily agreed and I must say the look on the faces of the people in reception as I ascended like some tech support god (ok ok...maybe not but I enjoyed the look of horror/shock on my local compatriots assorted EVPs, SVPs and senior leadership very much). I engaged in some small talk on the way up, mainly about my team.

        So we reach our floor and I introduce the CEO to the team. Who then went around to each of my engineers shook hands and spent a good twenty minutes chatting with the guys. He then went around the rest of the centre and met the other teams also working late shift.

        Frankly if you cannot approach execs then there is a major problem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          So this bathroom policy thing... Are they trying to conceal any suggestion their leader is producing sh**

          1. Mpeler
            Pirate

            Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

            "So this bathroom policy thing... Are they trying to conceal any suggestion their leader is producing sh**"

            Nah. To avoid cried of "Gina has a wina"...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

            Hey, if I'm not allowed to go to the loo, I'm sure I can resolve the "filling an empty seat" issue quite well on my own...

        2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          "Frankly if you cannot approach execs then there is a major problem."

          In my experience the execs and HoDs that are any good are not only approachable, but will make active efforts to be so.

          It's all the middle manglement that are desperate to cut of the information flow either way, since they don't have the ability to do either the top job or work at the coal face.

          Email is nice for that. While not every suggestion I've made to a CEO has been taken up, they do seem to take the valid concerns on board and try and address them.

        3. usbac

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          @IT Hack

          Our CEO eats his self-packed lunch in the break room with the rest of the staff.

          Everyone shares the same tables, from VP's to forklift drivers in the warehouse. None of this elitist bullshit here!

        4. DuchessofDukeStreet

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          Back in the days when I worked in construction, we had a long and successful tradition of promoting internally so that the Chief Exec was invariably a man who'd started his career in a hard hat and muddy safety boots (it all went a bit wrong when we started hiring in folks in smart suits instead, but that's a different story....). Banksman on a major site saw someone he didn't recognise in civvies on the site and offered a "robust" challenge to the intruder to "suggest" that he vacate the area. There was no objection raised to this but as they walked together towards the exit gate they bumped into one of the senior site engineers, who went a bit pale and demanded to know what the banksman was doing manhandling the CEO...

          CEO's response was that he'd been walking around the site for 30 minutes and no-one had challenged him until the banksman, who he was very impressed by - but less impressed by the site manager's approach to security or public safety.

      4. jmch Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like. "

        "We expect 100% occupancy during the visit," he said. "If you sit in Building 906, 5th floor and will not be here due to vacation or work travel, please inform [the relevant manager]... so we can fill your seat while the guests are in town."

        DOES... NOT... COMPUTE:::

        1. ROC

          Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

          Yeah - what about the last few rounds of layoffs, or did they escape them somehow? Oh, right marketing is more essential than what IS marketed...

      5. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        "That's why true entrepreneurs show up unexpected and look at how things really work."

        Anyone who declares themselves to be an "entrepreneur", "thought leader" or "visionary" is not the real deal. If you have to claim a title, you are usually not worthy of it.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

      Got there before me.

      This is everything that is wrong with big companies. Treating the CEO like they are a god.

      If I had the confidence to run my own company and be the CEO of my own company, I would want people to feel they don't have to kiss arse around me.

      In the words of Alan Sugar

      "I Don't Like Liars, I Don't Like Cheats,I Don't Like Bullshitters,I Don't Like Scmoozers, I Don't Like Arse-Lickers"

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        "In the words of Alan Sugar"

        Is that the same Lord Sugar who once said "I'm not a difficult boss, some of the staff have been here eighteen months"?

        I read that shortly before being offered an interview at Amstrad, which I declined.

      2. Billius

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        "I Don't Like Arse-Lickers"

        He's missing out.

      3. GIRZiM

        Re: In the words of Alan Sugar

        Great self-promotion from the man himself - well, he's a salesman first and foremost.

        Now ask the people who (have) work(ed) for him what he's really like.

      4. NerryTutkins

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        Only of course lord sugar seems to love bullshitters and arse lickers, judging by the candidates he ends up with.

      5. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        This is everything that is wrong with big companies. Treating the CEO like they are a god.

        I don't know about treating CEOs as if they were gods, but I finally got to watch The Death of Stalin last weekend and for some reason this memo reminded me of that.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

        If I had the confidence to run my own company and be the CEO of my own company, I would want people to feel they don't have to kiss arse around me.

        Which is why I'm certain Ginny would *NEVER* appear on a show like "Undercover Boss" That would require her and the rest of her staff to actually give a shit what goes on in the company.

        "Act normally"? That would require me to slouch in my chair and loudly bitch to my co-workers what a shit company IBM is, and how I look forward to their eventual Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    3. DonM.

      Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

      In ancient Hawaii, a commoners life was forfeit if his shadow intersected with the Kings shadow.

      I wonder why I thought of that when reading this article .....

    4. ROC

      Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

      Damn! No OS/2 or "VM Bigot" stickers?

  3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Desks should be clear anyway,...

    ... we operated a clean desk policy during my time with IBM, and weren't really allowed much to be on show, no lists of phone numbers, no family photos, no personal items (I wouldn't get away with the cacti I have on my current desk.) I got dinged for having a floppy disk on my desk. I can't remember what it had on it now, but I'd lent it to someone, who had returned it, and put it on my desk when I wasn't there. We got audited, I got bollocked.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

      Looking at my desk this morning, I don't think I'd make it through my first week in a place with a "clean desk" policy.

      "A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind"

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        I've always maintained that my desk remained perfectly clean underneath precisely because of the stuff on top.

        :)

      2. m0rt Silver badge

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        Oh good. I'm positively brimming with mental health, then. I should tell my therapist(s).

      3. Duffaboy

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        A clean desk is a sure sign of no work been done

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. GIRZiM
            Devil

            Re: Guess who people go to when they want something done

            Guess which of you is (working) smarter.

          2. Ol' Grumpy
            Joke

            Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

            "Guess who people go to when they want something done."

            Him? ;-)

      4. src

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        If you have enough time to keep your desk clean you don't have enough work to do.

      5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        "A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind"

        An empty desk is the sign of an empty head.

      6. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        "A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind"

        It's also the sign of work not being done.

      7. spold Bronze badge

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        I worked at IBM Hursley Park many years ago - the (physical) security staff would do a walk-around every night through every office and desk - anything looking or marked confidential would be removed and you received a red sticker on your desk. Anything marked higher than confidential was an immediate investigated offence. Receive three+ red stickers in a year and your personal year-end evaluation (1-5) was docked a point.

        .

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

          Worked at a place where unsecured laptops were removed at any time of the day but no note was left; after the panic and wasted time obtaining authorisation from their manager and then retrieving it from security no-one did it twice.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

      Hmmm, I wonder how much time they allocate in their day to maintain the clean desk policy? An hour? Two? Three? All day? ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        At my site, they have someone go around checking twice a day to see if desks are in use and if they are 'clean.' As part of the Agile push we got asked why we failed to have a 'wall' of work up - responded with "Well we did but we aren't allowed to put anything up on walls or partitions." We were 'failed' on meeting Agile maturity level...

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

      When I worked at places that had "clean desk" policies, the "clean" referred to leaving company data unsecured on your desk, not to things like family photos.

      When I hear stories like this, I am always amazed that they can find people willing to work in such places.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        Well, the big thing round these here parts is 'Activity Based Workplaces'.

        Basically, if we assume only 70% of staff are in the office at any one time, we only provide 70% of desks, requiring 70% of the floorspace, saving us money in both office hardware and space rental. Then we give each person a notebook PC (which we generously allow them to lug home with them every evening) and tell them to 'find a space' when they come in to the office.

        This means every desk area is 100% anonymous, because nobody has a permanent desk.

        This has immediate and massive benefits to our staff because ... well, you know, having a team spread across many different floors (or even buildings) within the campus makes for more efficient... no, wait, you get to sit with people who do a completely different job to you, so you get to try to concentrate on some tricky coding while a salesdroid yells into his phone at the next 'workstation' and ... hang on, I'm not explaining the advantages very well here..

        Did I mention we save money on office equipment and space rental?

      2. Oengus Silver badge

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        I remember one job I was in where one manager (not my manager) berated me for failing to follow the company's clean desk policy. I ask him what on my desk violated the policy (it was piled high with reference manuals and program specs that I working on). He was unable to tell me so I quoted the clean desk policy word for word and pointed out that nothing on my desk violated the policy and if he had an issue he should take it up with my manager. My manager was in his office laughing his head off...

      3. Criggie

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        Getting paid is an *excellent* motivator.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

        When I hear stories like this, I am always amazed that they can find people willing to work in such places.

        Usually it's a mix of recent college graduates who haven't yet heard all the horror stories (or are figuring on picking up some useful experience points before moving on to better pastures) and living in an area where the particular black-company is the last remaining gig in town.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

      My 270 degree desk has Hubble videos playing when I don't have monitoring apps running.

      One monster tower above desk, three under, four laptops for poc and dev ops.

      SO many useless knicj knacks people keep asking to keep them.

      There are about twenty five funny or dank meme reprints (My connection is a little ruff, error human is dead mismatch, how about no bear etc..)

      When the VP visited he wasn't disgusted, I was told he was amazed a fifty year old was so up on tech and culture (I was out having a wine and rib lunch).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

      I particularly like this question.

      If a full and untidy desk is the reflection sign of a disorganised person, what is an empty desk the sign of?

    6. ROC

      Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

      Yep, same company, same policy ding a while before I got laid off so my work could be done by bozos in Brazil with no training in the product I had been supporting (non-IBM per Global Services customer requirements).

      When my crying manager told me of the layoff (figuring she would be next I think) on the phone from 2000 miles away, my reaction was "Free at last!" (nice layoff package 11 years ago, that is not offered any more helped...). Two tears after I took my skills back to my employer previous to IBM, I learned from that former boss (still at IBM) that the US-based customer was fed up with "communications" issues, and had the work brought back to the US to be supported by a guy I had mentored - ha!

      Anyway, IBM's downward spiral still seems to be descending per ongoing chronicling by "Robert X. Cringely" (actually Mark Stephens) - look for his writings on that slow motion suicide ( https://www.cringely.com/ )

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Desks should be clear anyway,...

      Reminds me of an Shanghai (China) office manager, who dictated to mark all objects on the desk with a yellow tape (phone, phone-cable, notebook, stapler). If anything was over the edge of the yellow markings you got a worse grading.

      I heard that's a common office thingy in China - as I has been told by the CEO, when I told him of my business trip to our Shanghai office.

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

    Given we're talking about IBM, I wouldn't be surprised if the visit is a prelude to there being a 0% occupancy shortly afterwards.

    Which, to be fair, might be a relief for everyone who has had to associate with a fun and vibrant team of marketeers for more than the duration of an executive outing.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      I'm thinking about an app to hire stand-ins to ensure 100% occupancy is such situations... maybe I can call it UberChair, AirC&D or Oooooocupancy....

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

        How about using #occupyaustin on the social media platform of your choice to make sure as many people show up as possible?

      2. Alistair Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

        /thinks a moment.... .hmmm.

        I'm thinking about an app to hire stand-ins to ensure 100% occupancy is such situations... maybe I can call it UberChair, AirC&D or Oookoookupancy....

        There, thats more like it.

    2. smudge Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      Any reasonably sentient visitor would ask why the office is 100% full, and why staff are not out visiting clients...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      Whereas I thought... Ginny - "We have so many people, lets get rid of some and make this months figures even better."

      Do we know if she came via helicopter?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

        I'm pretty sure the list of preclusions included helicoptering in front of her

      2. earl grey Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

        "Do we know if she came via helicopter?"

        Yes, she comes in the helicopter. Just like Barbarella.

    4. rmason Silver badge

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      @Warm Braw

      "This giant cost centre, here, on this chart.

      SHOW IT TO ME"

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Douglas Adams? Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      Did anybody else read "a fun and vibrant team of marketeers" in the voice of a Genuine People Personality?

      1. Mpeler
        Alien

        Re: Douglas Adams? We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

        Thank you for making a simple door very happy...

    6. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      If they really couldn't achieve 100% occupancy, then they could always hire a bunch of extras for a day, just to fill seats.

    7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      Where I work most of the professional staff work from home 2 or 3 days a week. When our CEO comes by we are expected to work our normal schedule. So if your desk is empty, no one cares.

    8. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      I think they call it “a pre-scrap overhaul”...

    9. AdamWill

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      isn't "a fun and vibrant team of marketeers" the fifth circle of hell?

    10. Mpeler
      Paris Hilton

      Re: We expect 100% occupancy during the visit

      "a fun and vibrant team of marketeers" who were the first against the wall when the revolution came.....

      And don't forget the telephone sanitizers, and the moodily-lit tubes of toothpaste.....

      Closest I could find to Fenchurch ---------------------------------------------^^^^

  5. Aaiieeee
    WTF?

    My employer does not have the power to tell me when I can or can not use the toilets; I will go when I so desire.

    So as the CEO swans around each site she only see a facade of perfection, a show put on by directors hoping to look good. Are CEO's generally so detacehed from reality they buy into this, or do they really just want to see their actual company and spend some time with the proles every so often and escape the hand wringing?

    1. Fred Dibnah

      Allegedly, the queen thinks that everywhere in the UK smells of fresh paint.

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Depends on the CEO of course. But do you really need to ask when it comes to Ginni "We need to cut costs but i fly in a helicopter" Rommety?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Well... she'll use the corporate jet first to get to Austin but her chopper will already be there (rental maybe since the other one is at "home") so she doesn't have associate with the hoi-palloi, airport security, etc. But it'll all be good because she works uninterrupted on the plane.. Right?

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I think it doesn't mean don't use the toilet, it means don't use the toilet as an excuse to meet the boss's boss and pitch your idea for Bluetooth underwear.

      Of course - they already know what the office looks like, because of the cameras. Toilets included, probably.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        She should be concerned for her safety if being pitched to by a male while doing her business.

    4. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      If you can leave your workstation to go to the toilet just when you feel like it then count yourselves lucky. The average helpdesk droidperson these days usually has to put their hand up and say please sir to the teamleader, kind of like primary school.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So as the CEO swans around each site she only see a facade of perfection, a show put on by directors hoping to look good.

      I suspect the strained faces will give the loo-break ban away anyway :).

  6. David Nash Silver badge

    Not the CEO

    Seems to me that it's not the CEO insisting on this but those one or two steps below.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not the CEO

      Probably. But if I were the CEO, that vibrant team would be soon in search of new jobs after something like that - for trying to deceive me about the real company status and eventual needs.

      But many CEOs instead exactly like those people who work hard to bootlick...

    2. Justicesays

      Re: Not the CEO

      The leeches already firmly attached to Gini's ass are trying to ensure a minimum separation is maintained so no-one else can attach themselves.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not the CEO

      I always assumed Ginni was to busy counting her money or sharpening her axe to worry about little things like this and managing the company...

  7. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

    I visited the San Jose site a couple of times in 1999 and that was the IBM I know.

    This is some corporate parasites.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

      Which on. San Teresa or Almaden ? Almaden is were they did HDD research and since burned to the ground .

    2. karlkarl

      Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

      This is exactly what happens when hordes of childish upper management takes over, they start putting even higher management up on pedestals and worshiping them as gods.

      How can anyone get any actual work done under this kind of condition?!

      It's sad. I want the old IBM back!

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

        This is exactly what happens when hordes of childish upper management takes over...

        Couldn't have stated it better myself. When form is valued over function, you can write off the company, there's no chance of saving it, because all the smart people are gone, leaving toadies and high school vice-principals in charge. These folks are good at two things: playing office politics and looking good when the big boss shows up.

        I'll bet Bell Labs and HP didn't have a "clean desk" policy...back when Real Engineering was being done there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

          Bell Labs - does that bring back some memories! I had a friend who worked there in the late 70s and he got me in for a quick visit one weekend. The place was amazing - lab after lab loaded with test equipment and who knows what else? Not a clean desk in sight! I was like a kid in a candy store. And then he took me into the anechoic chamber and shut the door. First time I ever heard my blood moving through my body. Totally freaky and yet so cool at the same time. I can only imagine how much fun it must have been working there, surrounded by brilliant people inventing cool stuff. Is there any place like this anymore?

          1. StheD

            Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

            I worked for a Western Electric research center back in Bell System days. We eventually became Bell Labs. No clean desk policy, but we were not immune from top exec craziness.

            Every year the top WECo execs would come to give us more money, and those of us on the first floor had to clear out of our offices so that they could use them as telephone booths.

            I didn't mind hiding personal pictures, but I had some system diagrams up on my wall, and I got told to remove them also.

            "Don't you want it to look like someone works here?"

            "No."

        2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          "IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time" -- too true: infested by parasites

          >I'll bet Bell Labs and HP didn't have a "clean desk" policy...back when Real Engineering was being done there.

          Dunno about Bell but re the ORIGINAL Hewlett-Packard:

          "Well... I finally had to quit [from Teledyne, after "marginal people bought the company"]. I just, you know, it was just a bunch of bozos around the company. I don’t know how to run a company; I can't run a company, but I can tell if it’s being run right. I worked for Hewlett Packard. David Packard would deliver the coffee; he’d come around the assembly line and bring us coffee. I mean you know, David Packard knew that the only thing that counted was the product; as long as the product was good, you just take care of the people that make your product good. That's all it takes and the profit will take care of itself, you know, I mean that's the way David Packard was"

          -- Ted Dabney, co-founder of Atari. "Oral History" interview

          http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/2012/10/102746459-05-01-acc.pdf

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

        I spent a lot of time at the SJ site at Cottle Road in the early 00s. They'd already sold it to HDS but kept some of the buildings. My abiding memory of the place was people sitting in coats and scarves in their offices, with bar fires on, while outside it was 40 degrees plus Celsius. Building 5 I think it was, and the A/C was killer.

        I had a look at it on Google maps the other day. It's mostly blocks of flats now, although part of it is still Western Digital.

      3. deive

        Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

        For all those who say they want the old IBM back, maybe you should read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_Holocaust and then be very careful what you wish for...

  8. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "Marketeers"

    I would presume falsifying appearances is acting normally for them

  9. Codysydney

    Sam Palmisano visited our offices once. They didn't send that email. Didn't really have to, wouldn't want to share a bio break with Sam

  10. wyatt

    Hope they swept the helipad.

    1. src

      The helipad will be covered with prone employees to cushion the landing of the helicopter.

  11. Salestard

    Smells like paint

    Grandfather was in the Guards for 34 years, and maintained the Queen and most of the upper echelons of the royal family must think the whole world smells of fresh paint.

    After they swallowed up SEMA, we had one of the head sheds from Schlumberger US do a state visit to the regional backwater I worked in. Most people had made themselves scarce, and the guys entourage almost outnumbered the grunts in the office.

    Veep arrives at my desk

    "Hello, and what do you do?" says the man with unnervingly white teeth, looking straight through me

    (cluster of Veeplickers behind fix me with baleful stares)

    "Err, I sell stuff, sir"

    "Well, great job, carry on" comes the reply, and he's already moving away before finishing the statement

    As they sweep onto the next poor sod, one Veeplicker murmurs in my ear "well handled, thanks"

    So inspiring.

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    There's so much meat on this!

    The "Potemkin village" aspect alluded to above suggests that the CEO is being kept well away from the way the company functions. Which implies deluded decision making.

    The distance kept between CEO and staff ( and tbh as far as "elevator pitches" are concerned I do have some sympathy) suggests something about the hierarchical nature of the organisation.

    The sprucing up ( deep cleaning etc) suggests that there are issues about the company's values and consistency of decision making - since why is it considered clean and tidy enough for staff, but not for CEOs?

    The fact that senior staff are so anxious about creating this artificial impression suggests that they lack confidence about the efficient running of the organisation.

    The very fact that staff are expected to act in a different manner when the big boss is on site sums up a significant issue in the company culture.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Terry 6

      Nail. Head. Hit.

      AC because - We're a (much) smaller company but it happens here too.

      Major client coming in? Oh we'll fix that issue with the upstairs toilets then, that staff have moaned about for 6 months.

      Someone from the investors coming in? We will make the cleaners actually CLEAN your desks rather than just pretend.

      Makes you feel really valued.

      "All this crap is acceptable for you staff, but we've got *important* people coming now."

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It would be fun if she suddenly decided that she wanted to see the rest of the building. But that will probably never happen.

    3. Steve 114

      MBWA

      Best bosses I've known just go wandering around when they feel like a break from the fug on the executive floor. As a necessary courtesy, they make a point of saying hello to the guy/girl in charge at each level while roaming, but don't want to be escorted.

  13. John70

    When the owners of my previous employment were due to visit, it was a case of clean up your work area and all the men had to be wearing shirts and ties.

    1. Locky Silver badge

      When the Big Boss came up from the smoke to the frozen northern outpost we ordered in a fish lunch and went to the local for the pub quiz

      He liked the cut of our jib

    2. MJI Silver badge

      One of my bosses is 4 desks up from me

      The other on site somewhere.

      The one in same office is the only person messier than me desk wise.

  14. Frenchie Lad

    Putin's Diktat Word fo Word

    Putin issued the same sort encouragement to his citizens for the World Cup. Luckily for IBMers the penalties for not adhering to this advice is merely the sack back in he Motherland its a labour camp.

    Mind you, as a male, I wouldn't mind running the risk of sacking with a selfie with Ginni in the ladies "powder" room. I'm sure I'd be able to sue for a monstrous amount for unfair dismissal.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A long time ago...

    An old boss of mine used to work in accounts for HP (computers, not sauce) and told me of the time he'd came back from holiday, into year-end, immediately after changes at the top.

    He'd ended up imposing some frank points of view upon some softly-spoken American chap, whilst kicking hell out of his shonky Apollo workstation. When his line manager came in he went white, and my ex-boss was sure he'd be fired there and then.

    Well, the very next day he got a very grateful email and a computer that didn't keep crashing. Their new VP of EMEA (or whatever) had been greatly enlightened by his chat about the faults in the company, when all anyone else had said was how wonderfully things were going.

    Prepping the landscape for The Big Boss is only there to protect the people in change of that building...

    AC because it's not my story, but my old boss'.

    1. jmch Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: A long time ago...

      "HP (computers, not sauce) "

      I love that you felt the need to clarify that!

  16. Allonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    I read a military autobiography once; the author was recounting his experience of being on an army base somewhere just prior to a royal visit.

    After a couple of days of everyone sweeping, painting, polishing etc he realised the royal family probably go their entire lives thinking the world smells of polish and new paint. Sounds like Ginni Rometty might do the same.

    Icon, because I wonder if they needed to polish their keyboards.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      After a couple of days of everyone sweeping, painting, polishing etc he realised the royal family probably go their entire lives thinking the world smells of polish and new paint.

      I doubt it. Prince Phillip was of course a professional Royal Navy officer before marrying the (at the time princess), and no doubt he participated in his fair share of cleaning up exercises for high ups, as one suspects Princess Elizabeth would have done during WW2 when she was serving as a mechanic.

      I'm sure that they will know full well what goes on for offical visits.

      1. Flicker

        Always thought of Prince Philip as a pretty decent bloke - he visted my school when I was doing O-Levels (GCSE in new money..) and toured the newly built metalwork room where a group of us were trying to build a hovercraft. Apart from me everyone was wearing immaculate, gleaming white labcoats but for various reasons mine was uniquely and disgustingly filthy, covered in a mixture of grit and grease. To the horror of the assembled, inanely grinning teachers he made a beeline straight for me and had a brief but surprisingly well-informed chat about why a donated iron-block, water-cooled Vauxhall Viva engine was probably a Very Bad Idea for a vehicle where light weight was an important design factor. He was dead right - the thing could never get off the ground, probably a good thing for the safety of all concerned!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To be fair to him, he spent a lot of his time fighting the Axis powers.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm thinking about the edge cases in this memo

    If I'm in the lift and Ginny gets it, does that constitute her approaching me? Can I talk then?

    I'm not allowed to make an elevator pitch and I'm not allowed to accost her in the toilets, but can I use the lift as a toilet? Can I talk to her while doing this?

    Just wondering

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm thinking about the edge cases in this memo

      If she got into a lift with me, I'd risk following through to ensure I got a fart out into the open.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: I'm thinking about the edge cases in this memo

        Risk?

  18. Joseph Haig

    When meeting a hippogriff^w^wGinni.

    "Yeh always wait fer the hippogriff ter make the firs' move. It's polite, see? Yeh walk towards him, and yeh bow, an' yeh wait. If he bows back, yeh're allowed to touch him. If he doesn' bow, then get away from him sharpish, 'cause those talons hurt."

  19. frank ly Silver badge

    They walk among us

    Many years ago, the company I worked for won the Queen's Award For Industry and we got a visit from Prince Phillip. The goods lift was painted and carpeted (!) and the corridors along which his party would walk were painted. Also, one of the cubicles in the toilets was clad from floor to ceiling in painted plywood so that there was no possibility of any part of him being seen by anyone if he should need to use it.

    When we looked out of the window and saw his car arrive, we realised that we were in the presence of a living god.

    1. Mr Dogshit Silver badge

      Re: They walk among us

      He is a living god. The Yaohnanen tribe, who inhabit the South Sea island of Tanna, believe Phil to be the son of a mountain spirit, a divine being.

      Man Belong Mrs Queen Baylis, Matthew (2013) Old Street Publishing. ISBN 978-190869964-0

  20. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Anybody would think the Galactic Emperor was visiitng, IBM bosses need to take chill pill and relax !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      She is the Galactic Empress.

      FTFY

  21. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    No elevator pitches?

    Does that mean BOFH is specifically prohibited from pitching people down elevator shafts, or am I reading too much into this?

    Regarding head restrictions, we had a manager send such a request via email only to get a Reply All from a guy saying "I will take care of my needs at a time of my choosing, only now every time I take a dump I will think of you."

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: No elevator pitches?

      @Chairman of the Bored,

      The BOFH would have to be able to remotely initiate some lift-shaft pushing, from India.

  22. Stork Bronze badge

    While at Maersk Data (long defunct, bought by IBM) the big cheese, Mr. Møller visited. I don't remember any particular instructions, but I did hear him muttering "gud ved hvor mange af dem der bestiller noget?" (~god only knows how many are actually doing anything?)

    He was really sharp. Well into his 80es, he told the designers at the shipyard their design wouldn't work - too big to get into Charleston!

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "gud ved hvor mange af dem der bestiller noget?"

      I worked for a company based in Houston that had board members from way back who were, basically, good old boys. One of them was shown around the shiny offices with the full occupancy and came upon the legal department, which was well known to be vastly bloated. His reported words were "What the Hell are all these people doing, surely we can't be being sued by that many people?"

      Shortly after it was discovered that it was actually more economic to engage lawyers on an as needed basis.

    2. Steve 114

      Mobile office

      At Bata Shoe in Essex, the Big Boss had the goods lift (US: 'elevator') rigged as his own office, and could appear on any floor at any time, looking through the steel concertina gates.

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Mobile office

        goods lift rigged as his own office

        We used to have a client in Bucklersbury House on Cannon Street in London. The lift from the loading bay there had a desk and chair for the security guard. It was ludicrous because there wasn't much space to start with - we had to negotiate with him to get his furniture out first before we could empty the office...

        It all looked very Terry Gilliam though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mobile office

          Did he have a brollie ?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF?!

    WTF does telling an entire IBM marketing department to "act normally" mean? Should they follow their own norms, and continue with their usual behaviour? Or should they pretend they share our values and fit in with the rest of us?

    1. horse of a different color

      Re: WTF?!

      If they're anything like the marketing teams I've worked with, 'acting normal' means they're not allowed to slip out of their human skins to reveal their true lizard forms, or eat live rodents in the presence of real humans. I also liked the comment about not using the toilet at the same time as the CEO - frankly adults should already have mastered this tricky bit of etiquette.

  24. Electric Panda

    Treating CEOs like royalty and tiptoeing around them is something that never sat well with me. Even the politicians prostrate themselves in deference to these people, so who really runs the show?

    They are just human beings doing a job, with a job description to meet and duties to discharge. They are no more or less a company employee than Jim in building maintenance or Sophie in HR.

    I can also relate to earlier comments about the CEO being disconnected and shielded from the realities of what is really happening on the ground, perhaps being fed nonsense by their inner circle. If this is the case, then surely the CEO is not effectively managing the company. I guess it really can be "lonely at the top" if basically all of your peers are yes people, or various people of similar rank and status. How can you possibly empathise or understand what's happening on the ground?

    They also said this about North Korea under the now-deceased Kim Jong Il. Senior officials just lied about stuff (and the lies percolated upwards) because they didn't want a bollocking for things being bad, despite it being bad purely because of Kim Jong Il. And he believed it because he knew no different.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "...or Sophie in HR"

      Shouldn't that be "Linda in HR"?

  25. 0laf Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I wonder how many businesses go down the shitter because the senior management is presented with nothing but a glowing unicorns and rainbows picture of everything.

    How can you take informed decisions based upon false information.

    Mind you if the CEO wanted a real picture they could just turn up on site happy to see the truth.

    We had the queen visit the little town I stayed in a few years ago. She would only have driven up the road I live on not even got out the car. Even so we still got new lamp posts ahead of schedule, all the road markings repainted and the verges manicured.

    The IMB thing sounds a bit like that

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "We had the queen visit the little town I stayed in a few years ago. She would only have driven up the road I live on not even got out the car. Even so we still got new lamp posts ahead of schedule, all the road markings repainted and the verges manicured."

      We found that having the Tour de France come through had a similar effect on road surfacing a few years ago. It's all going to pot(holes) again now.

      1. Fred Dibnah
        Go

        Watching Le Tour would be far more entertaining though.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        On roads and potholes

        On the other hand, IBM do give back to the community in their own unique way.

        The road outside their Cumberland Forest offices in Sydney gets resurfaced every year, and the lines repainted twice a year, come what may.

        Of course, this only extends about 300metres either side of the building, but they're not made of money!

  26. Sideways

    Leave a little present.

    I would get everyone in the office to have beans, sprouts and cabbage the night before. See who can let off the best air biscuit closest to her.

    Winner will be the person who gets to leave there grundle rumble in the lift seconds before she uses it.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Leave a little present.

      Bonus points for evacuating the entire building by the power of your air biscuits. :)

    2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Leave a little present.

      The comment about cabbage - reminds me of the time when we scored a lot of free cabbage leaves from our local shop.

      Fed it to our chickens who loved it - but the pong when they decided to do their No2 business was another matter entirely.

      Never did it again.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Banned from using the fifth floor?

    "The fifth floor was "completely off-limits" from June 21 to 27, with several conference rooms set to host the visit. "Do not enter these rooms even if it appears no one is in there or it is not being used," the email added."

    That's somewhat creepily reminiscent of the North Korean hotel with a fifth floor inaccessible to the public that turned out to be full of sinister offices, surveillance equipment and anti-American propaganda.

    (This is also believed to be related to the detention and death of American student Otto Warmbier and may explain why the "stealing a poster" justification for his detention- which I'd previously assumed was simply him pinching some ten-a-penny propaganda from a random wall somewhere (admittedly something likely to get your average North Korean in deep shit in such a barbaric and repressive country)- was treated as such a big deal.)

    Cheap attempts at humour aside, this is obviously just a coincidence and doesn't *really* say much about IBM, but it's still somewhat strange and unfortunate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Banned from using the fifth floor?

      I have a funny feeling that the "5th floor" at BT's "Ratsalad Park" was also off limits to rank-and-file employees and was essentially MoD property. It was apparently guarded.

      A friend who works there tells me said 5th floor is now general use, most of the really spooky stuff is long gone and BT's Security outfit operate a different floor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Banned from using the fifth floor?

        It occurred to me that "Ratsalad Park" was most likely a nickname or anagram (who said "You don't say?"), so I typed it into Google...

        Oddly, the official site of the, er, site was the first result!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Banned from using the fifth floor?

        Back when BT occupied half of that tower block at the corner of Euston Rd and Hampstead Rd (assuming it's still there, haven't been to London for a few years now) it was rumoured that there was one more floor than accounted for by the number of buttons in the lift.

        1. smudge Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Banned from using the fifth floor?

          Back when BT occupied half of that tower block at the corner of Euston Rd and Hampstead Rd (assuming it's still there, haven't been to London for a few years now) it was rumoured that there was one more floor than accounted for by the number of buttons in the lift.

          That's Euston Tower, and it's well known that MI5's local radio network was run from there. (Maybe still is - like you I haven't been that way for a while.) The 17th floor seems to be the one.

          MI5 themselves used to be just across the road, at the top of Gower Street. They shared a wall with the National Union of Mineworkers. I often used to wonder just how many bugs were embedded in that wall.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Banned from using the fifth floor?

        same goes for the BBC training centre at Wood Norton. The basement is just a basement, and there's absolutely nothing to see down there. It's not even worth you going down there. In fact, it's a sackable offence.

        The fact that, once a month, a diesel oil tanker would turn up, the driver would unscrew one of the ventilator shafts and proceed to pour diesel into it until the tanker was empty, was just one of those odd coincidinks

  28. Anonymal coward

    Happens everywhere but...

    I worked at a Mars unit for a while when the Brothers Grimm were still in charge. We did the whole 'paint everything' schtick, only to be well-chuffed when one of the Brothers emailed about the enormous waste of time and money that had occurred in getting the place painted just for them. Shortly afterwards, a company-wide policy on maintenance was well-received...

  29. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    "Should you need private meeting spaces, utilize the 4th floor. DO NOT TOUCH any items or objects you might see around the space, including signage, TVs, chairs, and tables."

    Now I'm really curious as to WHY.

    1. fnusnu

      Because they have been laid out JUST SO.

      Sheesh, have you never run a visit for VIPs?

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      The Alignment -

      Each object represent a group of sigils from a very, very old language. It was discovered that when certain sigils are arranged according to the arcane rules of higher-space mathematics, their presence at precisely aligned space-time nodes will overlay properties of another universe, where CEO's come from into "our" universe, making the CEO's feel more at home, a lot less hungry and provide integrity support for the alien personality matrix imprinted upon the fragile human flesh. not the much sturdier stuff of "home".

      Think of it as an incantation that creates a CEO-containment field.

  30. rmason Silver badge

    Why?

    Why any of them would want to get too close to the "downsizer-in-chief" is what I want to know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      I can think of many thousands of reasons.

  31. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    The 'other way' is even worse...

    Many years ago, we had a visit from some of the higher-ups normally based Oop Narth.

    It's a bit unnerving for a relatively young Desktop Support technician to be recognised by the 3rd most powerful man in the UK organisation with the words "Oh that was *you*, was it?"...

  32. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    And so it goes

    Change 'IBM' and insert CQC visit to xxxx NHS Trust

    Been there and done it.

    Interestingly for me on a my late visit to my usual clinical area (standing in for full time of absent colleague) I happened upon one bedspace with visitors and after I apologised/made excuses to nurse present for being late; said visitors introduced themselves as CQC inspectors. After short question and frank answer exchange I left to finish my day (I normally had daily workload that NHS regs said were 2.7 wte per day)

    CQC visited my directorate head and clinical manager and within 6 weeks trust had advertised;interviewed and selected person for 2nd post (normally a 6mo process)

    Perhaps CEO visits should always without entourage to get a true picture

  33. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Most effective flag officer I ever met...

    ...would show up in business casual, have his uniformed staff pin down the O5's, O6's, public affairs droids, strap hangers, sycophants, sociopaths, etc in 'urgent' sidebar meetings and somehow escape from the handlers. He would then walk the halls, buy lunches, help with labor... whatever people seemed to need he would just fall into doing. He would treat everyone he met with respect, and just listen. People would talk to him, and he would act on a somewhat clearer picture than possible from the wheelbarrow loads of crap that had been prepared

    Sadly leaders like that are an endangered species.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold on a second no wonder IBM are a mess

    They have one person acting as President, Chief exec AND chairman?

    What sort of governance structure is this? Does she have a stick with a hand attached so she can pat her own back too each time she makes a decision?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hold on a second no wonder IBM are a mess

      There's a stick alright, but instead of a hand it just goes "BZZZZZZ" and isn't a cattle prod. Still puts a smile on her face though.

      Rumor has it it's powered by the old guard spinning in their graves.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hold on a second no wonder IBM are a mess

      I'm always being told women can multi-task and men can't.

  35. spold Bronze badge

    Act normally

    ..like go around and fire some people.

  36. spold Bronze badge

    Don't share the bathroom

    She might take the mask off and reveal her inner lizard :-)

    (have a sense of humour before you donwvote me!)

  37. Duffaboy
    Joke

    Quick everyone

    Remove the pictures of meg whitman

  38. src

    Pathetic

    Pathetic. They should grow up.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't forget to hide all the Dell Pc's

    that they use for their desktops

  40. PNGuinn Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Bull

    I remember reading a book some time ago about the British Military in India during the war.

    I recall an incident one camp, ISTR it was an RAF base. Now the Raf have never been very good at bull, and the base was happily functioning as well as could be expected under bureaucratic constraints.

    Then one of the big cheeses was scheduled to visit. Much wasted effort on spit and polish, importing some coal to whitewash etc.

    Come the great day, visitor expected at 2.30 pm sharp.

    At 2.00 pm, ancient Indian gentleman driving even more ancient bullock cart loaded to the brim with yet more ancient manure arrives at the main gate and will NOT move.

    Eventually he manages to communicate in broken English that he is responding to a telephoned order from the base ".... cartload of bullshi* to be delivered to the main entrance at 2.00 pm SHARP".

    It was not recorded what happened next.

    >> And the flies, remember the flies. We need a Bullshi* icon.

  41. Frank Bitterlich
    Alien

    Fun and vibrant team...

    ... of marketeers? Or rather "[...] a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes."

    Sounds much like the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation marketing dept. to me.

    "Just leave the PJs at home, please!" – So I guess Casual Friday is cancelled, then?

  42. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    My favorite bit is the seat-filling stand-in.

    With a bit of retooling one might use this technique to avoid charging against accrued leave.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      My favorite bit is the seat-filling stand-in.

      Presumably they get them from the same agency that supplies the groups of attractive young people starring intently at a pie chart in all website stock photos

  43. Snarf Junky

    Wankers

    We used to get pretty much the same communication when any big boss was coming for a 'surprise visit'. They even asked us to submit questions once that we might like to ask them so they could be approved and then the centre leader would try and pretend it was completely off the cuff. I always wanted to turn up in my y-fronts and vomit on their shoes just to see the reaction.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The tale of my pretend Asian family and the HR VP visit

    I worked in a company where the new VP of HR was scheduled to visit our office. The day before, she was visiting another office, and word got back that she wasn't impressed with the place. Our local HR sent out panicked instructions that we were to have nothing personal on our desks, specifically including pictures of family. While I didn't have any such things, and everyone else busily cleared their desks, I definitely Googled "family picture", printed out the first high resolution one, and framed it. It happened to be an Asian family, and I'm not Asian, but I didn't think anything of it.

    The next day, I saw the local HR Director approaching my desk with an Asian lady I didn't recognise, and I suddenly realised who it was. I just managed to slam the picture into my desk drawer before she was introduced to me.

    Despite the fact that I was the most senior Web Developer in the European region at the time, I was introduced as the offices' resident poster maker for the Sports And Social club.

    It later turned out that she actually had no objection to family photos or personal stuff on desks, but our local idiot HR bods had totally misinterpreted and over-reacted to some innocent remark she made.

  45. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "This means you should wear what you always wear – jeans, sport coat, polo, whatever floats your boat."

    If there weren't any T-shirts with ...interesting...slogans it must have been an opportunity wasted: IBM Meant Business or How Have The Mighty Fallen would have been suitable examples.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Underpants

    Trust they were also asked to wear underpants on that day.

    http://nickelodeon.wikia.com/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Underpants-On-His-Head_Man

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No wonder they're in such trouble if they have someone who can waste their time on this crap.

  48. MOV r0,r0

    "will not be here due to [...] work travel" LUL

  49. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    Be Prepared

    All staff members who have medical conditions that prevent genuflection please have written proof available upon request.......

  50. elawyn
    Pint

    Fun for days

    I used to work for an information services division of General Electric in the UK (the US GE tho) at a field office. I was always the first to arrive. I'd just got a pot of coffee going when the doorbell rang. It was the new Managing Director there fore a meeting with the senior sales staff (None of whom would arrive for at least another hour).I sat him in the reception area, poured him a coffee and told him I could not let him into the main office since he did not have an ID badge (apparently it was his first week). Ran into him at head office a month later at some 'all hands' meeting and ended up being invited to come have a few lunchtime pints with him across the street. He was VERY appreciative of hearing the truth from the folks that actually did the work.

  51. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    It's nice to be royalty...

    "Do not interact with Ginni or the group unless they approach you first. This means no selfies, no bathroom run-ins, elevator pitches, or water fountain soirees. If you happen to be in the same area, keep it professional and courteous," the email stated.

    This stinks of, the surfs must not approach the royals...else they well be beheaded...,or some such...

  52. JohnFen Silver badge

    Wow

    Are IBM employees really so bad-mannered that they require such condescension? That must be a terrible place to work.

  53. This post has been deleted by its author

  54. dcolpitts

    HPE's CEO Antonio Neri doesn't appear to issues like this...

    Really? If that is the case, last week at HPE Discover, I think we violated a whole bunch of IBM CEO interaction rules when Antonio Neri was around. Good thing he has no rules about taking selfies with partners, staff, and even cardboard cutouts of he staff that couldn't be in attendance...

    https://twitter.com/HPE_Discover/status/1009913883631419392

    https://twitter.com/DeanColpitts/status/1009918651061768192

    You'd think a CEO would want to hear from their staff to determine just how well things are going, instead of be insulated from them by a bunch of kissasses and brownnosers. No wonder IBM people are so miserable...

    dcc

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've encountered two types of CEO

    Those who visit and walk around the office all by themselves, chatting to people about their jobs. And those who get escorted. To be fair to the people doing the escorting, I think they were doing so to insulate rank and file for good reason. IBM sounds like an absolutely ghastly company to work for.

  56. Russell Chapman Esq.

    Another indication of....

    IBM going into a death spiral. In 5 years, IBM as we know it, will not exist

    1. Nolveys Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Another indication of....

      In 5 years, IBM as we know it, will not exist

      This has been true since the early 2000s at least.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another indication of....

      IBM going into a death spiral. In 5 years, IBM as we know it, will not exist

      It will be renamed 國際商業機器

  57. Terry 6 Silver badge

    " high school vice-principals in charge. These folks are good at two things: playing office politics and looking good when the big boss shows up".

    Disagree! The ones that are good at it quickly move on to become principles/head teachers. The ones that are good at teaching are the ones that get stuck as deputies.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can anyone tell the difference

    between a normal cup cake and a laxative infused one? If not I think an all night baking session is on order.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "This means you should wear what you always wear"

    Reminds me of a couple of instances from my past.

    First was a story of when INMOS was bought by ThornEMI there was a demo to be done at Thorn's HQ and the INMOS person to do it asked what he should wear - he was told to come in normal work clothes .... apparently turned out a rainbow stripe sweater was a new experience for staff at Thorn HQ!

    Then a few years later we had a meeting with "important people" from HP who were presenting the architecture of a processor we might colaborate on and we were all instructured to wear suits. So we all turned up to meeting room in suits and (while admitedly a couple of senior HP management came in jackets and ties) we waited for the HP architrects to arrive (their flight was delayed) ... and they were, not unexpectedly, all wearing jeans and t-shirts!

    1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

      East/West coast culture

      My dad worked for Westinghouse at the time it was purchased by Northrop Grumman. His team flew to the west coast to meet with new collaborators, all of his team wearing normal east coast business attire: suits. Uncomfortable meeting when half the group was suited and the rest pretty much ready to surf.

      Next meeting was is DC and the left coasties all looked uncomfortable in their new, never used, off-the-rack suits and the easterners kept looking down at their new polos because it felt weird to wear ID badges with no tie.

      Finally someone said "Ok, lets meet in the middle... khakis and polos or button down, no tie unless meeting with a customer..."

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I knew someone who worked in a UK IBM office many years ago when the company rule was all visitors from other parts of IBM (irrespective of their seniority) swapped they id badge for a local internal visitors badge. However, due to a cock-up in the configuration of the security setup there was a staircase between floors in the office which the visitors badge would allow visitoris to enter ... but not exit. So, I was told it was not unusual for local employees (who didn't have this problem) to opem the door to the staircase to find some high ranking visitor who assumed they were allowed through any door in any IBM office but had been stuck behind an non-opemign door for some time!

  61. billdehaan
    Meh

    What a difference a few generations makes

    One of the reasons that IBM became the behemoth it did was because of the actions of the founder, Thomas J. Watson.

    When most members of the company leadership left for the day, they'd take the elevator down to the front entrance, and leave the building, never encountering any of the worker bees. In contrast, when Thomas left, he'd go down the staircase, take his tie off, and wander through the shop floor. Inevitably, he'd strike up a conversation with some floor worker at a lathe or somesuch. Often, the worker wouldn't even know who Thomas was, other than he had a suit. And so he'd be honest with him about what was going on, how likely they were to make the deadlines, and the problems that they were encountering.

    Later, when hearing the status reports from other execs, Watson took note of what execs were telling him, compared to what the actual workers had told him. He learned which execs were giving accurate pictures of their projects, and which ones were sugar coating things.

    The key thing was that Watson wanted to know what his workers thought, not what their directors thought their vice presidents thought their managers thought their group leaders thought the worker thought. He wanted to know what was going on, and so he talked to his workers directly, and honestly.

    The idea of treating the CEO like a visiting dignitary, and dictating behaviour before his or her arrival, is the complete opposite of that mindset. The CEO is not a customer, he/she is not someone that you are trying to impress, the CEO is someone who should be visiting to become informed about the state of the company.

    I'm not sure what's worse. The idea that the company is not even hiding the fact that they are trying to impress the CEO, or the fact that CEO takes it as a given.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: What a difference a few generations makes

      "Hands on management" is something that actually works. Lately, for the last 20 years or so, management wants not get near the workers much less look at them. This seems to be spreading yet a number of successful companies still do the owner/president walk about. Disconnect from the workers is usually fatal to the company.

      I worked for company run by the owner (two in fact). They were great places to work until the owner died and "junior" took over. Both went down the toilet pretty fast because "junior" couldn't be bothered to talk to the troops and find out what was really going on. Morale quickly died and talented people left to find a place where they were appreciated and listened to.

      1. billdehaan

        Re: What a difference a few generations makes

        "Hands on management" is something that actually works.

        Indeed. There's something to be said for seeing, rather than hearing what's actually going on.

        I worked at a company where the technical disconnect was fairly massive. Engineers were equipped with Core Duo PCs with 2GB of memory (and this was in 2015), which were additionally clogged with IT mandated firewall/antivirus/antipiracy/encryption, all running at maximum priority, while execs had i7 laptops bursting with 32GB of memory and ultrafast SSDs, with all processes exquisitely tuned.

        In other words, the people who needed fast computers for their work had machines that were running at a tenth the speed of the executive's machines, which were basically there to read emails and see Powerpoints.

        It was always amusing seeing executives watching a presentation, and asking "is there something wrong with your computer? It seems so... slow", only to be told that this was perfectly normal, and people had been screaming about the productivity impact of using garbage equipment for development for years, only to fall on deaf ears.

        If any of the management team are hands on, while these sorts of things can still happen, they don't stay for decades without being noticed.

  62. Scott Marshall
    Alert

    All hands on deck and bums on seats

    "... and will not be here due to vacation or work travel, please inform [the relevant manager]... so we can fill your seat while the guests are in town."

    I envisage a new service: BoSaaS (Bums on Seats as a Service).

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Marketing wankers

    This is a prime reason why companies (like IBM) have issues - idiots hiding the truth regarding what the company is actually like from the CEO and other execs.

    I hope somebody forward the email to the CEO so she could evaluate it.

  64. vistisen

    This I why I love working where I do, We may only be a small company with about 300 employees and three offices, but when the director comes to our office. He finds an empty desk if there is one and then gets teased as to whether he is younger/older, small/ larger then the person who normally works there and about the fact that he could in no way do their job.

  65. This post has been deleted by its author

  66. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    FAIL

    I guess they are dressing up hobos or something?

    "If you sit in Building 906, 5th floor and will not be here due to vacation or work travel, please inform [the relevant manager]... so we can fill your seat while the guests are in town."

    (/sarcasm) Yeah, I wouldn't expect many people to be on vay-cay during the last week of June, which is after school ends and your kids are free to travel and your extended family can gather, and when the weather is nice. (/sarcasm off)

    And who the hell are they finding to fill your seat if you are out of town? Droids from the basement, who normally don't even get to clean a window, much less look out of one?

    I can understand not wanting to see a half-empty workspace, but does IBM's marketing vision involve LITERALLY swapping deckchairs on the Titanic??

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: I guess they are dressing up hobos or something?

      No need for living persons - just order a job lot of mannequins of all shapes, sizes and colors/colours and dress them up in appropriate/varied attire - Ginny probably won't notice/won't be allowed to notice as she is shepherded around the place by her praetorian guard.

      icon: I presume these marketing wonks know that IBM are in the IT business, right?

  67. Robin Saunter

    Ginny is coming. Look busy.

    "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

  68. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Flame

    Full seats..

    After all the layoffs at IBM, maybe the CEO doesn't want to see every seat full. Perhaps it will just lead to another round of layoffs.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good boss.

    A long time ago, my top boss managed many sites and would drop in unannounced so no-one knew where or when she might turn up. We were having a tea break and we jumped up to start looking busy, her comment was to sit down if everything is running correctly and to take as long as we like having our tea. We didn't get to finish our tea as we all found something that needed doing. She didn't need to say any more.

  70. Nick London

    Gosh Takes me back.

    As a young structural engineer in late 70s I spent three or four weeks at IBM Cosham preparing the adjacent site so it looked clean and neat for a visit of the IBM board due to hold a meeting at Cosham.

    Aggregate was laid for forthcoming construction, but brought forward to make the site neat and tidy. IBM being a single status company coffee was free on the day of the visit, as the board who ate lunch in the canteen might not have British coins, and if it was free for them.....

    A particular confusion was that the head of IBM was due to meet the artist whose large painting was on display in the office and both were called R Nixon. No not that one.

    The design team played a cricket match against IBM's property department during the time I was on site, but that was in effect the IBM team with a few ringers so we were thrashed. I went in 11 th man was, I think, third highest scorer, 2 runs, and carried my bat.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Gosh Takes me back.

      @Nick London

      IBM Cosham - I presume North Harbour? Or there was also Northern Road.

      IBM Northern Road building is now occupied by HMRC

      And whilst IBM have a small presence in North Harbour, the site is now a business park...

      IBM North Harbour/Lakeside North Harbour

      1. spold Bronze badge

        Re: Gosh Takes me back.

        There were various really small IBM locations in the area - IBM Eastleigh (1) - small education facility, IBM Eastleigh (2) - a lock up location hosting old desks and stuff but also the boat and equipment of the IBM Diving Club, IBM Winchester (Customer demo and some research types) - not Hursley - this one was downtown. IBM Southampton (Operations and Hosting Centre) - and of course North Harbour (UK HQ) and Hursley Park (Software Development Lab - which sustained 3 village pubs and the the IBM Club bar, the butcher who would hang rabbits out on a rack until you determined they were appropriately hung, and the baker who did wonderful Lardy Cakes (look it up and make one).

  71. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    "The leadership had lost connection with the real world"

    Coincidence? This article was published yesterday...

    In August 2008 Gary Hoffman walked into the offices of Northern Rock in Newcastle.

    He had been appointed chief executive of the mortgage lender which had been taken over by the government earlier in the year after almost collapsing.

    One of his first impressions was the "palatial" offices and the even more luxurious headquarters that were under construction.

    "The leadership had lost connection with the real world," Mr Hoffman says.

    "They were in large offices, separate from their colleagues. It was physically difficult for their colleagues to speak to them."

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43374755

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The leadership had lost connection with the real world"

      Someone said that before looking at a company he would look at the car park, expensive cars meant someone was being overpaid.

  72. Twanky

    Parko: 'No ...elevator pitches...'

    Drone: 'I'm sorry to say sir that despite your warning a number of staff have been trying to talk to Ms Rometty in the elevator'.

    Parko: 'How dare they? I want their names and badge numbers. I'll fire the bastards.'

    Drone: 'Er. There's rather a lot of them...'

    Parko: 'OK. Gimme a list of who didn't defy the order. I'll give them an extra bonus.'

    Drone: 'That probably won't cost a lot sir'

    Parko: 'Ah... OK. Gimme a list of everyone who didn't try to pitch to her in the elevator. They're fired.'

  73. Twanky

    I get the impression that Mr Parko is very concerned about the hierarchy within the company.

    So why did he reach down through multiple layers of management to micro-manage the 'team' at Austin? In strongly hierarchical organisations the obvious approach is to say the the next layer down 'see to it that <whatever you want> is done.'. They then hand on the instruction in their own way to their minions. By committing the instruction to a semi-permanent medium like e-mail he can't even repudiate it later.

    Prat.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Completely Misrepresents....

    I'm a proud IBMer in a role that intersects with the C-Suite. I've been around our leaders with some frequency across multiple occasions. I've seen Ginni personally meet and greet thousands of our IBM colleagues at lab events, town halls and recognition events. On one memorable occasion I watched her stand for four hours meeting and thanking award winning IBMers and their guests. She is by far one of the most authentic and engaging senior leaders I've ever seen. This seems to be simply an unfortunate event whereby a manager made an error in judgement in an attempt to show their community space in the best possible light.

    1. bemused obsever

      Re: Completely Misrepresents....

      Clearly written by someone going somewhere in a company that isn't going anywhere...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Completely Misrepresents....

      When so many workers are getting "resource actioned", no wonder the manager is paranoid. The trend has been If you aren't young and/or live in a third world country, IBM may not be the place for you.

      Many mobsters were family centered too, but you know, it's a business.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumably don't offer her a free bank account with TSB either.

  76. EJ

    Any CEO who prefers this fantasy to the reality of the workplace is doomed to failure. Think she's aware of this special handling?

  77. Dallasite

    Can you people at least *act* like you're normal for a while?

  78. Florida1920 Silver badge

    So we can fill your seat

    What are they going to do, shanghai people off the street?

  79. CPU

    When I worked for M$, BillG came to visit (waaaay back), and guess what? He stopped for chats, photos and joshing. Good to see BigBlue still has a bug up its derrière- some things never change.

  80. HMcG

    Mushroom CEO's

    I worked for a few years for an electronics manufacturer. The CEO was coming for an official visit, and we got much the same BS from the muddle management ahead of the visit: there was to be a big effort to present a management image of efficiency. Cleared desks, ongoing repairs to be hidden, everybody in smart dress etc etc.

    CEO turned up in casual dress 2 days before the official date. Had the receptionist let him in unannounced. He wandered thought to the production floor and just started chatting to the techs. It was a couple of hours before the management even found out he was in the building.

    Most effective way of really assessing what the local managers were trying to conceal from the big cheeses. He knew that any 'surprise' visit would leak out, so he his surprise visit with an official visit announcement.

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