A Sense of Urgency – Gary Sheard
Gary’s guest post is taken from Chapter 9 of his debut release: Awful Management
Imagine “Awful Management” applied to a Formula 1 racing team!
It’s Monaco, and the drivers have been out testing their cars, gliding them along the smooth tarmac of the tightly winding compact streets. Stands, pavements, balconies, and boats are full to bursting with excited fans. They cheer and wave as the cars flick past. The hot Mediterranean sun is gently roasting the skins of the highly charged masses. Sunglasses, hats and team colours are the order of the day.
After the allotted half-hour of morning testing, the cars wind their way back into the pits. There they sit, receiving final checks before the 3.00 p.m. start. The crowds tuck into their lunchtime treats. The Glitterati promenade or display themselves from their yachts, resting on the silvery waters of the packed harbour. Many of the “yacht-less” are perched on the side of the hill, which overlooks this exotic mix of wealth, engineering, danger, gastronomy, gambling, intoxication, and a good day out!
At 3.00 p.m. the checkered-flag goes down. The 32 cars scream away from the start line, bursting the eardrums of any fool standing within 30 metres without ear-protection. Around the first corner, their high-pitched screams can be heard moving up and through the streets, as the cars approach the famous Monte-Carlo Casino. The race goes on…
Meanwhile, down in the pits, and in the back of the AMF1’s garage, a card game has broken out, involving all of the AMF1 pit crew. This is Monaco, a gambling centre, after all!
Outside, the cars scream their high-pitched songs, the highly charged crowd buzzes, and the fumes coming from the cars smell like the finest brandy served in a rubber cups. Forty minutes into the race and some of the AMF1 pit crew are financially much better off as the card game progresses. Then, just as the next hand of cards is dealt, one of the AMF1 cars turns off the track and heads down the pit lane.
In the back of the AMF1 garage, the screaming and whining of the high-pitched engine cuts across the Lead Mechanic’s call, “And I’ll raise you fifty.”
The AMF1 pit crew are more than a bit “p***ed off” by the noise coming from outside their garage door. The door was already slammed shut because of the cars ruining the card game. The Lead Mechanic eventually shouts at one of his juniors, “Bill, go see which one of those f*****g morons is revving his engine up, and ruining the game.” Bill, reluctantly, goes out to see what all the fuss is about.
Sitting outside in his beautiful bright shiny AMF1 car is Giorgio.
When Giorgio drove for the people with the red cars, a pit stop was normally 8 seconds. He had been waiting outside the AMF1 garage for just under a minute. As Bill emerges from behind the garage door, Giorgio lifts his visor and shouts at Bill, “I need new tyres!” Bill replies, “Why?” Exasperated, Giorgio responds, “Look, I’m skidding all over the place and I need new tyres!” Bill slowly gets the message and toddles off back inside, leaving Giorgio alone in his car, to get more and more frustrated.
“Giorgio wants some new tyres,” announces Bill, to his fellow card players. “How many does he want?” asks the Lead Mechanic. “I’ll go back and ask him,” responds Bill politely. “Giorgio, how many tyres do you want?” shouts Bill. “F*****g four!” screams Giorgio. Again, Bill toddles off back inside. Whilst outside, Giorgio is getting madder and hotter. Most competitors are screaming down the racing circuit. Other cars are being serviced in 8 seconds, right in front of Giorgio, as he looks on longingly.
Bill announces, “Giorgio wants four tyres,” and asks, “Have we got any?” One of the pit crew stands up and replies, “I’ll go and have a look, I think I ordered some.” The clock ticks, and the cars and the seconds go by. The Lead Mechanic now throws his losing hand onto the table and snarls, “Come on lads, here are the 4 tyres that Giorgio wants, we’d better pack in the game, for now, and get them fitted.” The pit crew throw down their cards, and saunter begrudgingly out to the pit lane – rolling the four tyres in front of them.
During the ensuing verbal fight between Giorgio and the Lead Mechanic, some of the pit crew carry on jacking-up the car. Then one of them starts to look for a wheel nut remover. He knows that they have one, because as he saw it this morning, during the practice session. Eventually he finds it, takes off one of the old tyres and fits a new one. The wheel nut remover is then passed to his mate on the adjacent wheel. Slowly, but surely the four tyres are replaced and Giorgio has a new set of tyres.
Flushed with success, the pit crew re-huddles, and turns from the car, setting off back to their card game. The last of the crew is just about to close the garage door when there is a loud yell from Giorgio, “Hey you bast***s, I want some fuel as well!”
The pit crew is now more than “cheesed off” at Giorgio’s further interruption of their card playing. However, in a desperate bid to show leadership and “sense of Team” the Lead Mechanic shouts, “Come on then lads, let’s show this loser what the AMF1 Team can do when it has to pull out all of the stops!”
One of the pit crew pulls the fuel delivery system towards the car, in readiness to slake the thirst of Giorgio’s ever whining engine. The car’s fuel cap is lifted, the fuel nozzle is pushed firmly into the fuel tank, and the “activate mechanism” is pressed firmly home. The other cars continue to scream past. The sun beats down, the clock ticks – BUT is the fuel flowing into Giorgio’s petrol tank?
“What the f***’s up with this thing, no fuel is coming out?” bellows the Fuel Man. A real fight now breaks out between Giorgio and the Lead Mechanic. Still sitting in the car, Giorgio has managed to get a hold of the Lead Mechanics head, and has him in a headlock. The Lead Mechanic now has his legs in the air, as Giorgio has pulled him across the cockpit. Meanwhile, one of the pit crew members is looking at the storage tank fuel gauge. It reads empty. “Empty,” shouts the entire pit crew! Bill chips in, “Oh, I know why that is. The fuel company wouldn’t deliver any more because we never pay our bills!”
Just then the second AMF1 car rolls into and along the pit lane. It has been out on the track for too long, and has now run out of petrol. It rolls the last fifty metres to an embarrassing stop.
Both AMF1 cars are now dead. They have no fuel. They have no money to buy fuel, tyres, or wages. There is no money to pay the Bank or Investors. Team AMF1 doesn’t finish the race. It is won by the competition, who have well trained, highly experienced, drivers and pit crew. They win races and invest money back into new ideas and developments. They share a common vision of winning more and more Grand Prix and becoming the World Team Champions, again and again and again. They turn their car right into the winner’s enclosure. The following week AMF1 closes down. They have run out of money. “Awful Management!”
Chapter 9 “Awful Management“ Checklist
1. Have no sense of urgency – just relax.
2. Pack a case and leave.
Thank you SPS for the opportunity to guest blog; also a big thank you for all of the tweets.
“Awful Management” just sits there and does nothing – you don’t – THANKS