Jack sat down in the boardroom opposite Derek and Simon, his new manager.

“Nice tie,” said Jack.

Simon and Derek looked at each other’s ties and then at Jack.

“I’m just messing with you,” said Jack. “Much like you both did by introducing Simon as a colleague yesterday, rather than as my new manager. But hey, it’s all part of the fun right?”

Derek held up his palms, pleading innocence. “Jack, I simply thought it would be nice for Simon to get an honest insight into his team before being tarnished with the management brush. And I think, based on what he is told me, it proved useful.”

Simon nodded, “It was certainly eye-opening.”

“It certainly was,” said Jack.

“Meaning?” Asked Simon.

“Much like this conversation so far, there was literally no meaning in that whatsoever. Now, why are we sitting here exchanging irrelevant words?”

“Simon has some questions for his team,” said Derek. “We’re beginning by going through these open forums with individuals, and then we’ll extrapolate it into team-based diagnostics.”

“ Oh good, nice and simple then.” said Jack.

Simon laughed. “You’re funny Jack. I can see that you bring a lot to the office and I certainly don’t want to stifle your individualism.” He pulled a piece of paper from his compendium. “ I’d like to go through these questions with you, do you mind?”

“It would make the day worthwhile,” said Jack.

“Very good. The first question is about the working environment and how we could improve it – what changes could I make to help you become more productive?”

“Well, how about flexible start and finish times? I mean, we have a certain amount of hours we have to work each week, but how about if we chose when we worked? Also, how about relaxing the dress code a bit? It would let people’s individual style shine through and help them feel more comfortable and engaged. And how about some team-based activities that don’t involve alcohol? I mean, I’m all for a drink but we’ve got plenty of people here that aren’t and the booze creates segregation between them and us in a social setting. I also think it would be cool if we could have a monthly forum, where everyone is empowered to speak openly about the company, good and bad, and managers are held accountable for any agreed actions.”

Derek and Simon stared at Jack blankly.

“Oh, I see,” said Jack. “Well, I think we could use some more plants in the office, and I think a structured weekly team meeting to hold us accountable for our actions would be great, and I think I’d benefit from increased accountability also.”

“You’ll certainly get that from me,” said Simon, bursting into life. “I aim to unleash all that potential you have, in fact, you may not even be aware of it yourself.”

“You’d do that for me?” asked Jack in monotone.

“It’s what makes a great manager Jack, and that’s what I aim to be. I also like your plant idea, we’ll see what we can do about that.”

“I think you’re in for some great changes Jack,” said Derek. “With Simon holding you accountable and all the new foliage, how can you fail?”

“Yes, it’s good we’re solving another problem that wasn’t a problem until it needed solving,” said Jack.

“It’s preemptive problem solving,” said Simon. “Otherwise, we’d end up solving problems as they happened, it’s far too reactive.”

“Yes, it’s why I have my plumber visit me twice a week, just in case.”

“Really?” asked Simon.

“No Simon. Not really.”

“You’re a funny guy Jack.” said Simon.

“A productive funny guy,” said Jack.

“That’s the spirit,” said Simon.