Tag Archives: management

How to: Manbrain


I’ve been talking with by better half over the last few weeks about a revolutionary concept in the workplace. It has the potential to increase your effectiveness in the workplace by something between 0 and 100%. It’s the essence of learning to think like a man, that half of the species which has dominated the workplace since the term workplace was invented. So this blog post is probably going to be more useful to those who identify as women, but you never know. I would also like to point out for the benefit of anyone who is exceptionally stupid that this is supposed to be humorous – I don’t really advocate treating women as objects, starting physical fights with managers or the hero-worship of whoever has the biggest one. What is true is that Humans and Monkeys share 96% of their genetic material

To keep things simple, I will outline the 10 simplest rules of the Manbrain.

Rule 1: Keep things simple.


Manbrains are not sophisticated (for sophisticated see Womanbrain). The best way to imagine how they work is shown below, input, process, output. Action generally equals reaction, except when it doesn’t. The Manbrain is rather like a computer in this respect, invalid inputs (anything with an overly emotional, complex or unwelcome content) will be ignored. Inputs delivered in squeaky voices (womanspeak) are also likely to be ignored.


Rule 2: Shouting.

The Manbrain has been tuned by thousands of years of evolution to perform the function of listening. However this is heavily spectrum dependent and is geared towards the lower frequencies of human vocal communication. If you speak squeaky (high pitch, high tone) you will be ignored by the Manbrain.


The best way to communicate with the Manbrain aurally is to do so in deep, booming tones with a slow and regular cadence. You might find it helpful to imagine yourself as a large gorilla when doing this.


Rule 3: Bigger is better.


Manbrain evolution is also heavily focused on being bigger than everyone else in the one area that counts. The key driver is having the biggest one. Whatever that might be, and however it is defined. Manbrain pays attention to the person with the biggest one (the leader). Anyone who doesn’t have the biggest one is small, and therefore irrelevant. Manbrain seeks to make sure that its own one is as big as possible. Manbrain respects others based exclusively on the size of their ones.

Manbrain spends a lot of time thinking about how big it is. Other considerations, such as talent, intelligence, authority and capability are often (but not always) ignored. The one with the biggest is the boss, the boss man, the king, the leader, the head of the tribe, the smartest Manbrain in the social unit, or whatever other great title you want to bestow upon them – I personally like the title chief monkey, and also monkey chief. If you’re going to say it out loud, especially in the presence of the chief monkey, it had better be nice! Otherwise, they will be angry with you (see Emotion). If your tribe subscribes to corporate culture, the one who thinks they have the biggest one might be called a senior manager. Don’t forget that in corporate culture, those who stick around seldom ask questions, such as “Is the senior manager is actually the best Manbrain for the job?”, or “I’m not convinced by your Manbraining. How big is it really?”. This is because the answer is normally that they probably aren’t and don’t. Of course, if you don’t have a big one, you can substitute with a combination of nice toys, a shiny car and an expensive looking woman.


Rule 4: I am the best

Manbrain is very good at ignoring. That’s why Manbrain controls the world. In Manbrain there is no such question as “Am I good enough for this?” or “Will they consider my input as relevant?” or even “Perhaps there are better people for this activity than me?”. Manbrain is always the best.


Rule 5: Ignorance is no barrier to success


I have succeeded despite not knowing things in the past. Therefore knowledge is semi-irrelevant. Facts, could be known ahead of time, or we could just discover them as we go along! We will figure it out. I can do this, because I have Manbrain, and it’s very big, and you are going to help me, because I say so loudly.


Rule 6: I want that, because you have it.


It’s worth remembering that Manbrain is very similar to Monkeybrain. Monkeybrain is marginally less sophisticated (not as good at video games, vocal communication or delayed gratification), but otherwise a great analogue. Sometimes a Manbrain sees something that somebody else has (it could be a shiny new toy, or food, or an expensive looking female) and Manbrain wants to take it away from the someone else, either to enjoy or just to throw away to show the other person who has the biggest one.


Rule 7: Emotion


Emotion is simple in the Manbrain. It’s either Angry, or it isn’t. When Manbrain is angry there’s always someone to blame. Usually it’s another Manbrain who is guilty of the crime of “stupid”. Sometimes this might be the Manbrain with the biggest one. In corporate tribes, the reason for angry emotion is usually a phenomenon called ‘management’, which requires the performance of pointless tasks in order to gain a monthly bag of nuts and berries which can be traded for toys, food or other essential services. Sometimes there’s an emotion called sadness, which is basically the opposite of angry, but sometimes has the same physical manifestations. Sad is highly complex and way out of the scope of this article. If you have a Manbrain and think it might be suffering from sad, try pretending to be angry until it goes away, or you could pick a fight (see Rules 8 and 9).

If you are feeling an emotion that isn’t angry (or sad) then you are over thinking.


Rule 8: How to fight (if you have a big one)


Instant fighting is best done in the open, in a meeting, by shouting and banging the table with your fist. This is how to communicate with the Manbrain that emotion has happened. When emotion happens rapidly, it can overwhelm the Manbrain and starting a fight is the only way to regain control. Just like when an excess of heat and fuel combine to create a fire, which incidentally is a reliable way to tidy up your Mancave or to cook food.


Rule 9: How to fight (if you don’t)


If you think that the person you want to fight has a bigger one than you, or more friends in the tribe, you shouldn’t engage in direct confrontation. Instead you will need to build your own secret tribe, and then when the time is right you should strike. Alternatively, just find someone higher up the tree and offer them a bribe in order to do your fighting for you. The bribe might be loyalty (because everyone else in the tribe is stupid), nuts and berries (this is very crude, even for Manbrain), or occasionally useful information which the Manbrain might be able to use to win other fights, or to exchange for more nuts and berries elsewhere.


Rule 10: Not taking anything too seriously.


In order to keep your Manbrain in good condition, it’s important not to get too stressed. Stress has a negative effect on your ability to Manbrain, and thereby solve problems and command others with your Manbrain skills. If you follow the rules, simplicity, shouting, respecting and searching for bigness, total self-confidence and mastery of emotion (anger, everything else is stupid), then you will be a highly successful Manbrain. You might even be the leader of a tribe one day (regardless of your suitability or even the size of your one)! You’ll certainly do better than anyone who doesn’t have a Manbrain.


In summary, it’s a jungle out there! If you didn’t have the good fortune to be born with a Manbrain (or even if you did), reading this article and using your imagination might help you to succeed in your tribe. Having been part of many tribes over the years, I have known many good chief monkeys  (and some good monkey chiefs!) as well as some totally useless ones too.  Understanding how Manbrain works has definitely been a common characteristic of the best chief monkey’s (both male and female) I’ve had the pleasure of banging rocks together with. Good luck Manbraining.




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Efficient garment storage and retrival management operational systems

Mananaging a highly efficient garment retrival and storage operation isn’t as easy as you might think. The first mistake most people make when considering running such an operation is to think that it is easy. By following this guide you too can learn how to run, manage, operate, integrate and searate all your garment management functions for conference occasions. 


This article uses highly technical and specific terminology relevant to garment retrival and storage operations, please familiarise yourself with the terms below before moving on to the main article.

Garment – A thing somebody wears. Typically in winter this is a coat. When people come inside they usually take off their outer garment and have to put it somewhere. Storage and retrival of such garments is our business.

Cloakroom – Shorthand for a garment storage and retrival service.

Tickets – The lifeblood of your garment storage and retrival service, without a ticket the efficiency of garment retrival is heavily compromised.

Conference – A distraction from the garment retrival and storage service. People turn up to meet each other and listen to yet more people speaking about things which they find interesting. Do not let yourself get distracted from the main business of garment retrival and storage by the conference events. To do so is to invite chaos and disaster.

Garment storage and retrival unit  – another term for the individuals who actually do the garment storage and retrival operations. Like most individuals they can be motivated by smiles, praise for efficient operation, tips and chocolate treats.

Desk – an item of furniture which is used to prevent members of the public from entering the garment retrival and storage area. Should members of the public or conference guests get behind the desk then you will need to ask them to politely return to their designated area.


Like any well run organisation, the secret is a highly motivated team of dynamic individuals working together as one.

When thinking about and organising your garment storage and retrival operation, simply bear in mind these five points to avoid going wrong, making mistakes or disappointing your garment retrievers.

The five tenants of garment retrival, according to me:

Rule 1 – Respect the garments.

Garments are peoples prized possessions, you are being entrusted with them for just a short period of time and it’s important to take care of them. To ensure a successful relationship with your customers it you should avoid the following disrespectful activities:

  • Setting fire to things
  • Performing fashion shows with deposited garments
  • Loud music, especially when the music shows bad taste
  • Rain, wind or extreme weather events
  • Fighting (with anyone)
  • Excessive partying during the opening hours of the conference.

Rule 2 – Organise, everything.

Organisation is the key to success. Numbering everything is the key to organisation, which is the key to success. Tickets are the key to numbering everything, which is the key to organisation, which is the key to success. 

Because chaos leads to confusion leads to lost garments leads to fear leads to the dark side.

Because chaos leads to confusion leads to lost garments leads to fear leads to the dark side.

Rule 3 – No pets or live animals

Working with live animals in a garment storage and retrival service is to invite disaster, wether they be wild animals, strays or domesticated pets. When customers are checking in their garments be sure to inspect them for signs of animals hiding inside pockets or sleeves. Should you discover after the fact that a customer has deposited an animal in addition to their garment, their pet should immediately be moved to the lost and found desk even if it is very cute.

Rule 4 – Form an orderly queue

Persuading members of the public and conference guests to form an orderly and directed queue for the storage or retrival of garments. Equally, if your garment storage and retrival units get out of line be sure to put them in an orderly queue as well. 

For some reason this symbol reminds me of Halflife.

For some reason this symbol reminds me of Halflife.

Rule 5 – There is no rule 5

Because I got bored of this article at Rule 3, and probably so did you. Likewise, if you’re still reading this and haven’t realised it’s a spoof then the joke is on you 😉

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Lessons Learned?

Today I started to create a ‘lessons learned’ document for the major project I’ve been working on since last year. Initially I sat down and wrote out all the various headings for the project and it occured to me that the number of lessons learned was very large and they cover literally all aspects of the project. Obviously such a long an exhaustive list is going to take a long time for me and other members of the project team to assemble, and a long time in the future for anyone wishing to read the outcome. So whilst I was driving home I started to think about ways to sort through this information and produce a more lightweight, punchy and pertinent document. Here is the result:


  1. Divide the project into 9 topics, by discipline. In the case of my project this will be something like: design conception, specification, tender process, documentation, low voltage electrical, high voltage electrical, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and safety
  2. Brainstorm the learning points for each of your selected topics with the whole team
  3. Sort the ideas in order of pertinence for each category and ignore anything that isn’t at least in the top 10.
  4. Provide a detailed description (from a page to a paragraph) for the first 3 items in each category
  5. For any items 4 and above a summary description will be sufficient.
  6. Pick out the 10 most important points across all areas (you should already have written out the detailed descriptions for these items, some abreviation might be necessary if you have 10 full pages).
  7. Create an executive summary and put the 10 points you selected in there.

I’m going to try this method over the next week or so and see how it works. All the major projects I’ve worked on previously have had a day or two of workshops at the end devoted to exactly this kind of process. The normal tangible outcomes of such a process are either a very large excel spreadsheet or a lengthy word document that isn’t finished until +1 year after the project. The documents themselves are seldom, if ever, read after the event and by those outside the team that created them. However there is still value in these kinds of process, the majority of which is captured by the participants who are able to crystalise the knowledge gained and apply it personally to their own future work. My aim is to make something that can be retained and integrated a little better within the institutional memory of the organisation, which will be more accessible to those outside the core project team.

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