Friday, July 15, 2005

The Handing-out of the Cubes

The company I work for recently released a new mission statement, and to re-enforce it among the employees, our CEO just went around the building wearing a funny hat and pushing an ice-cream cart, complete with umbrella, and handing out ice-cream and cubes to people.

Cubes? What are these cubes you speak of, Holmes? Are you all being given brand spanking new cubicles? Wow, what a, um, neat, uh, present. Hmmm.

No, these cubes are actually made up of a series of 4 smaller cubes that can be turned and folded around each other to display different pictures, four of which contain either the new mission statements or motivational mantras. It is these motivational mantras, or rather, the choice of pictures against which to juxtapose these various statements that has me a bit confused. Or not so much confused as just not getting it, completely. Or left wondering if there's anything significant to get. Let me just tell you what I see here and see if you can make anything of it.

On the first side, there is a picture of three men running a hurdles race. It is clearly an event hosted by the University of Texas, as I can see a Longhorn logo on one of the hurdles. They're all very focused on what they're doing. The mantra below it is "Results Matter - Always." So maybe that one's not a very good example of what I'm talking about, as it clearly means to show these three athletes pushing hard towards the end result, which in their case is the finish line and being the first one across it. This should serve to remind the employee that he/she too must have the laser-focus of a track-and-field athlete, always aiming, striving, pushing towards the results, which by the way, my little cube informs me always matter, not how you got there or what you did on your way to Results-land. God, I try not to be cynical, and yet! And yet!

As I turn the cube clockwise, I see a picture of two bald eagles. One of these magnificent beast-birds is alighting a tree branch, while the other one has already taken a seat. The seated eagle appears to be screeching with some level of hostility towards the soon-to-be co-inhabitant of the branch. The caption above both of their snowy white heads reads "Some only dream about goals, others reach for them." See, now this is closer to what I'm talking about. I know that eagles and lofty ideals often go hand in hand in the motivational world, but this? What is this? What is the lofty goal that others are dreaming of, but these two national symbols have reached for? The branch? Is one of the birds dreaming and the other is reaching? Has the one in flight just returned from a quest of goal-reaching, and the other is screeching its anger that it was awakened from its goal-dreaming?

Another turn 'o the cube and now we're watching hockey. If I were a hockey fan or if I cared enough to go look it up, I'd know who these teams are, mmmmmmmmmmmbut I don't. What we see in this picture is a goalie blocking a net while an opposing player goes for the shot, and another player from the goalie's team is sliding on his stomach towards them both. The caption: Open and honest communication is the key to success. See, now I'm stumped. Who here is communicating openly and honestly? I guess one could interpret this montage to say that, by their body language, each of these fellows is communicating his goals in an open and honest fashion, but that's all I've got.

Now let us continue on to the final and, without a doubt, most perplexing display to be found on this cube. The picture: an old cannon, I'm guessing Civil War era or maybe earlier. With its shiny casing, it looks ready to fire a ball of burning death at any advancing army. The caption....are you ready for this? It reads "'s greatest asset is our associates." The possibilities are overwhelming. Does the cannon represent an associate? Are we to our company what weapons are to an army? Are we expected to be more lethal killing machines, blasting our way towards the results, which are the only things that matter in the first place? Right?

So help me out here. Email the Holmes with your thoughts.

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