It's been nearly a month since the long pilgrimage for the football fan. But like the influence of all strong intoxicants, the effect of the World Cup is likely to endure. And when it begins to subtly dictate behaviour in corporate settings, it does warrant taking notice of. For the symptoms and actions undertaken by those suffering from 'the aftermath of South Africa', need to be understood, just like that of any other malaise. And stricken sufferers deserve to be treated with empathy and respect, if nothing else.
Introducing fish-curry induced financial forecasting
Paul, the Octopus, has ensured we will never look at seafood again with the same limited perspective. Now, we know that all marine creatures, given the chance, are likely to put most management consultants out of business.
So, the next time your boss queries you on business projections, invite him to lunch at the best seafood restaurant in town.
Once the salted squid arrives, extrapolate from the angle the dish makes with the linear edge of the table to finalize on your financial commitment for the year. Of course, these calculations are a touch more difficult if either the table or the dish, or worse still, both are circular. If disaster beckons later, you can always claim that you had your tentacles in one too many things.
The act of kissing the returning troops
Diego Maradona always had the knack of pulling off the absurd on the football pitch. This time, he institutionalized the ritual of kissing players leaving the pitch on being substituted. But aping his actions in an office scenario could have people baying for your blood.
No one likes to be even spoken to, let alone be kissed, when returning from a disastrous client meeting. Those of the opposite gender, or even the same, are likely to misconstrue your benignly divine intentions. Your boss might think of you pecking him after his catastrophic board meeting, as yet another example of you merely indulging in lip service on the job. And that's probably the most pleasant inference of such an endeavour.
Showing the red card at meetings
Meetings have never quite been your thing. But on the back of a red-card happy World Cup, you will experience some very interesting side effects. There are those whose jargon spouting, thoughtless perambulating and frequent attempts to recap during these sessions increasingly becomes a burden on sensibility.
You will now find yourself screwing your face to its sternest interpretation and brandishing red cards their way. Chances are you will find yourself doing the walk outside the room, and perhaps out of the company, if this behaviour unfolds itself on boss or client.
Calling for the technology timeout
Perhaps you felt that England was robbed of a goal against Germany. That incident has probably tipped the issue in favour of technological intervention in football. But, you insist, why must it stop there?
The next time your proposal or idea doesn't go through, call for a televised action replay. Insist that you want to know exactly by how much you were off the mark.
Incidentally, this would mean video-taping all meetings, and might subject you to the painful footage of watching colleagues smirk derisively as you went through your presentation. But all new initiatives involve someone getting miffed; and soon, you will learn to deride other people's ideas as well, plus enjoy reviewing the caustic comments you made in super slow motion.
Employing the vuvuzela ruse at the next appraisal
The footballers had to get their work done amidst the deafening drone of the vuvuzelas. But noise, used at the right moment, is a much underrated weapon. At the next appraisal, when given the chance to speak, claim the sun, moon and the nearest Andromeda. Then, emphatically declare to your boss that you will not hear of anything less than a double promotion and an increment to the tune of the GDP of Switzerland.
When it's your boss's turn to retort, drown his abuse in the taped sound of vuvuzelas, deviously played on the public address system at that moment. Then, leave the room during the cacophony and quickly send him the minutes of the meeting, clearly stating that you had voiced your claims and that you did not hear him disagree about any of them.
These are but a few of the symptoms of 'the aftermath of South Africa'. There are bound to be many others, lurking beneath the surface of apparently normal behaviour. But with vigilance and poise, we can keep them at bay. Until Brazil in four years' time gives us a fresh set of problems…
© 2010 afaqs!
(The writer is a creative thinking trainer and an ideation consultant. He is also the author of 'The Madness Starts at 9' and patron saint of Juhu Beach United, an organization that celebrates, 'the unfit, out of breath working person of today'.)First Published : August 13, 2010