I’ve worked for too many corporatist shitbags to have any instinct but “RUN!” when I hear the sound of corpocrat. That’s why mayor Pete made my flesh crawl – he deployed the same technique, which deflects responsibility, takes credit, and obscures the speaker’s agenda. It makes them (they think) sound smart, which means they think you’re a dumb sucker who’s going to fall for substanceless style.
My “go to” parody is “pro-actively leveraging our synergies” which means I don’t really know what, but I heard it from the mouth of a senior consultant from Perot Systems back in the late 90s. I immediately concluded that the Perot team didn’t know what they were doing and were trying to sound smart in front of the customer and they planned to stall while I solved the problem and they did write-ups about it, hogging all the glory. Naturally, I told my client that that was what was going to happen, so when it did, well – they didn’t really care: their problem was solved. And I didn’t really care: I got a pretty substantial payment for the project. But my antennae tend to tingle when I hear the sound of glibglarp and I start parsing it extra hard listening for double negatives, i.e: “We will not allow you to be left unhanging in this situation.” Usually, though, it’s “we have a focus committee doubling down on this and are going to positively have analysis to present next monday.” Got to work “positively” in there; it’s a good way of saying “we know nothing.” Mayor Pete had that trick down pretty well.
This appears to be saying “we, at corporate, are doing a good job of taking care of ourselves.”
The art is to talk around the problem, firmly and resolutely with a hint of positivity, and to leave vast tracts of things unsaid because they are unpleasant.
Hello global McFamily.
If that’s not enough to make your hands twitch as though they were holding a pitchfork, nothing will.
How we act and what we do as a system directly translates into how we take care of our people.
When you say “we” what do you mean?
Last week we announced a dedicated team, led by Ed Lee at MHQ, to coordinate our response and ensure that all markets receive the necessary support.
That sounds a lot to me like “we don’t know but we’ve assigned Ed Lee to figure this out.” Ed Lee is the stunt double who’s going to swing through the air on a burning rope and maybe fall screaming into the pit of snakes or maybe land safely on the other side. I’m vaguely reminded of another one of my consulting clients, a large oil company, which developed an outbreak response plan that was probably sitting on the shelf until last week. What I believe Mr McDonaldsface is saying is “we were blindsided by this and I’ve been running around a lot the last week wondering what happens to all of the executive team’s stock options.”
We also restricted travel to business essential only and encouraged our corporate employees to work from home, in addition to fundamental changes to gatherings like world-wide conventions.
In other words, “we didn’t trust you to work from home before, but now that we’ve got to, we’re willing to enjoy the cost savings we’ll experience as well as the productivity increase.”
In the markets, our managing directors are working closely with operator leadership to make the decisions most appropriate for their situation.
That means: “the management team are talking to the people who actually do things.” So much for that productivity increase. I believe that he said that he’s going to expect middle management to figure things out and be smart about it. By the way, that is an excellent emergency response plan: “hey everyone do what you’ve already been doing only more so.” It’s exactly not why naval vessels’ “battle stations” don’t work that way: everyone is expected to fight their part of the ship and assume everyone else is doing the right thing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Ships are disposable.
I’m truly in awe of our system’s ability to come together in times of need to support our communities. It’s that special ability that makes us unlike any other company on Earth.
Roughly that translates to “damn you guys sure work hard. I’m reading this video off a teleprompter; you can see I’m doing my part.” It’s that hierarchical organization that makes you just like any other top-down, bottom-up responsibility-driven chain of command. That sounded pretty good, huh? It’s corporate-speak for “do your fucking job.”
We’re continuing to meet with business leaders in all our global markets along with our global functional leaders.
Mega-corporations like McDonald’s must become top-down, bottom-up because otherwise they’re too much to manage. It’s not possible for someone to understand the big picture because it’s too big. What he just said is, “as far as I can tell everyone is doing their job.” I’m sure it’s fascinating and fractally detailed. Is there a director of buns? Let’s imagine that there is. Then perhaps the bun director has subordinate, regional bun directors that are responsible for ensuring the inflow of buns into the system. Naturally, each of those positions will be experiencing interesting and unique challenges in their area. But meeting and overcoming those challenges is what an executive gets paid the big bucks for.
I have reiterated that managing directors in each market, along with the operator leadership, are empowered to make the necessary decisions to protect their people and our buisiness.
We are not 1:20 into the video and he’s found several ways of saying that everyone is expected to do their job. “England expects that every man will do his duty.” [wik] Nelson’s flag-signal at Trafalgar had the virtue of clarity and brevity.
At the same time, however, I have outlined 5 key principles that I expect all markets to adhere to. This will provide consistency in our approach and ensure that our system emerges stronger than ever from this crisis. I want to share those 5 key principles with you and ask for your endorsement, to use these in your own decisions to help guide our collective response. Our first principle: We’re all in this together.
He noticed that? This guy’s like Sun Tzu or maybe Sun Tzu’s masseur.
We’ve got eachother’s backs, because that’s what makes us so strong. As your franchisor, that means we’re going to do whatever is necessary to help every owner/operator and partner survive this crisis. We will not let you fail. And managing directors have the necessary tools and authority to work with each owner/operator and partner to address your unique financial situation.
To our suppliers: you’re part of McFamily and while most of you have many other customers beyond McDonald’s you can count on us to do our part to help you and your organization through this pandemic.
As all three legs of the stool, let’s also recognize our collective responsibility to help our people. Again, we’re all in this together. That means we need to support our people who are infected by COVID-19 and embrace them when they return to health. Leave no one behind.
“Embrace” is probably not the best choice of words.
Notice that so far he has said nothing about the guy who flips the burgers? What if that guy – who is probably living paycheck to paycheck on the edge of disaster – doesn’t have resources to take 2 weeks off and heal? So, instead, they come in to flip those burgers while they’re expressing virus all over the place. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m sure Mister Animatronic Talking Head is going to talk about that, something like: “to our burger flippers: stay home and heal and our massively profitable company has got your back while you’re on it.” Right?
Second Principle: Think and act with a long-term mindset. It might be hard to imagine today but one day we will be on the other side of this. Life will normalize again. Communities will be back to normal and that’s where we need to keep our focus. The decisions we do or don’t make in the coming weeks are going to reverberate for years.
As I told you, McDonalds is going to make certain that our owner/operators emerge from this pandemic and so there’s no reason to think anything other than long-term. It took us 65 years to build the brand that we have today, let’s make certain the next 65 years are even better.
The burger flipper’s rent is due next week.
The third principle: Be transparent with eachother and our stakeholders. If any one of us has a problem, we all have a problem.
Ah, now he’s going to get to the part about the burger flippers.
You can count on me and our leaders to give it to you straight. I tell it like it is because that’s what I’d ask of anyone in the system.
You’ll notice that, by broadcasting this glibglarp in an outbound-only medium, he’s “giving it straight” in the sense that his communications are one-way. Nobody can ask him “what about the burger flippers?” The video is almost over and I can’t count the things he’s actually said on the index finger of one hand.
You’ll be hearing from me regularly – weekly – with updates on the actions we’re taking and the impact we’re seeing.
Fourth Principle: Lead by example. We will never ask our customers or our people to go where we wouldn’t go or work where we wouldn’t work.
Our decisions on operations will continue to be guided by expert local and global health authority guidance. We will be pragmatic in our approach. And perhaps most important is what we stand to do in the world. Well before I became CEO it was clear to me that fostering community is the most powerful thing we do here at McDonald’s – and that’s why the 5th principle is: Stay true to our purpose.
Fostering community? Now it sounds like he’s gonna talk about his downstream brother, the burger-flipper. Right?
We serve community. Our system has over 40,000 community touchpoints. These are spaces where we feed and foster the community we serve.
In some instances that will mean going the extra mile to keep restaurants open. We’ll need to make sure we’re making safe – and caring – decisions. We’ll need to stay laser-focused on the local person-to-person level.
God, I hate it when someone says “laser focus” – it just means they understand neither lasers nor focus. Just one time I want to hear some dipshit say “we’re going to stay collimated.” Just. Once.
That’s how we’ve always operated, and it’s the key to our success.
I’m so proud to be the CEO of McDonald’s.
I’m proud of you. I care about you. (points at the camera) You worked around the clock to support our customers and crew and it makes a world of difference. And a difference in the world.
As your CEO but also a colleague, husband, and father, you can count on me. I’m committed to doing the right thing for you, for our customers and crew, and for the communities that are counting on us. Please remember you have the full support of the McDonald’s system behind you and I’ll be back in touch in the coming days.
Damn, he forgot to mention the burger flippers.
Wouldn’t it have been an amazing thing if he’d said, “we know some of you are going to get sick. What we can’t have is you helping spread the virus to our customers. If you get sick – stay home. I’ve directed all the franchisees and line managers to keep your job for you, so when you’re back on your feet you’ll have a place to come back to. I’ve directed all the franchisees and line managers to do whatever they need to, to support you and – in order to create a fund of cash for helping community members in need, I’ve put my annual bonus in a pool that will help keep you from having to worry about anything other than just getting better. I’ve asked the other executives to do likewise.”
Nah. Actual content? Zero.