It's hot and sweaty in Olde London Towne. All the hotter and sweatier for me, and my Fearlessly Frank colleague Ben Little, stuck in an organisational Rubik's Cube about "who should do what" in a proposed Joint Venture with a Media BigWig.
After much willy waggling and, to be fair, not a little common sense, I mention that I'd seen Apple's senior management organogram (that's an organisational chart of who-does-what-to-whom, to you and me).
Ssshh. Apparently no one at Apple knows how the company is organised, so I reveal this hoping I won't be seeing in the New Year with Julian Assange and Edward Snowden in Bolivia. (Ouch. Sorry). The info is here if you want to see it. Apple Organisational Chart.
What is wonderful about this chart, (is it true? I don't know. I hope so!), is the perfect, elegant, balance between "sustaining" the corporate entity and "disrupting" the market in which it operates.
People who know me, (professionally, of course), will know how much I tediously bang on about how in UK Law "businesses are treated as if they were people, with all the rights and responsibilities that people have".
So, Shareholders are like "Parents", wanting the very best for their creation; and Directors are like "Godparents", making sure their charge doesn't fall into the wrong sort of company, break the law or learn enough to grow up properly.
Political Parties in the UK are now under starters orders for the race to win the next administration.
Each Party wants to be the next Directors of UK Ltd. Hey, Big Boys! We're talking about a £2.5 trillion business here.
But I can only look at this race from a citizen's point of view. Obviously.
Well, not quite so obviously actually, because UK Ltd has shareholders too.
You and me.
As a shareholder and financial contributor for over 35 years I'm looking at the way the various Directors come and go.
And I'm shocked.
The "Board" of UK Ltd hasn't changed its operational, or, indeed organisational, modus operandi since... well, since I can remember. And that's the point.
It's not acceptable. You've been running the show the same way for 30 years?
Wake up Men and Woman of Whitehall. We have moved from an insular to global economy; from an analogue to a digital system; and from an "Us and Them" to an "It's All About Me" society, all in the space of thirty short years. We know you want to sustain our GDP at the very least, but what are you doing to disrupt staid thinking and ossifying systems?
Each Government looks and smells like the last one. Same jobs. Same departments. Same look. Same Marketing Spiel. That's where the ossification starts.
That's why we ended up where we did last time. Stalemate.
Want to be a winning Party at the next National AGM?
Then take a cue from the winning Boards of Directors of top companies around the world.
Look at how these organisations have substantially changed to meet customer habits, requirements and expectations.
Look at how language is changing to reflect the power of behaviour, not the power of brands.
And look at how departmental structure has changed to provide real competitive competence.
As a shareholder of UK Ltd, (and, "finger-in-the-air", I speak for many) I want to see Brave, Contemporary Decision Making. I want to see Unequivocal Leadership. And I want to see Serious, Properly-Invested, New Product Development that will keep this company financially strong so that my Grandchildren - the guaranteed next tier of investors - can flourish in a company (whoops, OK, Nation) that is confidently stable and highly competent.
Which politician will discard jaded departmental dogma root and branch and re-organise to a system like, for example, Apple's? Which Leader, or better, Cabinet, will take a salary of £0.01, but earn on a percentage of the growth of GDP, or the reduction of Unemployment?
Which Party will be brave enough to give the Shareholders a true, non-partisan audit, so that we may judge their success? (We don't mind mistakes, but we'd like them explained, please).
Short-term electioneering is like the smart-suited Ad Man selling-in a witty campaign.
Long-term strategy is way more complex. It's about honestly explaining what your goals are, reaching them and providing stability and growth for your shareholders.
(And by the way, you rarely hear big corporates slagging off their competitors the way Political Parties do. It looks cheap. It looks as if you have nothing to say. But most importantly it all sounds negative to the customer).
Who will win the next General Election? No one so far.
Because the sad truth is that no politician has yet emerged with the conviction, believability or charisma of even a CEO of a long established small to medium sized enterprise.
C'mon Guys and Gals. If you're not clever, and you don't learn from the great leaders, none of us will be winners.