Management lessons from Ramsay and Blair

Gordon RamsayTony Blair
I always had Gordon Ramsay down as a superannuated Sunday Supplement wanker. Tonight I saw the first of his Kitchen Nightmares on Channel 4, in which he was parachuted into Silsdon in Yorkshire to fix the unfixable – a diabolical restaurant/bar called Bonaparte’s. Inevitably, he failed, and Bonaparte’s was shuttered by the end of the show. Along the way, though, Ramsay showed himself to be a sensitive and passionate manager with a genuine understanding of people. I wouldn’t like to work for him, though…

Meanwhile, our Prime Minister continues to provide management lessons of his own. Anyone who’s ever run a company will tell you that sooner or later you’re going to come to work one morning and get a sick feeling when you realise that some malignant subset of the crowd of sweaty herberts you hired (out of the goodness of your heart) has taken over your precious company – or at least plans to do so (or at least thinks they could do so if they felt like it). Peace of mind drains away, replaced by stomach-churning paranoia. The worm has turned. It must be like this for Blair right now. He’s still nominally in charge and there’s really no prospect of a coup before the next election but the cabal has formed and the ink is drying on the tawdry conspiracy that’ll see him replaced. It’s just a matter of time now.

Managing his Government, party and increasingly treasonous cabinet through this period while attempting to sell the utterly unsalable European Constitutional Treaty to a sceptical and ignorant public in the teeth of a hostile press is going to be the biggest test of his career and will make Iraq look like a walk in the park.

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  1. On a related chef – Jamie’s Kitchen is a textbook on how to be a great manager. He’s energetic, sympathetic, caring, imaginative, ruthless when he has to be, gives good direction and clear feedback. Probably managing is the thing he’s best at. And he does himself well on the ‘use to think he was a tosser, but actually he’s an alright bloke’ front. Though the Sainsbury’s campaign does a lot to undermine that.

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