In theory... Emma De Vita's weekly look at management-speak

Managers have always sought guidance. In the business world this demand has most recently been met by life coaches, motivational speakers and self-help gurus. The public and third sectors have not been immune from this phenomenon - if you haven't already found yourself browsing the self-help shelves during your lunch hour, it won't be long before you do.

L Vaughan Spencer, the man behind Don't be Needy Be Succeedy: The A to Zee of Motivitality is the kind of business speaker The Office's David Brent aspires to be. His book is a compendium of excellent advice. For example, he recommends the Big Ten - "like high-five but double (ie with both hands)". And then there's the Toilet Break, which is "vital in today's fast-moving modern training environment - and often when the best interfaces occur. But people are very slow coming back from them, especially smokers now they have to go outside."

Of course, L Vaughan Spencer is too much of a parody to be real. He is, in fact, the alter ego of Comedy Store Player Neil Mullarkey, and is a character in a funny show he uses to send up middle managers. If ever there was a lesson to be learnt about taking yourself too seriously, then L Vaughan Spencer is it. But if you would like to take on some of L-Vo's advice, then pay heed to his entry under "Hair". He says: "Are you hair aware? Hair awareness is vital in today's fast-moving business environment. Just as clothes say everything about you, so does the energy of your hair."

Emma De Vita is editor of the books pages on Management Today.

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