From: Steve Drew (
Date: Thu May 23 2002 - 21:39:45 BST

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    Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 21:39:45 +0100
    Subject: Commonalities 
    From: Steve Drew <>
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    Hi All.

    Thought this might amuse. Something common to all cultures, not my fault :-)

    May 23, 2002
    Next Desk, Please
     OTTAWA President Bush has come under critical fire because he supposedly
    received a warning of possible Al Qaeda attacks last August. The White House
    is deflecting the criticism as best it can, but the president is still
    feeling the heat. I think I can help. As a 20-year veteran of government
    bureaucracy, I suggest the following tried and true approaches, sure to work
    as well in Washington as they do in Ottawa:

    1. Check your calendar. Sometimes you find that you were away from the
    office or on vacation when the problem arose. No one can fault you if you
    weren't there.

    2. Point to your predecessor. This works especially well if you've only had
    your job for a short while. Check old memos and see if the last guy already
    ignored the same problem.

    3. Find your own exculpatory memo. You know, the one that might say
    something like "In response to your memo, I recommend strong immediate
    action." If you can't find one anywhere, write it now!

    4. Blame somebody else. If there's a subordinate (a general manager, say, or
    a vice president) who does all the real work, get him to take the fall.

    5. Describe yourself as a big picture kind of guy. Explain that you're not a
    detail person. You can't be expected to read everything in lengthy two- or
    three-page memos, especially the stuff at the end.

    6. Think outside the box. For example, might this have first come up the day
    the server was down?

    7. Deny receipt. Unless your initials are on the memo, it's pretty hard to
    prove it ever made it to your desk.

    8. When all else fails, rely on that old chestnut: "Hindsight is 20-20." It
    may be just a simple tautology, but it always seems to work.

    David Martin is a lawyer with the Canadian federal Trade-marks Opposition

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