The meeting was running late, but Andrea was entranced. Everything about Ted, the company's new senior vice president of corporate development, made her itch like a compliance officer scanning first-draft marketing material. She knew she should say no, but the dividends seemed too alluring to resist.
Ted's mastery of PowerPoint betrayed an animal side. Whenever he flicked to the next slide, Andrea felt innately in sync with his transition animation. When he spoke to expanding into new geographies, she imagined only his strategic fit. He was not one to move with the herd.
The meeting discontinued, and Andrea cast Ted a look that could only suggest imminent merger discussions. Quietly and separately, they slipped into a disused office that had until the previous week been the domain of Philip, the quiet yet seamlessly agile former head of supply chain management.
"I'm familiar with this ecosystem," Andrea whispered under her breath to herself as she closed the door. Philip had shown reliably robust organic growth, but she was ready to turn the page to a new chapter of expansion.
Aloud, she reached out to her fresh colleague: "You put on quite a showcase back there."
"I know," Ted said. "It's important to give good insight in your first month and anyway, my projections are rising. I think we have a great story to tell."
"We certainly do. Let's salad-bar this," she purred.
Subtly but inexorably, Ted outreached closer. She caught his scent for the first time: a heady mix of Pret and ambition that led her heart to skip a beat. "I think we should discuss your acquisition strategy," he evangelised in a low voice. "You may be able to capitalise on strong demand."
"Oh? It's good to know I have buy-in," Andrea responded coyly. Almost in stealth mode, her hand began a slow teardown of her high-level fabric. Given greater visibility, Ted took inventory of her sweated assets, and he too initiated a divestment of peripheral layers.
Roughly, he squeezed her margins. The stakeholders brought it to the table, and he took her on board. "His service delivery is outstanding," Andrea thought as Ted touched base with her one-stop nexus.
"Diversify your mix," she whimpered. He complied, broadening her parameters and accelerating forward below the line. "My turn," she gasped as she captured his low-hanging fruit. "Let's run this up your flagpole and see… ooohhh..."
Andrea took a helicopter view of Ted's metrics and expertly insourced his verticals. "I need you to drill down now, Ted," she moaned. Ted made a mission-critical entry into Andrea's channel. "Take a deeper dive," she cried as he tenderly leveraged her framework. But, as he ramped it up, Andrea's thoughts turned to Philip. Where was he now? Who was he with? Had he moved up the value chain?
Ted's gaze was already outcome-focused. He withdrew from her pipeline and targeted her magic quadrant with his deliverables.
"A quick win," Andrea thought languidly. "But where are the synergies?"
-------------------------------- x x x --------------------------------
In case you're wondering, a few years ago I did a song called Love Solutions, in an attempt to help people reinterpret management-speak in the infinitely more entertaining context of smutty innuendo.
As I could not cram in all the gobs of corporate babble that were in circulation, and as nonsense continues to proliferate, the track was due a sequel. This post is it. Think of it as Mills & Boon for management wonks.
Here's the original: