At the time the three of us were sitting quite comfortably on a conveniently placed hedgehog.
I sat in the middle counting my feet while my companions, Alfred and Angelo, chose to scan the horizons left and right in the hope of catching a glimpse of a young lady. Not that young ladies are rare; it’s just that one doesn’t see so many of them roaming the plains in quite the same numbers these days.
Alfred was particularly keen to catch sight of a young lady. He had heard that they can be gangly and mawkish which makes them a delight to observe on a hot sunny day.
The main business of the day and number one item on the agenda was the hot, if sometimes controversial, topic of “How to waste time”.
We had already spent many hours searching in vain for a meaningful title for our discussion. We sat late the previous night brainstorming as a power group, looking for the right term that would show the world we know the meaning of wastefulness. Initially no idea was to be rejected; we had to accept there was merit in every possibility. By midnight all ideas had been rejected – this would be more difficult than anticipated.
Angelo suggested we sit carefully under Occam’s razor and wait for the obvious.
After several more hours of deliberations we concluded that “How to waste time” would be the most meaningful title to meet the aims of our objective.
Today we took things a little further and agreed to form a series of subcommittees that would meet independently to investigate the deeper ramifications of the proposal.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking that with just three of us the scope for subcommittees would be limited.
I’m afraid I have to tell you you’re wrong. With just three of us we had the opportunity to form subsets, permutations and combinations allowing for a multitude of opportunities to flex our muscles in our working groups.
Of course the three of us together, along with Alfred’s cat, would form The Committee. I originally voted for myself as Chair; persuading the others to vote for me too was achieved quickly when I waxed lyrical on the effectiveness and efficiency of such a structure. It was only after the first meeting that Angelo raised his concerns. Didn’t my Chairpersonship of The Committee give me an undue influence, if not bias, in pushing forward the agenda?
We minuted his concerned and immediately convened a second sitting of The Committee. During the discussion stage we co-opted Alfred’s cat to act as Chair, the consensus being that a cat would have no axe to grind. Besides Alfred’s cat was far more interested in playing with the wool on the Chairpersons Chair.
Debate ebbed and flowed over the constitution of The Committee. We passed resolution number one which was to make Alfred’s cat a permanent member of The Committee and voted him lifetime Chaircat. Angelo wondered briefly whether we should write into the minutes that we should note it could be nine lifetimes; I told him not to be so facetious!
By now it was lunchtime so we adjourned back to the hedgehog for coffee and sandwiches. I’d chosen Cheese and Pickle, Alfred opted for Tuna salad and Angelo devoured his favourite wafer thin ham with cucumber slices on medium sliced white bread. Alfred’s cat took a position on the floor next to us and proceeded to eat a cream cheese bagel.
Unfortunately lunch dragged into the afternoon as Alfred and Angelo became engrossed in a discussion on the semantics of frantic antics. By four o’clock I declared it was too late to reconvene so we went our separate ways, agreeing to meet next morning to drive the proposal forward.
I spent the evening watching Game Shows on television. Gosh it was exhausting.
It was several days before we managed to get the Committee back together as Alfred’s cat had a number of appointments at the vets; he had recently been spayed and was generally uncomfortable, never mind nonplussed, by the outcome. Alfred had to tempt him back into committee by promising a regular supply of Cinnamon Danish pastries.
By now it was Friday and we were all eager to get things underway before taking a well earned weekend break. Under our Chaircat we quickly decided that the first main topic on the agenda should be our Mission Statement. We knew from the outset that this would be a major task but every serious committed group needs a meaningful Mission Statement. The Lord alone knows how people in the past ever made any progress without clearly stating in one sentence what the hoped to achieve in life. It was no wonder mankind had spent so many years just living in caves and drinking nothing but water.
Naturally we realized that the Mission Statement would need discussion in subcommittees.
I formed the first subcommittee under my own Chairmanship; I was to be the only member. I assigned myself, with the support of the members of The Committee, an undertaking to decide what we really meant by the term “mission”. This would take an age to investigate; research would be needed and I would no doubt have to spend time at libraries and using the new fangled internet thing. Plus there would be a report to compile. On a conservative estimate I suggested three months before I would be in a position to present a draft report before the Committee; Alfred’s cat considered this not unreasonable and so I was on my way!
Angelo formed himself into a separate subcommittee to investigate the meaning and relevance of the term “statement”. We all generally felt this would require less of a timescale to complete so by unanimous vote Angelo also became Secretary to The Main Committee, the perception being that he had the least demanding subcommittee to manage and hence plenty of time to keep track of the everyday events of everyone else.
By far the most challenging duty was assigned to Alfred and his cat. The were asked to give a report on the full meaning of “mission statement”. Semantics aside this was going to be a doozy! The first draft would not be expected for at least four months.
Again we adjourned to the hedgehog to contemplate progress. I still had the same number of feet and Alfred and Angelo were still keen to spot young ladies roaming the vast plains.
What had we achieved so far?
We could see the committee level stage was putting a structure to our festooning corporate structure. The three subcommittees had quite specific and meaningful tasks which we felt would impel our business forward and allow us to show to the world we were experts in “How to waste Time”. The mission statement meanings would be with us in a little over four months. Once we understood what we felt we meant by “Mission Statement” then we felt sure we could write our Mission Statement.
Alfred’s cat banged his gavel to call us to order. Alfred ordered extra pork scratchings. We knew the months ahead would be grueling and we needed our energy if we were to meet our targets!