Hands Down

It is earnings season. The time when Wall Street anxiously awaits quarterly earning reports from publicly traded companies. This is arguably one of the most anticlimactic events in the corporate calendar. Since analysts hate surprises (positive or negative), companies give advance “guidance” ahead of the report to tip off the street. This model works well when presenting project status to upper management. Give advanced guidance before the formal presentation to avoid any surprises.

Significant corporate events such as earnings reports are often topics of communication to the troops. This communication can be via company wide e-mail, posted on internal web pages or delivered live at a communication meeting. The so called “all hands meeting” calls all employees to gather like groupies to see their leaders live in concert. The leader is introduced by the emcee, then takes to the podium or stage to the obligatory excited applause from all the hands.

Many believe that the term is derived from the maritime culture in which “all hands” are called on deck to deal with extreme conditions. Others believe it comes from the cowboy culture in which ranch “hands” are called to round up the cattle. Actually, the term comes from the desire of narcissistic leaders to feign celebrity and emulate a rock star persona. That is why it is called an all hands meeting. They want to maximize the applause. You need hands for that.

The applause is good, but really what is desired are screams and whistles. Somehow the “all mouths” meeting didn’t past muster with the Human Resources department. The “big mouths” meeting was approved, but shot down by the presenters. Looks like we will just stick with the applause for now.