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(* = OVERHEAD, to be shown at the time indicated.)
(This presentation was given to the pediatric department of HealthPartners in January 1999.)

Introduction: It is now time for the report from the consultant group on corporate identity.

Thank you for having me here to interface with your... faces. I am Frank Glib, with the consulting firm, Calvin and Hobbes.(*CALVIN AND HOBBES) I have been with C&H for 13 years and hold down the position of Vice President in Charge of Foolish Questions.

In our preliminary study, of your organization, commissioned specifically for your department, we have identified a number of identity issues (*IDENTITY). And we are more than happy to talk about them (as long as we keep getting paid by the hour.) Remember, we are not image MAKERS or spin doctors.

What you are is what you are and we think that's either OK or up to you to define. (*SPIN [DOWN]) But, fundamentally, we believe that if you are spinning, you need to make that known to the public in the most positive sense (*SPIN [UP]). Basically, if you can get the world to spin the same way, they will appreciate you. [LIGHTS OUT]

A little about us. We are an old firm, but have stayed contemporary. We actually created and pioneered the identity field.

One of our founder's first clients was a CEO with an identity association of ruthlessness and bottom-line mentality. He had amassed a large empire and was really the main force to be reckoned with in his market for over 40 years. His long-term employees basically worshipped him.

Yet the general perception tended to focus on his more strikingly, uh, pragmatic business practices, such as eliminating competition by imprisoning and... enucleating conquered CEO's... and executing their families. Now, you may be taken aback by this, but it was common at the time and he simply perfected the technique.

Still, we successfully steered the public away from this potentially negative perception towards an appreciation of the architectural beauty and environmental sensitivity of the firm's home office. And today, when you think of Nebuchadnezzar, you probably think immediately of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and not hanging enemies.

LogoI can show you a prototype of his corporate logo (*HEALTHPARTNERS LOGO). We feel it is a masterful piece of work, symbolically reducing the four sided massive wall system of the city, with its 60 mile perimeter and multiple terraces, to a simple figure that conveys life and growth.

Tragically, we did NOT have the privilege of making a successful final presentation. In this case, Mr. N. actually terminated the contract... and our representative, in what must be called an unfortunate example of inadequate market research and poor timing, ended up in a very hot furnace. [LIGHTS OUT]

Now, of course, your situation is VERY different and we do not think there is as much to do or as far to go in effectively presenting your organization to the public. You may have a little more trouble internally but we feel you are also making a good start there.

The Department of Corporate Communications is a good example. (*A BLIND HORSE) We liked their Division of Euphemisms (*SEES JUST AS WELL) and the grasp they showed of the kind of approach we are talking about (*AT EITHER END).

For example: (*BYE-BYE) during the recent layoffs, the pink slips said it all with the phrase, "Group Health is a great place to work, but you don't work here anymore."

We recommend that you give this exemplary department a chance to study the present perceptions of the "IX-NAY Guidelines." (*IX-NAY) It is our initial finding that there is no perception at all... and that this may be best.

May I interject that we all need to be aware of the latest trends. And as of this morning, Mr. and Ms. are on the way out as terms of address and reference in favor of the gender neutral, "M." (*M) [LIGHTS OUT]

For those of you involved in the territorially contested U of M / Fairview newborn intensive care unit, it should be good news that we have been able to negotiate a cease fire and arrange for a UN peace keeping force. Partitioning and self-rule are just around the corner. This was all arranged at a secret conference in Paris by unnamed high ranking officials. Because of the sensitive nature of the matter, I am sure you will understand that no overheads are available. I hope you are still able to follow me. Should I speak more slowly?

(*L-D-R-P) Consumer focus groups on the new L-D-R-P (Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Post Partum) rooms at "The Birthplace" show high levels of acceptance . In fact, there is a strong demand for enlargement of the concept. With the preterm labor program, this can easily become P-L-D-R-P (Pregnancy/Labor/Delivery/Recovery/PostPartum.) And, of course, incorporating the infertility service, it becomes C-P-L-D-R-P (Conception/Pregnancy/Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Post Partum). Unused rooms could be rented on a short term basis as motel rooms. (*C)

Our study, however, indicates the highest interest in a creative pioneering move into an entirely new market. (*C-P-L-D-R-P-DC-PS-CP) With concern about the hazards of Daycare and the steadily plummeting quality of public education, we recommend the institution of C-P-L-D-R-P-DC-PS-CP. This would incorporate consumer desires and put your organization in the forefront of the technological revolution as the only major player in the market for Conception/Pregnancy/Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Post Partum/Day Care/Pre-School/College Prep.

On the other hand and at the other end of the ideological spectrum, (*MILLIONS BIRTHED) we do not discourage the continued development of the "Drive Through Delivery Service." In fact, there may be room for a joint venture here in developing an integrated healthcare system (*VAN PEOPLE) for the growing population of de facto homeless "Van People." [LIGHTS OUT]

Internally, some work needs to be done in the area of the fierce interdepartmental rivalry for bigger slices of the pie. We have tentatively identified what appears to be the primary source of your difficulty. Pediatricians are basically perceived as "Baby Doctors" (*CUTE) and thus small, weak and easily deceived.

We feel you have taken a big step in the right direction by becoming "Adolescent Doctors," (*MOODY) thus interjecting a sense of unpredictability and danger into the equation.

(*POWERFUL) We may come up with a more detailed set of recommendations including guidelines on the throwing of surgical instruments across the room, or how to effectively threaten to require routine colonoscopies on upper management. Which actually makes some sense on a theoretical basis, since it is well known that they need to be... uh, um." (*PERFECT _____)

Whether or not to select a Department Chairman who is incapable of smiling (*GROUCHY) becomes a thorny issue. You would probably have to look outside of your specialty to find the proper personality, unless you limited your search to the subgroups of Pediatric Pulmonologists, or Neonatologists over the age of 50.

There are a number of unemployed despots around the world who might serve you well. Let me add that we are completely capable of finding Jimmy Hoffa if you were really serious about this matter. (*COST/BENEFIT) But the more directive types of leaders do not come cheap and generally frown on the sort of free discussion that you, as a Department, seem to constantly require.

Which brings us to another general comment. It has been noted that doctors who do procedures are paid more than those who talk. (*USE YOUR STRENGTHS) It we successfully reversed that trend for you, to the extent of physicians being paid by the word, your specialty would become the new rich.

(*REDISTRIBUTION) Orthopedists would become beggars and internists would have to say "take these pills" for each prescription. Psychiatrists would tend to become directive and surgeons would tell their jokes to the patients instead of the scrub nurses.

(*MORE TO COME) We are optimistic about the future and about your ability to survive well enough to ask us back in a few years to study the unforeseen developments (that we actually know about but won't disclose at present rates of compensation.)

On the horizon, however, is the impact of diversity support groups on the organization's functional requirements. Although it is not yet a fully organized or completely defined segment of the workforce, we have tried to comply with the demands of the "Humor Challenged" Task Force, while simultaneously avoiding unnecessarily alienating the Orthosociety Helping Prevent Puns and Other Offenses. (*OH-PPOO)

Therefore, let me close with this. (*PLEASE LAUGH)

Are there any questions?

Questioner: Mr. Glib are you wearing both suspenders and a belt?

I'm glad you asked that question. Next Question?

Questioner: But aren't your suspenders attached to your belt?

Thank you very much and goodbye.

All these dramas may be used and shared freely. If you do use them, I would be interested in knowing about it and hearing comments.

Send comments to me at ross{at}

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