Skip to Content

Culture is extremely important in any organisation.


It has been said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.[1]

I might go so far as to say culture eats everything for breakfast.

Culture is the way we do things around here. It is a collective habits and norms of any organisation.


So if you plotted the habits the individuals in an organisation the culture that emerges is the where the plot has the most focus.

So if a there is a culture of celebration in an organisation when one member of the organisation achieves something it is celebrated and everyone is overjoyed at the great work and effort that they have been doing.

If there is a culture of backstabbing then tight cliques will form and talk about those in those cliques.


So two important points about culture:

  1. The collective culture is made up of collection of individual habits
  2. Individuals can change


So if we want to change our collective culture individuals have to change.


One way to affect this is by having the older members of a community be involved with the younger members. For example the way Grandparents telling grandchildren stories about what it was like for them when they grew up. Not to glory in the ‘good-old-days’ but to share stories of triumph over insurmountable odds, to pass on courage and to believe in a better tomorrow.


With all this in mind a couple of the Senior mentors and Alumni got together and decided one way to impart a little culture was to do a little sketch in the style of Monty Python.


This was performed at the SAP TechEd && d-Code mentors meeting by John Astill, Mark Finnnern, Graham Robertson and myself. I present it for you now for your reading pleasure.

THE SCENE:

Four welldressed men are sitting together at a vacation resort sipping on glasses of wine and eating a delicious meal.

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

Aye, very passable, that, very passable bit of risotto.

SECOND ALUMNIMAN:

Nothing like a good glass of Château de Chasselas, eh?

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

You’re right there, Mark.

FOURTH ALUMNIMAN:

Who’d have thought 7 years ago we’d all be sittin’ here drinking Château de Chasselas, eh and

meeting with all these executives? 

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

In them days we used to be glad to have the price of tshirt on our back

SECOND ALUMNIMAN:

badly fitting tshirt

FOURTH ALUMNIMAN:

without sleeves or collar

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

or shirt!

SECOND ALUMNIMAN:

Best we could do is wrap our selves up in some torn up rags

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

Because we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness, son”.

FOURTH ALUMNIMAN:

Aye, ‘e was right.

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

Aye, ‘e was.

FOURTH ALUMNIMAN:

I was happier then and I had nothin’. We would be happy to meet with executives for lunch.

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

Executive meetings eh?: We had to hold Hasso hostage with a “I stop at every user exit” sticker,

just  to get a picture with him. 

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

Picture? with an executive? We had bribe executive with Hugh MacLeod prints to mere seconds

of their attention

FOURTH ALUMNIMAN:

Well when I say Lunch it was more executive tossing us a piece of stale bread into coding lab on

way to keynote but it were lunch to us.

SECOND ALUMNIMAN:

We used to dream of coding lab …

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

Coding Lab! You were lucky to code in lab ! We used to code in one room, all twentysix of us,

no desks, ‘alf the floor was missing, and we were all ‘uddled together in one corner for fear of

falling.

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to code in t’ corridor!

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

Oh, we used to dream of coding in a corridor! Would ha’ been a palace to us. We used to code

in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woke up every morning by having a load of rotting

fish dumped all over us! Coding lab? Huh.

FOURTH ALUMNIMAN:

Well, when I say coding lab it was only a hole in the ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it

was a lab to us.

SECOND ALUMNIMAN:

We were evicted from our ‘ole in the ground; we ‘ad to go and code in a lake.

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us coding  in t’ shoebox in t’

middle o’ road.

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

Cardboard box?

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

Aye.

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

You were lucky. We were on project for three months while living  in a paper bag in a septic tank.

We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go and write code in ide, fourteen hours a day, weekin weekout, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt.

SECOND ALUMNIMAN:

Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, code twenty hour day in notepad for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!

THIRD ALUMNIMAN:

Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to ‘ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o’clock at

night and lick road clean wit’ tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel for breakfast, code twentyfour hours a day in assembly language for sixpence every four years, and when we got

home our Dad would slice us in two wit’ bread knife.

FOURTH ALUMNIMAN:

Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, code in binary twentynine hours a day, and pay project manager  for

permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and Mum would kill us and

dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

FIRST ALUMNIMAN:

And you try and tell the young mentors of today that … they won’t believe you.

ALL:

They won’t! No no they wont .



So I trust this tickled your funny bone and I look forward to seeing the fruits of the new SAP Mentors.


With apologies to Monty Python.

To report this post you need to login first.

2 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Mark Finnern

    I overlooked this post first time around. Love the idea and the implementation. Just for the ones that didn’t get the reference. Here the first picture of SAP Mentors with Hasso Plattner: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/howlett/inside-the-mind-of-sap/3434

    Oh and the Hugh MacLeod print picture is part of this story: SAP Mentors, Certification Five geek out with Bill McDermott

    In Berlin we were this close to get Hasso Plattner to join the Geeks Can Dance Jam Band for 2 songs. He gave the green light that he would come, but was only able to make it happen on Wednesday and we plaid on Tuesday and were not able to built it into the celebration night, so he didn’t come. Made me really happy that he would have come out just to join the band 🙂

    Love that, Mark.

    (0) 

Leave a Reply