Outlook Report #007

The following constitues the team leader's report for the final Outlook team challenge of 2nd October 1994, undertaken by B group. It contains a discussion of the various roles carried out as defined by the Belbin methodology.

Plant - The Plant member is "creative, imaginative and unorthodox". It was Robert who suggested an act of planned arson as our challenge, an idea which admirably fulfilled the above criteria.

Resource Investigator - As such, Carolyn was able to locate a suitable free source of high octane petrol obtainable "no questions asked" through an undercover Glyndwr member she met in the pub.

Shaper - Iestyn admirably fulfilled the role of Shaper, being able to easily remove obstacles in our path such as the nightwatchman who attempted to prevent us gaining entry to the building. The fact that he is also scrum forward in the rugby team with a grudge against humanity helped considerably.

Monitor Evaluator - It was Diane who procured a fast car "capable of outrunning police vehicles", pointing out that such a major conflagration would attract swift attention from the emergency services.

Specialist - Simon proved a surprisingly knowledgeable source of reference on common fire hazards, brigade call-out times and sundry other matters of direct relevance to our task. I attribute this to his time in borstal following a notable incident during his school career. However, I have not been able to confirm this as his academic records were, of course, destroyed in the fire along with his art teacher.

Implementer - When it came to actually distributing the fuel and striking the matches prior to leaving the scene as quickly as possible, David was our man. His efficiency must surely mark him out as ideally suited to a life of organised crime.

Completer-Finisher - Despite David's care and attention, it was Julie who remembered to open all doors and windows in order to ensure that the blaze spread quickly and effectively. She was also able to return to the scene the following day and "persuade" an investigating officer to relinquish an incriminating empty petrol can.

Team Worker - Being mild, accommodating and completely naive, Malcolm made the perfect fall guy. Having refused to accompany us, he was still at home when the police broke down his doors an hour after the blaze in response to "an anonymous tip-off". It is much to Malcolm's credit, and entirely predictable, that he has said nothing about our involvement throughout the last four days of intensive questioning at the local station. His initial appearance in the magistrates court on charges of "arson and assault" takes place next week. As loyal and supportive team members, we shall naturally be attending to wish him well.

In conclusion, I feel that I have executed my role as co-ordinator to an admirable and effective degree, being able to draw together the diverse talents of several very different people (Diane confessed afterwards that this was her first criminal act, but that she hoped to take part in many more in future!). I hope this report also serves to explain why, when you arrived for work on Monday, you found your offices burnt to a cinder and your Belbin assessment materials in the ashes. Please do not attempt to contact the police as our most recent assignment has been the covert surveillance of your wife and family, and we are well-placed to make full and violent use of the information gained as a result.

Peter L. Ogilvy,

B team co-ordinator

(Note: The Belbin methodology defines nine distinct roles necessary for effective team work, and attempts to identify those people best suited to each role. Whether you accept it or not depends on how you were potty-trained as a child and whether you are naturally predisposed to place limiting and artificial classifications on your colleagues. If so, take heart that you are ideally suited to the role of "confused middle management" in the personnel division of a faceless corporate organisation. Outlook is an office into which the University pours spare cash, hoping they will manage to demolish the ivory towers of academia. The Belbin methodology forms a central part of their work. Go figure.)