Published: 06/10/2005 Volume 115 No. 5976 Page 31

Martha is assistant director of modernisation at a primary care trust.

At the end of a busy week, she collapses in front of her PC to e-mail Mary, a former colleague, who has escaped Down Under

Hi Mary

As you know, whenever Roger, our revered head of modernisation, has one of his brilliant ideas everyone else in the office runs for cover.

And when he has an idea designed to put him one ahead in his ongoing battle with Dr Armani, our self-effacing PEC chair, alarm bells really do start ringing. I knew we were in serious trouble when Dr A appeared on TV Local surrounded by young, happening aspiring non-smokers and burnt a giant cigarette on a ceremonial bonfire. Roger was pale with fury at the power of television until inspiration struck.

'Great news, team, ' he said, adjusting his brain-storming collarless shirt.

'We are building on our recent fitness campaign and looking at our inner health as well, developing an authentic vibe before rolling it out to the general public.' Jenny, his long-suffering deputy, started stabbing her apple Danish with a ballpoint pen. It is not like Jenny to treat food with disrespect. 'Rog, It is been a long day, ' she said. 'Can I be really picky and suggest you talk in English?' Roger smiled in a superior way.

'Authenticity, Jenny, ' he said. 'You must know about authentic management by now?' Jenny frowned. 'Does that mean telling people to do boring stuff like dealing with the mail and answering phone calls, rather than just bringing in stupid, faddy innovations that stop them from doing any real work?' she asked. Trudy, our drippy-hippy head of communications, wordlessly passed her some Bach's rescue remedy.

But Rog didn't appear to notice that she sounded a teeny bit fed up.

'Authentic management comprises five dimensions, ' he said. 'Understanding your purpose, practising solid values, leading with your heart, establishing connected relationships and demonstrating self-discipline. All of these are core values that I think you'll find are areas of weakness for Dr Armani.

Love Martha

Next week: stressing the point