Published: 10/01/2001, Volume 112, No. 5787 Page 116

Happy New Year! And forget about those auld acquaintances: 2002 is the year to get strictly modern! For those who are not quite in the vanguard of futuristic thinking, Monitor kicks off the year with some handy hints to help you on your way.

l Get rid of that beard! Evidence-based research shows facial hair is so last year. If CHI's Peter Homa can manage without, so can you.

l Make sure you are connected in the best possible way. Being part of an 'inner circle' which is 'disconnected' from the rest of the organisation is fine if you are a minister, but no use at all if you want a reputation for leadership. Or something like that.

l Become a little bit regional and a little bit over-familiar: ideally take on the guise of a Professional Northerner. And There is more to it than a broad accent.

It is all about demonstrating your skills as a man (sic) of the people. David Fillingham showed the glitterati at the launch of HSJ 's leadership guide exactly how to do it, gathering a crowd around him before telling the inspirational story of Maxine, the 'young but incredibly competent' nurse in Staffordshire, who was so able she didn't even need a surname!

l And finally, always listen carefully. When Monitor heard tales that Roy Lilley had likened the Modernisation Agency's logo to the work of Modigliani, he quickly committed the rumours to print. However, Roy was soon in touch:

'The artist I referred to is Mondrian.' Somewhat pointedly, he also provides biographic details of Mondrian, 'for your deaf journo to learn and write out 50 times'.

Monitor would not be so foolish as to ask the aurally and, indeed, graphically challenged HSJ editorial team to perform such a task. However in his attempts to put the matter right, Roy 'ubiquitous' Lilley makes a startling public confession: 'I may not know my ass from my elbow, but I do know my Mondrians from my Moglianis'. HSJ has stored the admission of Roy's ass/elbow confusion in a high-security vault for the countless occasions when such evidence will be called upon.