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The cool wall

Copperfield on NHS managers who spent £10k on a survey rating the 'coolness' of Adolf Hitler

Top Gear fans will be familiar with the ‘Cool Wall' – Jeremy Clarkson wanders in from stage left with a bundle of photos of cars and the studio audience is allowed to rate them as ‘cool', ‘uncool' or in extreme cases of testosterogenesis, ‘sub-zero'.

The photo is then fixed to the corresponding section of the wall, out of the Hamster's reach in case he disagrees.

So, on a scale of one to five, where 1 is ‘lukewarm' and 5 is ‘Antarctic permafrost', how cool is your senior partner? Yep, mine too, but let's not digress. Compared to, say, Richard Branson, how would you rate the man with the leather elbow patches?

OK, now, how would you rate him against Fabio Capello? Are you seeing the point of this yet? Nope, neither am I. But the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority asked their employees to answer questions like this as part of their mission to 'identify the key characteristics of good leadership', and after all it's only ten grand down the swanee. If they really want a new management structure, one that is suitably strategic, authoritative and serves the good folk of the West Midlands, then surely that's ten grand well spent.

I must confess I'd have missed the story altogether if the two paramedics who compiled the questionnaire hadn't included an over-promoted Austrian lance-corporal in their comparison line-up. They asked, compared to Adolf Hitler, how cool is your boss?

I am, quite honestly, the type of guy who washes his hands after inadvertently handling a copy of the Daily Mail. I wonder whether the Cleggeron's Con-Dem minions really will be able to secure ongoing funding for the NHS on the back of cost-savings rather than tax increases.

But faced with examples like this one, I have to admit that I'm looking forward to seeing a few hundred management consultants facing up to challenging new employment opportunities related to the upcoming economic paradigm shift.

'Sick Notes' by Dr Tony Copperfield is out now, available from Monday Books.