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Big hairy days loom for TTA

Ralph Tabberer, head honcho at the Teacher Training Agency, is a big man. He stands about six foot tall with barely an ounce of fat on his powerful frame. All the more impressive, he used to have a wonderfully bushy moustache.

These personal observations are relevant because Tabberer seems particularly to value the qualities of hairiness and bigness. Members of an audience at a General Teaching Council and Institute of Education conference last week were extravagantly praised by the chief executive for having "big hairy audacious ideas"!

Nor is Mr Tabberer alone in valuing these qualities in the workplace. The phrase is used in management-speak and was popularised in 1995 in the business bible Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. The authors spoke of ambitious "big hairy audacious goals" - presumably mainly thought up by big hairy men, which were characteristic of successful companies.

TTA employees and teachers curious to know what other hirsute ideas may be floating about in the great man's head should note that the same book identified a "cult-like culture", in which staff were indoctrinated to follow their leaders, as vital to progress.

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