The Scotchtape Letters (With apologies to CS Lewis)

To my dearest nephew, The Brainy One

I offer you my joyous felicitations in welcoming you as my more than worthy successor as the Chief Priest of the Conclave of Orc-Clerics and Ministry of Healing. I can think of no brainier successor than you, my dear. It’s been a long ten Middle-Earth cycles and I am finally moving on. I must say I am leaving you the Office of the Chief Priest in far better shape than I found it. I am sure you will, just as I have, continue to raise the Office of the Chief Priest to ever greater heights of grandiosity and power.

Nonetheless, I hope you do not mind if I proffer you some unsolicited advice so as to help you ease into the job.

The first principle you must observe is that you must have no moral principles. Please leave your conscience at the door before you wear the Chief Priest’s robes. On the other hand immoral or at least amoral principles are necessary and often welcome.

The second principle you should adopt is that you have no friends. None of the orc-clerics are your friends. Even if some of them were your friends, once you become the Chief Priest, they are now your enemies. If need be, you will oppress, subjugate or even destroy them. It is not for no reason that the last three digits of your communicator extension is “007”. You are licensed to kill. Wantonly and for effect, if necessary.

You want a friend? Get a dog.

Once you have mastered the above, you will probably, like me, have a long and successful spell as Chief Priest. But of course, these are still some tactical advice that I would like to give you to ensure that your reign will be a safe and glorious one.

Tactical Advice #1

Make BIG mistakes; not small ones. We all make mistakes. But it is important that when we do so, the mistake must be BIG. It must be so big that it cannot be seen to fail or for the decision to be reversed. This is similar to how the American banks were too big to fail in the last global financial crisis.

Do not ever make small mistakes. They will slowly cripple you and your reputation, especially if they are known to the Temple Masters that hired us.

Take the example of how I revamped entirely the orc-cleric specialty training system. The entire system is now too big to fail, even if it is not working out. It cannot be reversed because there will be too much of a loss of face to the Temple and too much resources have been committed.

Tactical Advice #2

Absolute Control is to be ensured at all costs. If necessary, sacrifice any number of orc-clerics to achieve this. Important decisions are to be only made by one person and one person only – the ChiefPriest. There is no need to consult anyone, not at least those bloody obnoxious professional guilds and bodies. However, in this day and age, there is this tiresome public expectation that there should be consultation and consensus.This can be addressed by forming committees stuffed with your cronies. Or if necessary, when there is some controversy, form a reveal committee that is designed to reveal nothing. Speaking of which, I did form such a reveal committee some time back. It has revealed nothing so far on my watch. I trust you will continue with this opacity.

You will also find upon your arrival that only yes-orc clerics remain in the White Tower. Practically all naysayers have been removed or have left on their own accord in my time.

Tactical Advice #3

Speak in Absolutes. As Obiwan Kenobi said in Episode 3 of Star Wars – “Only the Sith speaks in absolutes”.

Of course, the devil is in the details and some of the things I had proposed either do not work or demand too much resources to work. When those pesky critics come charging with their reasons as to why my idea is a bad one – I will hit back with absolutes such as

“Why are you against setting up a system of structured and rigourous training?”

“We must assess our trainees more to ensure quality and safety!”

“Log books will help to ensure currency and competency”

It is very hard to argue against statements of absolutes.After all, “absolute” values such as quality improvement, patient safety,competency, structured training are held sacrosanct by the public. Absolutism is especially handy when you need to cover up mistakes and weaknesses. If you look at America now, practically all of Congress is stuck in absolutism. There is no compromise and no thought of working your way through issues between both major political parties. I love The American Way – nothing gets done….

Tactical Advice #4

Outsource the problem. You do not have to solve everything. In fact, you shouldn’t. Bring in respected foreign systems and expertise to solve the problems so that even if the solution doesn’t work, theChief Priest doesn’t get the blame. It is similar to how some sneaky administrators keep hiring management consultants to do their dirty work for them. Take no risk.

When I had a problem with accused orc-clerics at the Inquisition Panels, I got the law changed to allow legal procurators to chair the Panels. In other words, I outsourced the problem to them. When I needed to revamp and speed up specialty training, I spent tens of millions of middle-earth credits to adopt Uncle Samuel’s methods and to get Uncle Samuel’s team down to impose their implement their framework.

Tactical Advice #5

Minutes of Meetings are important. The Temple Masters pay us our salary and we should be seen to serve them. We should tell them the truth as we honestly see it. This is mainly effected by writing appropriate Minutes of Meeting. If some idiot opposed my idea vehemently, I will get it recorded as “Idiot A expressed some concerns” in the Minutes. If another idiot threatened to immolate himself in protest, it will be recorded as “Idiot B expressed reservations”. If everyone kept rather silent at a meeting, that would be deemed as “broad consensus”.

Minutes of Meetings are important tools in the management of our Temple Masters.

Tactical Advice #6

Crush the Guilds. This is perhaps the most important advice I can give you and I will accordingly deal with this subject at some length.

Professional Guilds are the pestilences that must be destroyed. They are like festering chronic abscesses. I should know – I was very active in one of them. I have an entire armamentarium to deal with these obnoxious vermin. I must confess that early in my term in office, I did go to one of them for some minor assistance when I messed up some public relations event, but since then, I have not looked back. Unfortunately they still exist, albeit now in a very impoverished state. I leave it to your good hands to utterly exterminate them in your good time.

The first method is to belittle them. Each guild is no more important numerically than a single doctor. For example when we ask for feedback on using legal procurators on our panels, any feedback from an individual orc-healer is counted as one feedback. The feedback from a guild council representing a few thousand members is also counted as one, single,feedback; no different from that of a single doctor. Such statistical practices also help me to manage the perception of the Temple Masters and the public.

The next thing is when they clamour for more responsibilities and resources, I will deny them on the basis that we cannot have a long term relationship of trust because their leadership is unstable and may change with each general members meeting. And if they criticize my work,then I will do a 180-degree turn and accuse the guild that that certain undesirable individuals have entrenched themselves in the guild leadership rendering any mutually edifying relationship impossible. Heads I win, tails you lose.

Also, some of these guilds may set a trap for you by behaving like supplicants and asking you to meet the orc-clerics at some town hall session. Do not ever turn up, but evade at all costs. In fact, accuse them of engaging in collective action. We work behind the scenes and meeting stakeholders to get real feedback and discuss issues is not the kind of work Chief Priests do.

And finally, when a certain guild or association continues to criticize me, go nuclear. I will consider shooting off a letter scolding them, accusing them of all kinds of things, including serious leadership problems and conduct lapses. The letter should be copied to a lot of people, including the Temple Masters, so as to show them I am a mighty warrior of great skill, resolve and courage. The letter should also paradoxically be marked “confidential” such that the guild that has been chastised cannot tell anyone they have been so admonished or defend themselves in public. I will sign off as Chief Priest of the Conclave. This may unwittingly give the impression that I have consulted and all Members of the Conclave have agreed with me when in truth, I never did ask for all of their approval or concurrence before I send off my nuclear letter.  Trust me, going ballistic helps, especially when the Conclave cannot be sued for defamation but the guilds can be.

Final Words

It has been a wonderful time in office for me. I wish you the best. In case you need my input in anything, you know where to find me – at the Edifice of Cleric Testing, where I shall continue to tinkle with novel ideas of making the lives of orc-healers more miserable. Do drop in for a spot of tea when you are free.

I wish you many rewarding years as Chief Priest.

Yours Affectionately,

Uncle Scotchtape

Chief Priest Emeritus,

Conclave of Orc-Clerics and Ministry of Healing

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