WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT

''No profit grows where is no pleasure taken,'' writes the oldest, and yet newest, business consultant: William Shakespeare. Having fun in business does grow profit, just as jumbo profit heightens the joy of being in business, especially at year-end bonus time.

Shakespeare has been at the top of the charts for 400 years, most recently as the British Broadcasting Corp. listeners' Man of the Millennium. That constitutes a long run: As Hollywood would say, ''Shakespeare has legs.''Now Shakespeare, also known as the Bard, has become a hit among corporate executives. In other words, the Bard boom is hitting the boardroom.

What does Shakespeare bring into the executive suite?

First, awareness of what makes people tick.

Shakespeare has more astute perceptions and depictions of human nature than anyone else in history. And business depends upon people more than any other element. Knowing human nature leads to success; not knowing or caring about human nature leads to failure.

Second, Shakespeare tells stories. Executives, like everyone, learn more from stories than from long lists of do's and don'ts.

And so, here is the Man of the Millennium as business consultant:

On year-end bonuses for record-setting profit: ''They laugh that win.'' (''Othello'')

On the difficulty of corporate life: ''How full of briars is the working day world!'' (''Twelfth Night'')

On performance-based compensation: '' 'Tis deeds must win the prize.'' (''Taming of the Shrew'')

On clear directions to subordinates: ''I have told them over and over. They lack no direction.'' (''Merry Wives of Windsor'')

On timing in negotiations: ''For I must tell you friendly in your ear: Sell when you can. You are not for all markets.'' (''As You Like It'')

On setting ambitious business goals: ''O, the blood more stirs to rouse a lion than to start a hare!'' (''Henry IV, Part I'')

On corporate downsizing: ''Superfluous branches we lop away, that bearing boughs may live.'' (''Richard II'')

On response to consultant studies: ''Bring me no more reports. Let them fly all!'' (''Macbeth'')

On mergers and acquisitions: ''The great ones eat up the little ones.'' (''Pericles'')

On the joys of marketing: ''All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoyed.'' (''Merchant of Venice'').

On setting priorities: ''Small to greater matters must give way.'' (''Antony and Cleopatra'')

On enduring cocktail hours: ''I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.'' (''Othello'')

On seller's markets: ''When rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.'' (''Much Ado About Nothing'')

On interacting with corporate counsel: ''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.'' (''Henry VI, Part I'')

On disappointing quarterly financial reports: ''Be cheerful. Wipe thine tears. Some falls are means the happier to arise.'' (''Cymbeline'')

On a lucky hit: ''Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.'' (''Cymbeline'')

On corporate press briefings: ''Speak on, but be not over-tedious.'' (''Henry VI, Part I'')

On promoting from within: ''Who does in the wars more than his captain can, becomes his captain's captain.'' (''Antony and Cleopatra'')

On a clear chain of command: ''How in one house should many people under two commands hold amity? 'Tis hard. Almost impossible.'' (''King Lear'')

On corporate giants such as Bill Gates, Jack Welch and Warren Buffett: ''Why, man, they doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, and we petty men walk under their huge legs and peep about . . . '' (''Julius Caesar'')

On workers with pride and values: ''I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other men's good.'' (''As You Like It'')

And here's the best advice for the whole next millennium: ''Live a little, comfort a little, cheer thyself a little.'' (''As You Like It'')