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How to sabotage a business

2008-06-11 14:25:27.333272+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

David Weinberger reports on a presentation by Don Burke and Sean Dennehey from the CIA, quoting a 1944 booklet on how to sabotage a business:

  1. Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  2. Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.
  3. When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible - never less than five.
  4. Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  5. Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  6. Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  7. Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
  8. Be worried about the propriety of any decision - raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Clearly, "the terrorists" have infiltrated management. Here's the conference session's web page, and here's the BoingBoing entry.

[ related topics: Work, productivity and environment Conferences ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-11 16:34:17.225885+00 by: ghasty

OMG, this article just explained the meetings I've been in so far this morning

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-11 16:49:34.991084+00 by: radix

I've been distributing those points around and asking if the points remind my coworkers of anyone. It's been interesting the variety of answers I've gotten. No one has yet to say, "Nope, haven't seen that behavior here"

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-11 17:43:15.69738+00 by: JT

I think points 1-6 are corporate policies for most private orgs I've worked for.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-12 01:09:48.911721+00 by: meuon

UtiliFlex is the mirror image of most companies. Things have happened like:

Me: Don't we need a "Mission Statetement" on the website? (Toying with him)

JG: No F'n way, I've been in THOSE meetings, Our mission: "Make Money".

Me: OK. -smiling-

Regarding other clients: No comment.