Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Common Management Techniques As Sabotage

The following list of suggestions for sabotage in a business setting comes via Joho the Blog. Joho explains that this list comes from a 1944 OSS booklet "The Simple Sabotage Field Manual."(pdf) The OSS created this manual to describe guidelines for the "ordinary individual citizen-saboteur" to create a "constant and tangible drag on the war effort of the enemy." The OSS was the precursor of the current CIA.

(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.

Unfortunately, most of us are familiar with these recommendations as everyday realities in our own organizations.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us." - Pogo