How to Sabotage Your Organization.

I have been reading an interesting book called Brave New Work, recommended by a colleague.

There was a rather interesting and humorous part where the author lists out a list of things that one may recognize in modern organizations. I’ll write out the list here for context:

  1. Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit shortcuts 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.
  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 the precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  6. Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to reopen the question of the advisability of that decision.
  7. Advocate “caution.” 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 within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
  9. When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.
  10. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
  11. Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, paychecks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
  12. Apply all regulations to the last letter.

This made me laugh because I could for sure think of times when I encountered these types of behavior during my working life. I may also have been guilty of some of these at some point as well!

But it made me wonder, what other ways can we sabotage our organizations? Here are a few thoughts:

1. Encourage Silos

One way to sabotage your organization is to encourage silos. This means that people within the organization only communicate and work with people in their own department or team, and don’t bother to build relationships with people in other departments. This can lead to a lot of inefficiency and frustration, as people end up duplicating work or not being able to access the information or expertise they need.

2. Create an Us vs. Them Mentality

Another way to sabotage your organization is to create an “us vs. them” mentality. This means that people within the organization see other departments or teams as rivals, instead of working together towards a common goal. This can lead to infighting, backstabbing, and ultimately decreased productivity.

3. Promote toxicity

A third way to sabotage your organization is to promote toxicity. This means creating an environment where people are encouraged to be rude, aggressive, or otherwise negative. This can lead to a lot of stress and turnover, as people will not want to work in an environment that is so unpleasant.

4. Encourage a culture of fear

A fourth way to sabotage your organization is to encourage a culture of fear. This means that people are afraid to speak up or take risks, for fear of retribution. This can lead to a lot of stagnation, as people are too scared to try new things or make changes.

5. Micromanage everything

A fifth way to sabotage your organization is to micromanage everything. This means that people are not given the autonomy to do their jobs, and are instead constantly being monitored and told what to do. This can lead to a lot of frustration, as people feel like they are not trusted to do their jobs properly.

These are just a few ways that you can sabotage your organization.

But the funny thing about the 12 points above is that they come from a field manual created by the Unites States Office of Strategic Services in 1944 to help with the war effort. This was a manual that would help ordinary citizens who lived in enemy territory and wanted to help the allies!

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