A reader writes:
I thought you might find this old OSS/CIA manual from 1944 as interesting examples of bad management. The purpose of the manual was to instruct employees and citizens of enemy states to sabotage the enemy from within.
Some of the sabotage tips sound quite familiar from some of the reader letters. The most relevant tips relevant to your blog can be found near the end of the manual and contain gems such as:
- Managers and Supervisors: To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
- Employees: Work slowly. Think of ways to increase the number of movements needed to do your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one; try to make a small wrench do instead of a big one.
- Organizations and Conferences: When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large and bureaucratic as possible. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
- Telephone: At office, hotel and local telephone switchboards, delay putting calls through, give out wrong numbers, cut people off “accidentally,” or forget to disconnect them so that the line cannot be used again.
- Transportation: Make train travel as inconvenient as possible for enemy personnel. Issue two tickets for the same seat on a train in order to set up an “interesting” argument.
Thanks, and I really enjoy your blog. I’m glad you don’t “[g]ive lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned” (tip 12.a).
Ooooh, thank you for this.
I also like these additional tactics that the manual advises:
- Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw.
- Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
- See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
So if you have a bad manager, maybe she’s just an incredibly competent saboteur.