By Steve Moran

I recently came across a document from the 1940s that seems to accurately talk about what ineffective organizations are like. They have a list of about 20 items, here are 13.

  1. An insistence on doing everything through proper channels and procedures. Never support short-cuts to speed processes up.
  2. In meetings, make big long speeches and give everyone time to talk as much as possible. Illustrate every point and use long anecdotes.
  3. Create committees to figure out and decide everything and make those committees as inclusive as possible, meaning at least 5 members, in order to get well-rounded decisions.
  4. Bring up irrelevant or nearly irrelevant issues just to make sure every item is thoroughly covered.
  5. Make sure you get the work product of every committee exactly right. You can’t be too careful about choosing the right wording and phrasing. Even do this with meeting minutes, because you never know when someone might need to look at them again.
  6. When decisions have been made, question them and try to revisit the issues in question.
  7. ALWAYS advocate caution and careful consideration, so you do not make any mistakes, because mistakes might be either embarrassing or cause difficulties later on.
  8. Make sure that every decision made is actually within the jurisdiction or areas of responsibility of those making the decisions. Make sure the decisions made never create conflict, particularly with those at higher levels of leadership.
  9. Always demand written instructions at least by email.
  10. Make sure you ask lots and lots of questions about everything you are asked to do or participate in. You can never have too much clarity.
  11. Save money by waiting until the last minute to order supplies that you need to do your job. Or even wait until you are all the way out of the things you need.
  12. Insist on perfect work each and every time. Don’t be afraid to have work redone if there is even the slightest thing wrong with it.
  13. Deal with inefficient poor workers, by finding ways to praise them, to feed their egos.

These don’t actually come from a leadership book but rather from a 1944 book, titled “Simple Sabotage Field Manual”, that the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) produced to help civilians in fighting against the Nazis.

It is a bit scary that the things the government recommended to sabotage the Nazi war machine are too often a major part of corporate America, even a part of too many senior living organizations.

It might be worth exploring which of these things are happening in your organization, sabotaging your organization.

If you want to take a look at the entire document you can find it HERE.

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