A Lost Chapter from the “Double Secret” Handbook for bad Executives

Found in the mailroom in an interoffice envelope with the sender/receiver names left blank. The mailroom guy slipped it to me. We both got a good laugh.

Chapter 9 Teaching the Simpletons about Simplicity

It’s time to take a good hard look at the mindset of the lower level management and workforce within your company. Have you ever wondered why they just don’t get it, why they just can’t make things happen as quickly as you’d like or why they are perpetually failing? The answer is so blatantly obvious – they just don’t realize that everything is simple! They are the ones that make everything so darned difficult.

Perhaps you’ve just read the latest trendy book or article on the subject of success or attended a two-day seminar in Palm Beach or Jackson Hole. Maybe you’ve just come into the organization from another company that is considered successful. In any case, you were hired to “raise the bar”, to go from “better to best” and to search for “greatness”. You now know all of the secret buzzwords and acronyms and have memorized all of the key performance indicators. But the biggest secret of all is how simple it all can be – just like it was all spelled out in the articles, books and seminars or at your former company.

The workforce can’t see the forest for the trees. They haven’t grasped the concept that all are things simple. They’ve wasted their time on day-to-day tasks and just getting by. They’ve made being successful hard. The employees need motivation and a new direction. They need to be imbued with your confidence that it’s all quite simple. They need to become true believers as you have.

Let’s start with a new mission statement – a gut wrenching revelation from on high. Something like, “Folks, we’ve been complacent for far too long. We need to be more successful. All we have to do is be like other successful companies. It’s all quite simple. We’ll do what they do and we’ll be successful as well.”

There, now that you’ve communicated your new vision, it’s time to “talk the walk” or “walk the talk” or “walk the walk” or whatever one does next. Your attitude toward simplicity is key here. Here are some tips and tactics to help communicate just how simple this will all be. Your actions will speak volumes about your commitment.

– Don’t make a big deal about attending meetings. Just flit in and out. Your attitude about meetings will communicate the simplicity of it all. Stay only long enough to make a pronouncement or two about the items needing change. As an example, “The MALCON metric at XYZ Corporation is 9. We’ll need to start measuring ours against that benchmark. I’ll expect a progress report every Monday morning.” Make sure to never stick around to discuss the details. You’ve made it simple enough. So what if they’ve never heard of the MALCON metric before or even know how or if they can calculate it. It must be simple if XYZ Corporation can measure it. It’s just a number and your company’s needs to be the same or better.

– When you set new requirements or interject your words of wisdom, do so with the same aloof aura of self-confidence. While you talk about change, crunch on a mint or look out the window to feign disinterest in things so utterly simple. You need to show the workforce that it’s all quite matter of fact. The rest is up to them. They won’t want to be embarrassed by appearing not to think it’s simple as well.

– Not that you ever would anyway, but never ask in depth questions about how things are done or what is takes to change anything. Only ask for commitments on when the changes will be made. If they complain, tell them that they’ve worked too long and hard on making things difficult. Now they need to work smarter on making things simple. (How about that for a motivational line?)

– Never discuss the need for additional resources to change things around. Simply put, the resources are right there. Make it clear that you’re talking to those resources. So what if XYZ Corporation or the company that you just came from had more resources to facilitate change. You’re not comparing your company’s RESOURCES to XYZ’s or any other companies’ for that matter. You’re only comparing your company’s RESULTS to theirs. Tell the complainers that comparing results is “apples to apples” but that comparing resources would be “apples to tomatoes.” There, see how simple?

– If you decide that the workforce really needs help with the concept, suggest they read those trendy books about cheese or fish or some other food groups. You’ve read all of these books. They were simple to understand. After all, you understood them. You know the difference between apples and tomatoes.

Always remember that declaring all things to be simple is your department. Making things happen might be more difficult – but that’s their department. You’re doing your bit. It’s time that they stepped up to the plate and did theirs.

PS We never said that SIMPLE meant EASY. Don’t tell them that! If word gets out, watch out for the flying tomatoes.

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2 Responses to “A Lost Chapter from the “Double Secret” Handbook for bad Executives”

  1. Don Says:

    The most predominant problem as I see it is that the simpletons tend to float to the top, to the levels where strong organizations have LEADERS. Sorely absent from the higher ranks of many corporations are the folks with a vision who have the ability to LEAD their organizations toward that vision. Unfortunately, as with the company I work for, the majority of enterprises as OVER MANAGED and UNDER LEAD! There is clearly a difference between management and leadership.

  2. thecorporatecynic Says:

    I could not have said it better myself.

    If you have a chance, go back into the archived posts under the “Never to Amaze” category. These are real stories from my own experience. I couldn’t make these tales up if I tried.

    The real point of the blog is this: If you want to be a true leader and a good manager and if you want to have a healthy and productive organization, read these stories and DON’T do what these so-called leaders and organizations do.

    Keep coming back, Don. We need you!

    Cheers!

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