Thursday, January 20, 2022

"Purposeful Stupidity"


For those of us who've been perplexed by workplace behavior—management and employee—in either the government or corporate world, I recently found a manual that demonstrates how timeless these often ridiculous organizational inner workings are. About 80 years ago, this manual set forth the following observed behaviors:

Organizations and Conferences

-Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

-Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.

-When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committee as large as possible — never less than five.

-Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

-Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

-Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.


-In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers.

-Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw.

-To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions.

-Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

-Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.


-Work slowly

-Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can.

-Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.

-Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

Here's a link to the manual. Well worth a read. 


Anonymous said...

Can we add: Appoint person with ZERO federal experience to be US Attorney?

Paul Petruzzi said...

And hire AUSAs accordingly

Anonymous said...

Experience is overrated