At Ice Blue Sky our culture is everything. Client-side I saw plenty of agency cultures that were less than healthy, and I’ve seen plenty since, and it’s always been very important to me that we maintain a collaborative, supportive environment.
Rather amusingly recently, I discovered a document called The Simple Sabotage Field Manual, which included some specific outlines for how to build chaos in an organisation.
The Simple Sabotage Field Manual was produced by the United States Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. The OSS was a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was responsible for conducting espionage and covert operations during the war.
The manual was first published in 1944 and was distributed to OSS agents and other intelligence operatives who were operating behind enemy lines. Its purpose was to provide simple and effective methods for carrying out acts of sabotage against enemy organizations, governments, and infrastructure.
The manual contained instructions on a variety of sabotage techniques that could be employed in different settings. These included techniques for sabotaging production, communication, decision-making, morale, and equipment.
For me, sadly, some of the advice reads like an instruction manual for how some companies operate today, but is a great list of things to avoid if you want to build a healthy, productive environment.
For instance, let’s focus on the three areas that relate most to us as a service business:
Sabotage of Communication:
- Spread false rumors or misinformation to create confusion
- Withhold critical information from key individuals or departments
- Encourage excessive reliance on written reports, which can delay decision-making
Sabotage of Decision-Making:
- Encourage the use of complicated procedures or bureaucracy to slow down decision-making – never less than five people on a decision making committee
- Create unnecessary work or excessive demands on management to distract them from important decisions
- Encourage decision-makers to focus on minor details and ignore the bigger picture
Sabotage of Morale:
- Foster resentment and mistrust among team members or departments
- Create a sense of isolation or paranoia among individuals or groups
- Encourage employees to focus on personal interests instead of organisational goals
So there you have it, does your culture reinforce or run away from these 😉
You can access it here if you need it for your employment manual: