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Simple sabotage

At the Enterprise 2.0 conference (which I didn’t attend), Don Burke and Sean Dennehey from the CIA gave a talk on Intellipedia, the CIA’s internal wikipedia. As part of their talk, they cited a manual, including, I think, this:

(1) Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
(2) Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of per­ sonal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate “patriotic” comments.
(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and considera­tion.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.
(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
(5) Haggle over precise wordings of com­munications, minutes, resolutions.
(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
(7) Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reason­able” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the juris­ diction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Their point was that these instructions come from a 1944 manual on how to sabotage a business.

The session’s Web page points to the entire, amazing, declassified manual of simple sabotage. [Tags: ]

4 Responses to “Simple sabotage”

  1. on 11 Jun 2008 at 11:05 amJo

    Yes minister!

  2. on 11 Jun 2008 at 7:01 pmChris Heuer

    More ammo for the big guns – thanks David.

    Was just talking to some folks from some very big companies about their conservative cultures and what they are doing to try to embrace failure… very hard fight for many of us, hope this helps a bit. Funny thing I realized today is that most companies are focused on managing risks, with IT and Legal making a lot of the decisions – few are optimized around exploring opportunities and serving the needs of the market.

  3. on 12 Jun 2008 at 12:53 pmfrancine hardaway

    Right. I write a blog about managing risk for a CEO, and my daughter is a corporate attorney. Large corporations can’t innovate too quickly, because they get kicked in the tail for it if they do. It’s not that they WANT to be what’s described above. But there is so much regulatory bs.

  4. on 19 Jun 2008 at 9:31 pmRon Mecredy

    The first time I saw this blogged about ran all to true of day to day bureacracy….it is one hell of a wake up call.