Cover image for Sabotaging the Workplace

Sabotaging the Workplace

bhilburn profile image Ben Hilburn Originally published at bhilburn.org ・2 min read

Originally posted on my blog, here: Workplace Sabotage.

I recently stumbled across a declassified field manual first published by the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor to the CIA) in 1944. The manual describes simple methods that everyday citizens can use to sabotage and demoralize the enemy's war effort. It's a relatively short field manual, and you can find the scanned PDF here on the CIA's website.

One of the sections is devoted to sabotaging productive workplaces, and while reading it I actually laughed out loud. It perfectly reflects some of the most frustrating aspects of the more broken corporate cultures I have experienced. Here is the section:

The most interesting thing about this list, I think, is that fundamentally it is about sabotaging the decision-making processes of organizations. Each of the eight points in some way weakens the organization's ability to make firm decisions, thus sabotaging productive output. This is something most companies are well aware of, but still regularly struggle with (as evidenced by just about any issue of the Harvard Business Review - here's one). It's made worse by corporate cultures that tolerate political leadership; management that actively maneuvers to avoid accountability.

I think I might get this printed & framed to hang in my office. On top of providing a bit humor, it's also a great example of exactly the sort of corporate culture you don't want to engender in the workplace. Unless, of course, your goal is to sabotage your organization. If the list from Keystones of Success gives me something to aspire to, this provides the converse in a comedically succinct way.


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prescottfoland profile image
Prescott A. Foland

Hits a little too close to home ;)

maestromac profile image
Mac Siri

(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.


t4rzsan profile image
Jakob Christensen

Hilarious and scary. It sounds very much like how the Danish Parliament works :-)

andreapavoni profile image
Andrea Pavoni

Danish Parliament? Come to Italy, we have implemented and improved those bullet points at the state of the art ;-)

t4rzsan profile image
subbramanil profile image
Subbu Lakshmanan

Definitely the list stands the test of time!! Definitely sharing with my team! ;-p

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This list is so perfect. I am sharing this with my team.

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Thought you might want to know, we mentioned your article on the latest episode of our podcast: archive.org/details/MousePawdCastEp3

bhilburn profile image
Ben Hilburn Author

Just listened (mentioned around 45:40). Thanks for sharing! =)