Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Four I's

Some people are natural PHB's.  They achieve their impressive hair peaks by sheer genetic luck. Effortlessly rising through the ranks comes from their innate abilities to bend others to their will and take advantage of their underlings. They are the enviable naturals.  The rest of us have to wear fake conical hairpieces and work improving our PHB abilities (though hopefully not working too hard).  To help you along in your quest for cosmological elevation, keep these four I's in mind:

Incompetence. You don't need to be able to do everything.  You hire employees to take care of your tasks for you.  You don't need to be competent when you can offload responsibilities onto others.  If you have no desire to do a task or don't even know how to do it, don't worry about it.  Just make someone else do it.

. Closely related to intentional incompetence is willful ignorance. You don't need to know everything. It's the employee's job to know how to do things.  They are getting paid for their knowledge and labor so that you don't have to waste your precious time doing sundry tasks.  Focus your energies on giving orders and controlling the flock.  Don't waste your time learning about things when you're just going to order someone else to do the work.

. You could be nice to your employees. But I don't subscribe to that silly line of thought. You are the boss, and they are your underlings. You should remember that there is a clear hierarchical power structure. You are are higher up the chain, so order around and take advantage of your underlings at will. It's your duty to get maximum effort from your workers, not to be buddies with them.

Infrequency. How often should you need to do actual work? Ideally, never. But since it's not an ideal world, you probably will have to do some real work every so often. Keep those periods to a bare minimum though. Fill your time doing stuff that you want to do. Leave the dull work stuff to your underlings.  They are paid to work so that you don't have to.

As a bonus, here is one more I to keep in mind: yourself.  Being a PHB means that you should be most concerned with nĂºmero uno. Your actions should be driven by self-interest above all.  Keep the fifth I at the forefront.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PHB Profile: Robert Nardelli

Fewer people bring the auto into autocrat like Bob Nardelli.  As current CEO of the bankrupt Chrysler, Nardelli exudes confidence and authority.  Taking over a troubled company for an official salary of only $1, he clearly shows his confidence in his leadership abilities.  If anyone could have turned around the troubled automaker, surely it was the former military man.  His dictatorial, no nonsense approach would have been the perfect solution for the ailing company if it had only wooed him away from Home Depot earlier.

Before his tenure at Chrysler, Nardelli steadied the helm of giant home improvement retailer Home Depot.  He brought in the iron-handed, centralized power structure from his military days into the chaotic, hippy, free-wheeling culture of Home Depot.  Under his watch, he crushed the uppity free spirt of the employees and instituted a strict power hierarch, an unyielding regimen for dealing with customers, and instilled discipline within the ranks of grunt workers.  He was a shining example for PHB's everywhere when he turned Home Depot into a more appropriate namesake: Home Despot.

The company board stood by their strong leader at the beginning, but eventually their weakness was revealed.  Unrest amongst the common shareholders eventually forced Nardelli out of the company.  Nardelli fell to one of the unfortunate consequences of a democratic system, the ignorance of the masses.  Their limited mental capacities couldn't see the same vision as he did, and he was ultimately forced out of power.

But even an uprising of the unenlightened masses can't keep genius down.  Home Depot will regret his loss soon enough, as will Chrysler in all likelihood.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Nardelli will ascend again to take his crown amongst the PHB greats.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Right of Way

Nowadays, there is a lot of pansy talk about having discussions to resolve disagreements and trying to build consensus amongst a team. Well, all I have to say is bullshit!  I can't believe I have to listen to this hogwash.  As a proud Pointy Haired Boss, I don't have to grow moobs and deal with disagreement.  As a famous PHB once said, "I am the decider!" The ultimate decision lies in my hands for a reason.

You do occasionally have to put on a show of listening to input from your underlings to prevent an open revolt.  You may even glean something useful from the act (though my guess would be probably not). If you do gain something from underling input, remember to claim it as your own since everything they do belongs to you anyhow. In the end, you can choose to ignore everything your underlings say because they are of little consequence. You are higher up the food chain and dictate what happens. Being right is the automatic privilege of being a PHB.  The common adage may be that might doesn't make right; but whoever coined that phrase was probably an puny underling. As a PHB, you outrank your underlings. This is a clear case where might does indeed make you right.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Laziest Countries

In a survey recently released by the OECD (a.k.a. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, not be confused with the pesky Organization of Employees for Comfortable Desks), countries were ranked based on how long its citizens spent sleeping and eating.  Obviously, such a study is interesting to Pointy Hair Pride since those are both activities which take away from time our employees are working for us.

Disappointingly, the U.S. ranks pretty high with the average person sleeping 8.5 hours a night.  That's unbelievable!  What are all these people doing sleeping so much?  I was also sorely disappointed with the Koreans and Japanese who were still holding their own with 8 hours.  Sure, they were pretty low in the rankings, but 8 hours of sleep is way too much for people that need to get work done.  The French topped the list at 9 hours average sleep per night.  It's no wonder they get nothing done over there.

When you factor in time spent eating, things look even worse.  The Japanese spend nearly 2 hours a day eating.  I used to think they were such a productive people.  And the French spend over 2 hours a day just eating!  I don't see how anyone get waste that much time eating.  Personally, I think people just need to grab a bite to eat and keep working at their desks.  Taking a lunch break is a terrible waste of productive time.

All in all, the results of the survey are disappointing to me as a PHB.  If my employees are getting that much rest and spending that much time eating, then I'm obviously not keeping tabs on them enough.  I'm not terribly shocked about the French since their leisurely culture never gets anything done anyhow.  I've never hired a Frenchie, and after seeing these survey results, I never will!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

6 Keys for Pointy Haired Success

People think that being a pointy haired boss is easy. Sure, you may not do any actual work and get to boss around the minions doing your bidding. Those are great perks, I won't deny that. What the typical pointy haired aspirant doesn't initially realize is that it takes some hard work to achieve true pointy haired greatness. Here are a few tips for maximizing your pointy hairedness to take you to the next level.

  1. Make your employees do their work.
    Or, more accurately, they should be doing your work. You want the maximal amount of work done for minimal amount of real work on your part. The sooner you can offload your work onto others, the faster you'll ascend the ladder of pointy hairedness.
  2. Keep your employees working. Always.
    The employees under your control should always be doing their work. Employees are all inherently lazy and unmotivated. You'll have to crack the whip by perpetually checking in on progress, making up deadlines so that people work through lunch or over the weekend, etc. Keeping everyone busy to the point of being frazzled makes you look good to the higher up pointy haired ones. If you're already the head honcho, how much work you can wring from your workers is a measure of your greatness.
  3. Realize that you don't need to be competent.
    Who cares if you can't do the job. That's why employees are hired. They are supposed to be doing work for you. You don't need to bother with knowing anything or having any useful skills if you can hire someone else. The only skill you need as the big cheese is being able to control people.
  4. Boss people around.
    Perhaps the most important skill to being a PHB is learning to give orders. What's the point of captaining a ship if you can't even control your crew? If you want other people to do your work for you, you will have to tell them to do your work. When your crew invariably slacks off, you'll have to get them back into line by ordering them back to work. Even if there's no good reason for them to be frantically working, keep them constantly occupied (see point #2) to practice your bossiness and solidify your control of your minions.
  5. Micromanage.
    Following from the previous point, learning to micromanage is crucial. Why this term has such a negative connotation is a mystery to me. Micromanaging is a decidedly good thing! By constantly telling all of your employees what to do, you keep them on their toes. It's an essential skill to acquire for learning to boss people around and control them. You do not necessarily have to be helping (though realize that you probably are because employees are lazy and won't work unless you're hovering over them). Just get your minions used to taking orders all the time to ensure your complete control.
  6. You don't have to be nice.
    Your employees don't have to like you. In fact, it's probably better if they don't. There are two models for running a tight ship. The first is two get your employees to like you and instill an inner motivation. I personally don't like this approach because your employees might start thinking too highly of themselves and leave for greener pastures. The preferred method is to learn to mistreat your employees. Be unreasonable, demand too much, yell and scream, threaten to cut their pay or fire them, and underhandedly criticize them. You can keep your workers cranking in high gear when they live under fear of your wrathful outbursts. At the same time, you can solidify your control by lowering their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Now that you know the six keys to being a successful PHB, go forth and get your boss on!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

PHB Profile: Phillip Purcell

Sometimes management genius is sorely misunderstood by the unenlightened masses.  Such was the case with former Morgan Stanley CEO Phillip Purcell.  From 1997 to 2005, Purcell lead the company forward with his bold leadership moves.  His vision was big as he kept his eyes on the big prize rather; he wisely understood that small clients were small potatoes and inconsequential.

He knew what direction he wanted the company to go, and he had no trouble expressing that.  A daring leader with vision, he knew it was necessary to step on toes during his tenure.  Several people left the company, but that's to be expected with a bold leader.  They obviously quivered in the greatness of Purcell and left through the back door with their tail between their legs.

Unfortunately, his strong leadership was too easily misinterpreted as arrogance by the common workers of the company.  Add to an overblown and completely unjustified 1.45 billion USD judgement against Morgan Stanley, and the board gave into pressure from the masses to release Purcell.  Clearly, bold leadership and authority are under appreciated, else Purcell would still be at the helm leading the company back to greatness.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Bright Side of Recession: Increased Bossiness

By far, the biggest advantage of being el jefe is getting to tell other people what to do.  When other people do your bidding, it lessens the amount of work you have to do.  If you play your cards right, you don't actually have to do any real work.

Every so often (perhaps too often), you get an employee who doesn't like being bossed around all the time.  Those ungrateful punks stick around because you're their primary source of income.  You hold the tenuous reins of control via a monetary leash.  These are your headache employees.  You run the risk of losing these troublesome employees unless you relinquish some your pointy-haired perks or pay them more to put up with you.

Economic downturns, like the current toilet swirling market, are opportunities to deal with these pesky, black sheep employees.  Though the market may be total crap, your grip of the managerial reins tightens.  High unemployment instills the fear of job loss into the hearts of your peons underlings.  Fear is your tool for solidifying your control and securing your place amongst the pointy haired greats. Let your employees know that with so many people looking for jobs that they are easily replaceable. Use the recession to your advantage: push your employees further underneath your thumb or use the recession as an excuse to decrease their pay.  Bonus points if you can accomplish both!

Joseph M. Scandura, incompetent moron, idiot, pompous, stupid, failure, asshole, arrogant, bullshit, micromanager of the year, technologically clueless, ignorant, condescending, senile, dementia