Thursday, June 25, 2009

Double Vision

A major problem with many companies is that the managements vision doesn't necessarily coincide with that of the employees of the company.  Usually, the management wishes to make a ton of money while paying as little as possible to the lazy workers, while the workers have a vision of the company paying them for doing as little work as possible.  This conflict of vision poses a serious problem for the general success of the company.

This is where a strong leader's force of will becomes key.  If you can't get your worker sheep to obediently fall in line, you will have to use more forceful techniques.  Actual physical force against your employees would be ideal, but would probably draw the ire of several government regulatory agencies.  Instead, you can bring new visions to your employees: visions of pink slips floating before their eyes and the imminent threat of your foot kicking their sorry asses out the door.

Instill a culture of control via your financial leash.  Nothing motivates like the idea of the disappearing paycheck.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Secret: Competence (not required)

If there were a secret to pointy hair success, it would be this: competence in your field is completely optional.  It's counter-intuitive.  To rise the ranks, you think you would need to know what you're talking about.  But that is simply not the case.  Successful bosses and managers rise to the top because they aren't bogged down with little details of their business.  Being in authority means it is more important to keep control of your workers instead of wasting precious mental resources on understanding how your products work.

Workers are hired to do one thing: work.  You instruct them on what you want accomplished, and it is their job to get it done.  You don't need to know how anything is done.  They are being paid to do it for you.  Competence in the work is for the hired help, not the head honcho calling the shots.  If the boss was competent enough to do the job himself, why would he bother paying someone else to do it?  The PHB's skill is in keeping the peons in line, not in knowing how to get things done for the company.

The truth of this idea becomes even more apparent in the context of the globalized economy.  With cheap overseas labor, there's no point in you as the PHB knowing how to do anything.  It's far cheaper and more effective to outsource to foreign workers (which is another topic for a future discussion).  It would cost more time and resources for you to gain competence than it would be to just hire a foreign worker to get things done.

So, now it's no longer a secret.  I've revealed the essential key to my pointy haired success.  Competence is not required.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Zoning In on Zoning Out

A relatively recent study in Australia showed that internet surfing helped people maintain their productivity levels.  Employees who spent less than 20% of their time at work surfing had 9% higher productivity levels.  Well, that's fine and dandy, but there are two serious issues.  First, why would I as an employer want to pay for my employees to be doing non-work related activities at work?  Ok, if it boosts their productivity, that's great, so long as they're not soaking up a salary for doing nothing.

Also, those numbers don't add up.  If an employee is wasting 20% of their time surfing, the 9% increase in productivity sure as hell isn't making up for the time not spent working.  Overall, you're better off cutting off the leisure internet surfing and having lower productivity but more total work done.  Workers get less productive if they have to work longer without breaks, but the important thing is that those longer hours still result in more total work done.  Workers only need to take a break when productivity hits zero (after which a skilled PHB can usually still coerce a little extra effort out of them).  Ultimately, I find the study to be completely worthless, and it was probably done by a bunch of lazy workers trying to justify their slacking.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Seven Levels of PHB

  1. Flat Top (FT) - You've got a bad hair do that should have died out in the 80's.  You ain't got no hair loft, and you're basically on the ground floor.
  2. Hairspray Wannabe (HW) - You're in the fake it 'til you make it stage.  Your hair may not point upward, but hairspray does wonders for making it look like it does.
  3. Madonna Cones (MC) - At this point, you can tilt your head and joust Madonna in her cone armor.
  4. Mount Olympus (MO) - You have achieved true hair elevation.  Clouds form around your head and shroud the peaks in a divine air of mystery.
  5. High Level Despot (HLD) - Workers tremble at your feet and fear the wrath of your pointy hair.  You can manipulate them at will.
  6. Autocrat Anonymous (AA) - Not only are you a total HLD to your underlings, but you've also disappeared off the radar of the higher ups in the company.  You have security via obscurity and the power to control minions.
  7. Emperor's New Clothes - You are totally in charge and have everyone under your command.  You could walk around the office naked and say that you're wearing clothes sewn from gold threads; no one would dare question you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Principles of Employee Control

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about how to better tighten the reins at work.  My employees are forgetting their place and not following my orders immediately and with vigor.  Every so often, you have to switch things up a little.  Employee control is a dynamic process.  Though most of the work is in the initial establishing of your superiority, you still have to do some work to maintain the alpha dog domination.

Right now, I'm focusing on 5 principles from the PHB Research Institute to re-establish my firm control of my underlings.  These principles are known by their MERGE acronym, which stand for: Maltreat, Ensnare, Regulate, Grift, Exhaust

  • Maltreat - Employees are not your friends.  They are underlings whose sole purpose is to serve you.  If you show any softness, they will take advantage of your weakness.
  • Ensnare - Find every possible thing to hold over your employees to establish your dominance and control over them.  The paycheck is only one method.  Crushing their self esteem and making them dependent on you is another.  There are many ways to skin the cat here.
  • Regulate - Workers under you are chaotic lazy dunces.  If they don't have strict rules (with harsh consequences for not following), they simply will not get anything done.  Lay down the law.
  • Grift - Remember, your workers are not trustworthy, so there's no reason to always tell the truth.  Lying and cheating serve a useful purpose for maintaining control over your employees.
  • Exhaust - Lest they idle long enough to realize what you're doing, you must keep your employees constantly working.  Try to bring them to the edge of burning out.  If they're too tired to do anything else but work, they can't challenge your authority.  Don't worry about burning them out.  Employees are always replaceable.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Zen and the Art of Micromanagement

A widely known, but poorly executed secret amongst the Pointy Haired Bosses of the world is that micromanagement is a highly effective technique. Sure, it can be time consuming, but you get paid the big bucks to make everyone else work more efficiently. If that means constantly looking over their shoulders and getting your nose into their business, then so be it. That is what is needed to keep those workers in line and in constant production.

We all know that employees are lazy. They won't do any work unless constantly prodded. If they were only as driven as you instead of mindless zombies soaking up paychecks, you'd be rising the ranks faster than the air over Washington DC. But since they are only motivated to do nothing, you have to light the fire under them. You need to crack the whip and put them in their place. Break their feisty attitudes and make them into company sheep.

But how do you go about your task of micromanaging your employees? Everyone PHB eventually develops his own style, so there's no one set path. Here a few pointers that will help:

  1. Constantly ask them about their progress. Keep them on their toes and under your watchful eyes. If they know you're not looking, they will surely slack off and be unproductive.
  2. Frequently change your instructions. This will also keep you employees more alert and condition them to your demands.
  3. Make everything dependent on you. If you don't delegate power or authority (and you never should!), your underlings will have to constantly come back to you for input and further instructions. This makes keeping tabs of them that much easier when they're constantly coming to you.
  4. Give instructions on how to do everything, even if you have no idea what you're talking about. The more aspects of the employee's behavior you can control, the better. You're in charge because you're smarter and better than the grunts under you. They need the guidance. Also, telling your employees how to do everything solidifies your power over them.
  5. As a corollary to the above tip, regularly tell them that they're not doing things right, i.e. not doing it your way. Temporarily insert yourself into their work temporarily and show them the way you do things.
  6. Constantly chatter and make comments about things completely irrelevant to the task at hand. It's essential to force your employees to have to listen to you. Then tell them that they are working too slow. This is an effective method for breaking your employees' will.
  7. Criticize your employees and tell them they're incompetent every chance you get, and make statements about how great you are. This will guilt them into working more and harder.
Take these tips as a baseline for your micromanaging ventures, and work them into your own personal pointy haired micromanaging style.

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