Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Weapons Find Their Way To The Workplace

Within two weeks the Netherlands, Belgium and France had fallen to the mighty German blitzkrieg. As Berlin was celebrating its victory, Hitler made plans to invade Britain.

On the other side of the ocean, president Roosevelt swore he would not let America be dragged into another bloodbath. World War I was going to be the last time American boys died on European soil. 

But the president knew Britain could not win against the nazi threat alone. To aid his ally without risking all out war with Germany, Roosevelt helped in secret—he created the Office of Strategic Service.

An intelligence gathering organisation that later became the CIA.

The CIA forerunner is most known for releasing a pamphlet targeting people living in the Axis nations. The idea was to teach commoners to take down their country from the inside by sabotaging production.

Here’s an excerpt from the awful employee playbook. 

“Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.”

“Make ‘speeches.’ Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your ‘points’ by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.” 

“Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.” 

“Insist on doing everything through ‘channels.’ Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.”

“Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, paychecks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.”

“Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.”

“Advocate ‘caution.’ Be ‘reasonable’ and urge your fellow-conferees to be ‘reasonable’ and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.” 

Sound familiar?

If you work in an office, chances are you’ve worked with colleagues who acted like this today.

How did weapons built to collapse countries become standard office protocol?

If you want to know the answer, check out Brave New Work by Aaron Dignam.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach