Walking with Dinosaurs

Tomorrow, I’m going to be giving a talk to a group of young people who have come to our organisation through our graduate programme. They are all very, very bright, and some of them are just about the most motivated to succeed I’ve seen in a while.

I love working with people at the start of their careers, and particularly this generation. The reason? They know and accept there are dinosaurs around, and they aren’t scared of them.

I know when I was starting out, there were also dinosaurs. They had all this experience, all this knowledge, probably won in the “school of hard knocks”. They were all senior, and you would never dream of questioning their determinations and decisions. If you did, there’d be consequences. I mean, what would you know about anything? Why would you be entitled to an opinion? Youngsters, you should listen and learn.

Well, that’s over.

The dinosaurs today – and I hope I’m not turning into one myself – are hopelessly ill-equipped in many cases to deal with the way things are now. The problem is their years of experience are now a hindrance in a world where what’s really important is freshness in absorbing concepts, ideas, and innovation. Things at which young generations have always excelled.

You can imagine the collective meltdown those words are likely to cause in the established IT community, of which I am a part. We’re all in charge because of all those years of experience. How dare I suggest all those years are not that valuable?

But, for example, have a look at your IT organisation, and especially at your development processes. I bet you’ll find they’re gummed up with gates, and procedures, and evaluations and reviews. Everything takes ages, and the mantras will be “reuse” and “architecture” and “governance”. These are the hallmarks of the dinosaur.

Why do I say that? Because they are mechanisms for controlling rampant spread of technology solutions in an age when doing big systems was expensive. It is still expensive, but only because of  the artifacts that have been left behind when things actually were expensive. It is our control artifacts that are now making us expensive, not the problems we are asked to solve.

This new generation of tech managers we’re growing know this. They sit there and sigh when we ask for “one more gate”, knowing that the new world is completely throw away. “Just build it”, they mutter under their breaths, and could, indeed, fire up their personal laptop and do it overnight probably if they were of a mind to do so.

Don’t laugh. We had this group of students show up once and do a hack-day. In about 24 hours they’d accomplished about as much as we’d done with traditional methods in several months. Oh, of course, it wasn’t “governed”, and “reusable” and “consistent with our architecture”. But is was throwaway. Throwaway is what you want when the cost of development is a reducing function.

And it is a reducing function. I am amazed at what young-people start-ups can accomplish with practically no money. They maybe get half a million dollars from an angel investor and a month or two later have a system that’s actually really useful and which people are desperate to use.

They go into these ventures serially. They work until something is obviously not working, throw it away, and start again. It is no accident that many of the most successful tech entrepreneurs presently are pretty young. They’re not dinosaurs.

Anyway, back to what I’m going to say to these young technology managers I’m going to speaking to tomorrow.

Firstly, I’m going to tell them to recognise there are dinosaurs around. I’m going to tell them their bark is worse than their bite and even if they get bitten, they have years to recover. But of course, the best won’t get bitten, because they will be clever about how they get their messages across.

And I’m going to tell them to question everything that comes from dinosaurs. And that their inexperience with the old way of doing things is their best chance to make a huge difference now.

30 Responses to“Walking with Dinosaurs”

  1. June 2, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    I'm what you'd definitely consider a dinosaur. I'm old, curmudgeonly and brimming with 20+ years of experience in making software work.
    However, what you've described there is not about dinosaurs, it's what happens when IT is managed by people who have no idea how to manage technology.
    Gates are not put in place by dinosaurs (we do lots of trampling of gates). Gates are put in place by people who are scared of the business and don't know how to do their job.
    The put up barriers, they bow down to the business owners because they're not confident of their skills and they make terrible mistake after terrible mistake.
    I normally nod at your columns because they're pretty interesting, but this one is a big, fat /facepalm.
    Don't blame us dinosaurs, blame the dumb people who your organisations have put in place managing your technology, put in terrible team structures and ignore people with ideas. That's got nothing to do with how long you've been working, that's got 100% to do with how dumb your hiring (and firing) policies are.

  2. June 2, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    Jon,
    Thanks for your comment. It is an extremely valid point you make.
    It is wrong of me to characterise everyone with experience as a
    dinosaur. That is clearly not the case. But here is the question I put:
    if the problem is a minority of senior people with no idea how to
    manage technology (the dinosaurs), then where are all the clever people
    with seniority who are willing to take them on and cause change?
    Why is the dinosaur thing so endemic in all big IT, if there are so
    many people at senior levels who acknowledge the issue and want to fix
    it?
    Here is my view: lots of people know the issue, and lots of people have
    ideas about how to change. Not everyone is willing to do much more than
    complain though.
    Forgive the *facepalm*, and I hope you'll keep reading despite the
    apparent insult. I welcome freshness no matter the age. Thank you for
    being fresh enough to call me out.

  3. June 2, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Nice. You made my comment for me :)
    As always, it depends on the dinosaur! :)

  4. June 2, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Oh, it takes a lot more than a blog entry that I disagree with to cause me to stop reading. Your insights are normally great. Also, your style seemed that you'd be open to discussion on your topics, so I thought I'd give it a go!
    What I see in the IT industry is we have the wrong people making these decisions. We have people who have had a long time in the industry as *managers* making *process* decisions. That's like getting a CEO of a Pharmaceutical company to make decisions on how to mix up drugs. Who'd contemplate that sort of idiocy? Only people who are "professional managers of IT".
    We need to foster our dinosaur technology experts a lot more than we do. We need to encourage them and support them when they are faced with challenges such as these. Many of us who are still in the industry (and that's a bigger problem than many people realise) still want to contribute to teaching and mentoring the people who are less experienced so they can learn from our mistakes – rather than repeating them.
    I don't think there are "so many people", I think there's a small number. The problem is (and why I wanted to respond) that characterising all dinosaurs as "problems to be avoided" that you're actually not helping the cause.
    The issues relate to the wrong people making the decisions, not the "age" of the person. The marginalising of a specialist technical skillset in favour of a "person with an MBA" is what we all should be complaining about – and that includes consumers of IT.

  5. cyberdoyle
    June 2, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    sounds very like government to me. There was a 'digitalbritain' interim report in which the young commented, but the dinosaurs ignored. Now we still have no digitalbritain and we have the deact. The policy makers need to get rid of the dinosaurs and listen to the real experts. And get rid of flippin ofcom, the prehistoric quango.

  6. June 2, 2010 at 8:06 am #

    I wonder if the problem is really one of specialists vs. generalists.
    Bob Sutton put together a nice post on this the other day, Why Specialists are Grumpy and Generalists are Happy. The crux of the argument is that specialists have so much of their worth invest in a narrow problem domain ("making big ol' IT work", for example) that they feel threatened by change as it invalidates much of their knowledge and, by implication, much of their worth. Generalists, on the other hand, are happy and flexible folk as they are confident of their skills being relevant no matter which way the wind blows.
    Specialists, it seems, are often in danger of extinction. Are these your dinosaurs?
    On a related thought, is it the business of enterprise IT that's at fault? As I pointed out the other week, it's not that people or organisations dislike change, but people in organisations. It's our departments – and those of use in them – that created these dinosaurs. IT functions are designed to manage IT assets, and our people are encouraged to take a short term approach doing doing, as business often prefers the dinosaur specialist (someone who solve the same problem yesterday) over the happy generalist.
    We need to rebuild the business of IT so that technology is not treated as an engineering or asset management problem. And if we want to prevent the same problem in the (not too distant) future, then we need to take a longer term view to how people careers will grow, push people in a more generalist direction. Otherwise the current generation entering the work force will – more likely than not – become dinosaurs themselves.

  7. June 2, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Magnificent Peter. This resonates very strongly with my experiences.

  8. June 2, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Building the software is only part of the problem and as you say young inexperienced people can do this quickly, but as everyone knows the real cost of software is the maintenance. Writing software that deals with happy days is also much easier, than catering for all those pesky errors.
    It is horses for courses, but I would be surprised if the DWP needed flashy flaky software more than it needed boring robust software.

  9. June 2, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    Ouch. Controversial, James.
    Is a dinosaur mentality really tied directly to age?
    Is everyone with experience now not qualified to make a judgement?
    Who taught your graduates, was experience a criteria in getting that lecturers job?
    When I first started out in IT, I towed the technology line. Microsoft could do no wrong. Novell was shit. So was Unix.
    It wasn't until I saw the whole picture and realised everything has a purpose and the real art is in seeing it all.
    And that takes a while, a few years, very often.
    Did you know statistically, more new start-ups, more innovation comes from the end of the scale you regard as dinosaurs?
    Did you know that innovators are getting older and the age group you revere isn't where the greatest sample lie?
    Lots of research to prove this… http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/jones…/age...
    Put its not about age at all, its all about attitude.
    PS: I sure hope you don't apply the age thing to employment. I'd place that in the same contemptible category as not employing black people because more white people innovate.
    That sort of thinking has no place in this world.

  10. June 2, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    I think James is possibly now regretting the use of the word 'dinosaur'. There's plenty of us in the industry that use the term, and not in the disparaging way that James intended to convey.
    In my mind (and possibly a few of the others here) dinosaurs are generally classified by purely age, not attitude.
    In James' post, I feel (upon further reading, reflection and his response) that his use of dinosaur was to convey attitude.
    This is unfortunate. Maybe BoFH would have been more appropriate.

  11. June 2, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    Strongly agree with Jon Eaves and Peter Evans Greenwood above: it's not about age, and it's often linked to the theme of the specialist trying to maintain 'control' within what is inherently a generalist context.
    There's also the Peter Principle: in large organisations especially, people rise to their level of incompetence. Hence, in effect, people become promoted because of their 'dinosaur-thinking' – and the more 'dinosaur'-like their thinking, the higher they rise, especially within middle-management.

  12. Duncan Anderson
    June 2, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Steve Jobs: "What I love about the marketplace is that we do our products, we tell people about them, and if they like them, we get to come to work tomorrow. It's not like that in enterprise… the people who make those decisions are sometimes confused."

  13. June 2, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    I think this ‘X’, ‘Y’ generational discrimination applied in a general way is wrong.
    In every organisation there is ‘dead wood’ and every effort should be made to dispose of it.
    Often, the patients are wearing ‘white coats’ and they may not fully understand the’ root causes’ of why things are the way they are. Key issues are often a lack of vision, leadership, empowerment and appropriate insight.
    From my experience of very large IT shops it is often like trying to ‘Dance in treacle’ and there are a number of reasons why they are inefficient, ineffective and generally do not represent good value for money.
    Some of these reasons are lost in history, something the new recruits will not understand. We may say it is all in the past but the current organisation and its information systems are actually a reflection of the business and the associated 30 years of evolution, leadership and management.
    Within the context of the DWP, many of the core systems were developed when the information systems could not fit on a single machine so they are heavly partitioned. The development tools were bespoke and designed to fit with the unique proprietary architecture.
    Special protocols were developed because the government of the time awarded the front end terminal contract to BT and the back-end mainframe contract to ICL to help keep british industry afloat in the 90’s. Special protocols were developed to enable these systems to communicate with each other. They are so unique and bespoke that very few people understand them. Once upon a time, a technology crash brought down the entire DWP network for a day (a bad software change) this brought in strong governance procedures and it made the people at the top of the business look stupid.
    The future may be XMPP, Javascript, CSS etc, but there is something that new recruits will need to learn and the most important will be to remember to back-up your data.
    So I would ask the DWP leadership (if I was a young recruit), where is your vision and plan to get rid of all the inefficient old crap (people and systems) and now that we have this new transparent government can you please put it on the Internet?

  14. Alan Ramsden
    June 2, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    Hi James,
    I can't attend tomorrow, but from this hopefully I have a good enough flavour of your talk.
    As you say, we recognise the ‘dinosaurs’ and since there is no job for life anymore there is no real reason not to question them, what’s the worst they can do? We get their answers and consider them to be junk in many cases.
    But then what?
    - What do you do when confronted with the equivalent of ‘Look sonny Jim, I’m a dinosaur and this is the way are going to do things’? Asking the questions and suggesting alternative paths doesn’t seem to get you much further forward with them.
    - How are we supposed to learn and develop the skills for now and the future with so many dinosaurs around? Is there any way to avoid rote learning the methods of the past and instead develop continuing on the right path?
    I often wonder how we are supposed to stop ourselves being turned into clones of the past. The only answer I can see is to try and avoid them, but there are only so many places you can hide from them and it doesn’t fit with the dinosaurs of people development (its not just IT where they can be found!) view on where we should be.
    I don’t see a dinosaur as being age dependent, but someone who is closed minded and stuck in their ways. I’ve known them being 25, 35 or 55. However, as people increase in age and get more experience to rest on, I would say there is a greater likelihood of turning into one. I'd agree with Tom that the Peter Principle kicks in, but I'm not quite cynical enough to suggest they get promoted because they are dinosaurs, but hope they stop being promoted because they turn into one.

  15. June 2, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    Hi James,
    One problem is that the majority of 'IT professionals' spend/have spent most, if not all, of their careers in organisations that exhibit performance that is around or below 'the norm'. The practice of benchmarking, beloved by C-level executives, HMG and the media, encourages organisations to continue to perform at about the same level as other organisations. Give or take a trivial few percentage points.
    BUT… as Steve McConnell pointed out over 10 years ago in 'After the Gold Rush', the majority (c. 75-80%) of organisations exhibit very poor performance with respect to the whole-life of software-intensive systems. Failure demand is rife.
    A close look at the population distribution of organisations with respect to a 0-5 point scale of effectiveness shows that it is extremely skewed to the left. The median rating of effectiveness is around '1'. Yet there is a long, thin tail to the right consisting of some 20-25% of organisations that are x4, x5 or more times as effective as 'the norm'.
    This observation is supported by the numerous benchmark studies themselves, which is why such data often is presented on logarithmic scales. For example, the difference in development productivity between left-drifted & right-shifted organisations amounts to two and one half orders of magnitude!
    By 'effective' I mean 'able to achieve their stakeholders' desired outcomes', which includes efficient consumption of available resources & avoidance of hidden debts. So, basically, the ability of an organisation to fulfill the goals the leaders of the organisation have set.
    The fact that most organisations are left-drifted sentences those who work for them (i.e. the majority of software professionals) to work in environments where it is normal to waste 60-80% of the available time & resources (including effort, know-how, community engagement, customer loyalty, …actually, all 5 capitals). And because this is 'the norm', few people notice this sad fact, or even realise that it is possible to be more effective.
    In the 12 months to March 2010 my colleagues and I polled audiences of IT professionals whenever we made a presentation. We asked for a show of hands in response to the question "Please indicate if you feel you understand or can state the strategic goals of the organisation for which you work". Consistently, less than 10% of participants felt they had a clue about their firm's True North direction. So not much chance they'll achieve it, is there? BTW, I'd say most participants were in the 20-40 age bracket.
    Irrespective of age, the above applies. I have +37 years in IT, and the situation has not fundamentally changed in that time.
    Why?
    It isn't that the 'IT profession' is different to other functions in either the private or public sector. The observation holds true across functions, and throughout business sectors. It is due, IMO, to the prevalence of hierarchical organisation structures and a command & control attitude to the system-of-work. Which itself engenders a 'blame & shame' culture and an opinion-led approach to decision-making. Performance-related pay & a bonus system are sure signs of an organisation that is left-drifting. Orienting work around ephemeral project teams is another… why bother to employ skilled customer-facing & creative staff if a non-technical project manager (with or without an MBA) is going to impose a BDUF project plan and tell engineers with more experience than themselves what tasks are needed to solve a problem?
    What we are seeing (and possibly living through) is the gradual failure of the myths of mass-production and 'economy of scale', and their replacement by a recognition that there is economy in the continuous flow of value to the end-consumer & taxpayer.
    Perhaps age is something of a factor, as younger people have yet to become wedded to ideas that have been shown to be outdated. But what I see is a lot of local optimisation, with little thought given to the effectiveness of the end-to-end value stream ('concept to cash to replacement' to paraphrase Mary Poppendieck). And I also see a lot of re-badging of old ideas with new names (and the resulting failure to acknowledge the origins of the ideas so they can be exploited for commercial gain).
    Neil said, "its not about age at all, its all about attitude". Changing the mindset is certainly a key issue. The attitude we need to encourage is a focus on adding value as seen from the customer's perspective. Simply refuse to waste time & effort on activities that add no value for one or another clearly identified stakeholder.
    But changing the attitudes and behaviour of individuals will have little effect while the systems-of-work in which individuals operate are ineffective. We need to:
    • change executive & management practices (adopt servant leadership, work to improve the system-of-work);
    • better organise the work (understand value, the value stream, establish flow, pulled by customer demand);
    • apply evidence-based problem-solving (eschew opinion, bias, and political expediency); and
    • adopt effective engineering methods (avoiding 'serial fix-on-fail').
    So James… are you going to encourage DWP to drop approaches based on the myths of mass-production (e.g. shared services, splitting front- & back-end services)? As CTO of DWP, will you ensure that your organisation establishes truly cross-functional teams organised to maximise the flow of value to your stakeholders? Will you and your C-Level colleagues work on work-improvement, and relegate improvement of equipment (i.e. technology) to a distant 2nd consideration (ref: Taiichi Ohno)? How will you empower those young recruits to whom you gave your talk?
    Best regards,
    Grant (PG) Rule < g.rule @ SMSexemplar dot com >

  16. June 2, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Hi Alan,
    Sounds like a to be, or to do moment. You either buck the system, and do what you think is right in order to achieve something. Or you buckle down, do what your told, and play the game so that you can be someone.
    John Boyd put is much better than I:

    “One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. … In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do.”

    r.
    PEG

  17. Alan Ramsden
    June 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    I was hoping for more of a guide to best of both :)
    There is no point doing things differently at the bottom of the ladder if upper management is mediocre. The poor macro decisions will far outweigh the lower level quality delivery.
    And I'm sure there is a way, in my limited experience a greater proportion of directors upwards haven't become dinosaurs compared to the middle management below them.

  18. Richard Fillingham
    June 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi James,
    unfortunately I also will not be able to attend your session tomorrow which is a shame because I'm sure you have a lot of interesting things to say on running round the dinosaurs, running through their legs, jumping over them or knocking them over.
    I have to say that I completely agree with you on this issue. I'm sick to death of jumping through governance hoops and fighting battles that at best just allow you to do your job and at worse cause significant delays to work. Our current gated process is crazy – at the moment my project is going through an Operational Readiness Review Gate. Prior to that is a stakeholder review, prior to that is a pre-stakeholder review and prior to that a health check. For each of these four meetings there is a documentation set which has had to be completed by staff rushing around madly to get all of the details. Then there is the time of the people at the meetings. I should think that each review costs a significant amount when all of the time of staff is factored in.
    When I questioned this I was told that it is the situation we have to live with and actually its a good thing for a whole range of (not very convincing) reasons.
    I would not argue that we should eradicate governance altogether. It would be crazy to have projects doing whatever they liked whenever they liked. It must be possible to streamline it though. Also there must be online collaboration tools which could make it so much easier to do. Many of the activities we have to do probably served a good purpose when IT systems were vastly expensive. As you say though, we are in a throwaway culture. Whilst I don't agree that all systems should be designed with built in obsolescence there are some systems that could be designed like this.
    It strikes me that rather than going to the large suppliers and saying "can you replace our legacy systems" or "can you provide an internet application to do x" we should get a couple of teams of amateur developers together and have them competing to produce the best solution to a well defined problem. We could give them very strict deadlines with the promise of a financial reward for the best solution. As long as they were sufficiently supported by experts from the business I suspect they'd be able to create good solutions and save us a fortune. We could then allow the governance to catch up with the product and retain the team to make any tweaks necessary to get through security, service transition and governance accreditations.
    Unfortunately I have sometimes noticed myself becoming dinosaur-esque. I've only been on the Technology in Business Fast Stream for 18 months but already I sometimes have to stop myself thinking like a dinosaur when I want to make a suggestion. The culture has started to infect me to the point where I often think to myself "that's not possible" so won't suggest it. I've got to say it is frustrating to be shot down immediately because a dinosaur doesn't have the imagination to say that things could be different.
    I liked what Peter Evans-Greenwood had to say about specialists and generalists. I consider myself to be very much a generalist and would hate to be pidgeon-holed into a specialism. I believe that it is only from taking concepts in one discipline and applying them to another that we can be truly innovative. For example, my degree was in Physics and I try to use the concepts and approach I learned there to bring a fresh perspective to the areas I work in. As a generalist the more areas you work in the more concepts and approaches you have to work with and the more innovative you can be. I hope to never be so narrowly focused that I can't bring wider experience to bear on problems.

  19. June 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    ‘the mantras will be "reuse" and "architecture" and "governance". These are the hallmarks of the dinosaur.’
    I think James is very correct here, how many times have modernisation efforts been sold on the back of ‘reuse’ that never actually gets delivered?
    I do like the view of John Zachman (of Enterprise Architecture fame) wherein he states that continued investment in legacy systems will eventually result in more energy going into a system (money) rather than energy (business value) coming out so that eventually the system implodes, based on the laws of entropy and thermo-dynamics.
    Perhaps these rules apply to the enterprise as well?

  20. June 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    seconded

  21. June 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    James, you had me thinking a lot about this.
    And I asked myself, "how old were the teams I worked with?"
    And you know what, until you wrote this, I never thought about it at all, ever. They were a team, highly competent and worked well together.
    But looking back (2001-2004), they were mainly young, 23 to 30, which is the norm for IT supporting execs, whose demands are never ordinary, or 9 to 5. Two were girls, but a couple were nearly as old as me and worked on weird Bloomberg or trading platform stuff I never really understood.
    This team were there to implement my often off the wall ideas.
    The thing is, I never made any judgement on age, just competency. Sure, I treated each differently, but that was all to do with their personality, not their age.
    Most stayed my friends and Facebook buddies after the team broke up and EDS took over, even those who were then Tupe'd into EDS.
    None had an issues with their bank bosses, but all of them hated having to work under EDS, most left.
    I guess the bottom line is bosses aren't arses because they're old, they're arses because they're arses.

  22. Stephen
    June 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Sorry, I meant so say the 80's rather than 90's – I think it was Mrs Thatcher at the time or was it Harold Wilson?

  23. June 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    There needs to be a word for business practices that are indistinguishable from sabotage.
    If you look at the manager and worker sections at the end of the 1944 "Simple Sabotage Field Manual" you'll see what I mean.
    <a href="http://volokh.com/2010/06/01/sabotage-or-how-dilbert-won-the-war/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+volokh%2Fmainfeed+%28The+Volokh+Conspiracy%29&quot; rel="nofollow"&gt <a href="http://;http://volokh.com/2010/06/01/sabotage-or-how-dilbert-won-the-war/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+volokh%2Fmainfeed+%28The+Volokh+Conspiracy%29” target=”_blank”>;http://volokh.com/2010/06/01/sabotage-or-how-dilbert-won-the-war/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+volokh%2Fmainfeed+%28The+Volokh+Conspiracy%29
    Some examples:
    (a) Organizations and Conferences
    (1) Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

    (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 jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
    (b) Managers and Supervisors
    (1) Demand written orders.

    (7) Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw. . . .

    (10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
    (11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
    (12) Multiply paper work in plausible ways. Start duplicate files.
    (13) Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
    (14) Apply all regulations to the last letter.
    General Devices for Lowering Morale and creating confusion
    (a) Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned.

    (c) Act stupid,
    (d) Be as irritable and quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.

    (i) Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion

  24. June 2, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    I think you will find there are geniuses and idiots aplenty in every generation and age is not an issue other than in one respect. The idiots in the youngest generation haven't been around long enough to get into management positions and screw things up, and the geniuses in the younger generation haven't been around long enough to get promoted out of the doing jobs into the management jobs.
    As to the question of why most entrepeneurs are young – this is simple logic – if you are going to be an entrepeneur you will probably achieve success while you are young and successful entrepeneurs become successful business leaders as they grow older and are no longer considered to be entrepeneurs.
    Regards
    The Enterprising Architect

  25. August 21, 2011 at 1:33 am #

    Yup, that’ll do it. You have my aprcpeitaion.

  26. July 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Keep up the fantastic work , I read few posts on this web site and I think that your website is really interesting and holds bands of fantastic info .

  27. July 24, 2013 at 1:29 am #

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  1. Interesting Things From Singapore | Innovator Inside - November 8, 2011

    [...] time before which you become so set in your ways you can’t make a difference. I know I have observed on multiple occasions that people in large organisations exhibit this trait, but I’ve always [...]

  2. Quora - January 4, 2012

    What should you do if you’re at a big company where you believe you have especially great ideas about what they should do but the then massive company upside of course isn’t commensurate with your upside?…

    This is an especially common issue in large companies. I know, because I was a CTO in a large public sector organisation, and chief innovator before that in a large bank. The problem is how to get people to believe that you’re creating a long term pro…

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