Perhaps it’s time for a bit of the lighter side. Many of you are familiar with the de-motivational posters from Despair, which poke a little fun at the cheesy movitational posters from Successories many execs like to hang in their office. They have some nice scenes and colors, but we all know they are rarely read.
Some of my favorite Despair posters include Incompetence, Irresponsibility, and Madness.
In a new twist, Despair now has some short four minute free downloadable videos on their website that reinforce concepts presented in "The Art of Demotivation." In typical Despair fashion they focus on "innovative" ways to deal with employee complaints, disconfirmation, and organizational storytelling. This last one, which you can watch here, presents some important points:
- Stories of success should feature executives, even if they had virtually nothing to do with it. If employees have to be included, they should be anonymous.
- Stories of failure should feature employees, and blame them by name. Executives should not be associated with failure.
- Employees remain employed not because of their unique value, but due to the patience and compassion of the executives.
Wait a minute… that is starting to bear some eerie resemblance to some things we’ve been blogging about. As Bill pointed out a couple months ago,
Alfred Sloan once pompously wrote, "What then is General Motors?" He answered his own question that it was not the 220,000 production employees. Instead, it was the 10,000 people in management. His bias toward the value of management and disregard for the people who actually added value and made cars was arrogant enough. Today, however, the senior managers of many of these big companies would reject the notion that Sloan’s 10,000 have much to do with it. The heart, they seem to think, is the dozen or so strategy and finance wizards who sit around the boardroom. And nothing else matters.
Companies chasing lower labor costs overseas without looking inward to find process waste, Ford trying to design its way to profitability while laying off black belts, GM trying to downsize its way to profitability instead of becoming competitive enough to fill capacity. Executives getting bonuses for decreasing shareholder value, declining market share, and laid-off employees. Delusions, Idiocy, Mediocrity.
Maybe they bought their posters from the wrong company. This wasn’t so fun after all.
Bill Reinhosteinner says
Great posters and very appropriate for Ford. I heard they were going to require that all cars in the main parking lots of their factories be Fords, and non-Fords could park off premises. So much for the employees doing their own competitive analysis to understand what they’re up against. Heads in the sand I guess. The best thing for them would be if the worker (or especially exec) got to drive a Lexus but their spouse had to drive a Ford. Having to deal with a complaining spouse would be enough to spark serious change!