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NSFW Links: Nov 22, 2010

November 22, 2010 1 comment

These links are NSFW.

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Fear Based Office Culture: Nov 22, 2010

November 22, 2010 5 comments

Found this excerpt on a bulletin board. I would recommend that you read the whole article.
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Here are 10 signs of a fear-based workplace. If you’re the person in charge of a shop, pay attention:

1. Appearances are everything. When employees are preoccupied with staying in the office later in the evening than the boss does, fear is king. When people worry less about the quality of their work than about how they’re perceived by managers higher up the chain, you’ve got fear.

2. Everyone is talking about who’s rising and who’s falling. When a daily focus of office conversation is the discussion of whose stock is rising and whose is falling in the company’s internal stock index, you’ve got a fear infestation. A preoccupation with status and political capital is a sure sign that stakeholders’ best interests have taken a back seat to me-first, fear-based behaviors.

3. Distrust reigns. Would this be your knife in my back? When your employees have to stop and ask themselves, “Is it safe to tell Marybeth my idea?” you have a fear problem in your organization. Workplaces where people steal one another’s intellectual capital are places where trust is subordinate to fear (if trust exists at all). If your business is one where backstabbers thrive, ditto. In a healthier shop, people would be comfortable rising up in protest against a backstabbing colleague, and the paradigm “I win when you lose” would be quickly nipped in the bud.

4. Numbers rule. Sensible performance goals help people understand what’s important. An obsession with metrics, daily, weekly, and hourly, and a world view that says an employee is the sum of his numeric goals, are signs of a fear-based culture. Why? A healthy organization builds performance goals into its leadership framework, but the metrics don’t equal the framework. When management views people as complex, creative, multifaceted value producers and considers metrics as just one element of a well-rounded leadership program, you can beat the fear back to a tolerable level.

5. And rules number in the thousands. Maybe the most stereotypical yet valid sign of a fear-based workplace is an overdependence on policies in place of smart hiring and common sense. These organizations fear their own employees’ instinctive reactions to everyday circumstances (the need to book a business trip, order a stapler, or schedule a vacation day), so they install lengthy, tedious policies to keep employees from thinking independently. A need to tout the trust and openness in the organization constantly can be another red flag. As my friend Marla says, “The more an employer drones on and on in the handbook and other employee materials about trust, the less trusting they are.”

6. Management considers lateral communication suspect. My brother worked for a major electronics manufacturer. One day, stopping in the office just before taking off to visit a remote location, he ran into some guys who had just returned from the same facility. “Let’s compare notes,” said my brother, and five or six team members went into a conference room to confer. Within seconds, a manager burst into the room and demanded, “Who authorized this meeting? None of you guys is at a level to authorize a meeting.” Evidently sharing ideas that could benefit the company is only a good thing in this organization if you carry a certain title and salary grade. How idiotic is that? Organizations that don’t allow employees to brainstorm with one another are places where fear has made inroads.

7. Information is hoarded. Closely related to the question “Can employees in my company chat freely?” is the question “How do people find out how things work around here?” If the sole answer is, “Ask your manager,” you’ve got some creepy-crawly fear bugs on your hands. Cultures that allow people to hoard what they know to consolidate their power are cultures where fear has smashed trust under its heel. Likewise, if employees learn about a company layoff through the grapevine or in the newspaper vs. a frank sitdown with their managers and their teams, something is rotten in Denmark, and fear is a silent partner in your management roster.

8. Brown-nosers rule. When the people who get rewarded and promoted are the least-knowledgeable but most-fawning ones in the org chart, fear has come to town. Fear-based senior leaders surround themselves with yes-men and yes-women because it’s more pleasant to hear the “right” answer than the truth.

9. ‘The Office’ evokes sad chuckles, rather than laughs. My friend Amelia writes, “As hard as the writers for ‘The Office’ try to make Steve Carell’s character look like the world’s most bumbling, officious egotist, my actual boss is worse.” When cartoonish fiction looks more appealing than everyday existence to your employees, fear may play a major part. Fear shuts down our ability to think creatively, collaborate, and bring passion to the job. When getting through the day requires a focus on keeping one’s head down, taking no risks, and sucking up to anyone in management, your organization’s soul has left the picture.

10. Management leads by fear. When senior leaders make virtually all decisions in secret, dole out information in unhelpful drips, and base hiring on sheeplike compliance rather than energy and talent, and the PA system all but blares “Be glad to have a job, stop whining, and get back to work,” your company’s fear problem is off the charts. I saw an example of this myself the other day when I stopped at a national retailer to look at earrings. A sales associate mentioned to his co-worker, “Crazy thing, I broke something in my car’s engine, and my mechanic says it’ll be $1,400 to get it fixed.” In a flash, the supervisor of the department swooped into the conversation with the message, “Lucky you’ve got a job, aren’t you then! A lot of people are unemployed, and we’ve got a list of people who’d love to have your job. That’s your thought for the afternoon: Lucky Me!” and off she went. When leadership is based on keeping people in the dark and keeping them off-balance, no one benefits except the tier of managers near the top who justify their existence by devising ways to solidify their stature.

Chief executives know in their hearts that smart people, set loose to solve big problems, are responsible for every success and innovation industry has ever seen. Fear-trampled employees don’t do a thing for your business. Still, management by fear is a hard habit to break, because fear-whipped underlings don’t squawk. Meanwhile, your competitors may be hiring your best talent away and stealing market share while you make it easy for them to do so. Those meek, submissive, broken-down employees might blossom in your rival’s trust-based culture. Do you really want to find out?

Copyright © 2010 Bloomberg L.P.All rights reserved
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Letting The World Burn : 1

November 22, 2010 11 comments

Making this old post sticky for a day or two.

Most people seem to have a child-like faith in institutions that have repeatedly failed them. You cannot reform something that is meant to be dysfunctional.

1. Schools are not places for learning, thinking or developing a child’s intellect. They are places on indoctrination, mental drudgery and mediocrity permeated by a herd mentality.

2. Doctors are not there to help you. Most of them are in that profession to make a lot of money while pissing on you and acting important.

3. Law enforcement does not exist to protect you from criminals. It exits to protect rich criminals from you.

4. Laws do not exist to protect you from abuse. They exist to make it easier for rich shysters to abuse you.

5. Investment advisers are not interested in helping you make more money. They are interested in gambling with it, such that they skim all the profits and you take all the losses.

6. Marriage is not meant to provide you companionship and sex. It is meant to create the illusion of getting those by working you to an early death.

7. Elections are not meant for regime change. They exist to give you the illusion of change.

8. Keep hating on the black and mexican guy while some other white guy is robbing you blind.

9. You think it is a privilege to consume and thereby create more jobs. What privilege?

10. Higher education is a scam, but wasn’t it always?

You can keep believing in scams, lies and failed institutions. Or you could look out for your own self interests and let the ‘world’ burn. All creations of the mind are only as real as you want them to be.

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Odd Pictures: Nov 22, 2010

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

These are two iconic pictures of the Warsaw Ghetto from 1943. Have a look at them.

Did you notice anything odd about heavily armed men scrutinizing obviously unarmed older men, children etc. What possible threat could the scrutinized people have posed to the heavily armed guards and soldiers? So what is the show of power really about?

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A Funny and Morbid Thought: Nov 22, 2010

November 22, 2010 1 comment

Let me make this short and “sweet”. Have you considered the possibility of a rectum bomber?

How long till some indoctrinated moron smuggles explosives in a condom up his rectum (with a string for easy retrieval) and tries to blow up a flight. How will the TSA react to that?

We already had a guy who smuggled explosives in a penis shaped pouch inside his underwear.

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