Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ten Proven Ways to De-Motivate Your Team

Thanks everyone for your kind words about my lightning keynote today at StarEast.

Here is the complete script:

10. Set unreasonable “stretch” goals just to see how hard people will work.

It really doesn’t matter what the goals are, or what the deadlines are, just make them really hard to achieve. If you really want to wear people down, do this at least once every 3 months. Overlapping stretch goals are especially fun.

9. Never explain your rationale for decisions.

Reasons? You don’t need no stinking reasons! “Because I said so” works just fine. In fact, it’s good mental exercise for your team to try to figure out your irrational actions.

8. Assign meaningless tasks.

The most important thing about work is that people look busy at all times. Whether it’s writing a PowerPoint presentation for you to impress your boss, or just to test until 6 in the evening, make sure everyone always looks busy.

7. No matter how good something is, criticize it.

Especially the first time you review it. Get a nice, big, red marker and go crazy. Forget about the main point of the content and focus on sentence structure or specific words you don’t like (such as “the” or “that”). Before long, people will give up and stop trying to make something right the first time.

6. Take all the credit for yourself.

After all, this team is your creation, right? This is especially important to remember at bonus time. Otherwise, you may have to suffer financially. (Don’t forget to attend all senior management meetings alone.)

5. Solve problems by building a new bureaucracy.

Remember, there are no simple solutions, only simple people. You are a much more complex person than that. You can design forms, approval processes and even spreadsheets. Of course, once you implement this required bureaucracy, you need to police it some way, so you will need a special team of spies to make sure everyone follows the “new way of doing things.”

4. Listen…like a brick wall.

The trick is to make people think you are listening. So, look them right in the eye, nod approvingly, but let your mind roam. Then, you can fulfill all your ADD fantasies. NBA scores, weekend plans, lunch plans….you name it.

3. Refuse to consider ways to do the job more effectively.

Tools? We don’t need no stinking tools, either! Besides, we can’t afford all those fancy tools. Free tools? We can’t use those – we do have rules to follow, you know. Training? We had a class 5 years ago. Can’t you people remember anything? Learn at lunch? Heck no, your team is too busy working through lunch. (See point #8 – always look busy.)

2. Treat your team like they are machines that should never break down.

I mean really. Why do these people call in sick and let you down when you least expect it. Who’s going to write your status report? And don’t even get me started about bathroom breaks!!

1. Never, ever, in any circumstance, give anyone praise or recognition.

Otherwise, people would start to feel hope and happiness, like when we saw all the teenagers leaving for home today. Remember, if you never praise anyone, you don’t have to insult them, just ignore them. Eventually they will leave and you can hire someone else to de-motivate.

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