Creating a Bad Culture pt 1


People talk about how hard it is to change a corporation’s culture, but I have started to think that they are wrong, in part. I think it’s easy to change corporate culture if one wants to make it worse.

Let us imagine a newly appointed CEO, who is really intent on screwing up the culture. Where would he start?

  1. Complain about everything
    If I were that CEO, I would start by complaining to anyone who will listen about anything that I think needs to change. If I were skillful, I would make sure that no-one could see what I was doing.

    I would complain about things that can’t change, like things in the past, or taxes. I would make sure that I pointed the finger at other people, blaming them for anything that didn’t go right.

    I would conceal how much I enjoy complaining, and pretend that I really wanted things to change.

  2. Listen to Complainers
    I would also encourage others to complain to me. They would be able to commiserate as much as they want, and I would listen and add my two cents worth. I know they would be blaming others, and I would agree with them all.

    I would promote the people who are the really big complainers, and support them in passing on responsibility to others. I would have no problem as they justify their poor performance.

    After work, I’d support long sessions over drinks while we all spend some more time wishing that things are different.

  3. Break Promises
    I’d make public promises and simply never bring them up again if they are never met. It would be a case of selective amnesia.
  4. Communicates Infrequently and Irrelevantly
    I would rarely speak to groups of employees. I would also never encourage a Q&A and use a script wherever possible. I’d avoid speaking about the issues that people care about the most, unless I have really good news.
  5. Never Let Them See you Sweat
    I’d be sure to communicate confidence and capability at ALL times. No matter what uncertainties or doubts I may have, I’d never show them, and learn to hide my true feelings (the better to build trust in my leadership.)

To be continued…