Thursday, March 11, 2004

That Suction Sound You Hear Coming from the White House Has Been Identified...

As those of you who visit here periodically know, it’s hard to resist having fun with the insanity coming out of the White House (see Monday’s post below, for example).

Yet, aside from the dozens of conspiracy theories that are possible to explain the Bush team aberrant behaviors, or the overwhelming number of potential mental disorders involved with working next to advisors like Rove, Wolfowitz, Perle & Frum, I ask myself: Who would want to be on Mr. Bush’s team, and under what circumstances?

And then I came across a book that explains it all. Finally, someone who understands what’s going on, and this guy is writing primarily about corporate management, not politics. You won’t need to watch Fox “news” anymore or listen to Elmo-like blonde talking dolls whose hair is required to hang down one side of their empty heads, and who gush over Mr. Bush. (As an aside, I mistakenly heard far-right Laura Ingraham for the first time on a talk radio show a couple nights ago. She described "her man" George Bush as a "hunk." This resulted in the closest near-death experience that I've have ever had).

The book I mentioned above is a must read and, as Dave Barry would say, I am not making this title up. How to Work for an Idiot by John Hoover, and its contents are dead serious. Hoover is an organizational leadership consultant, a former manager at Walt Disney and a general manager at McGraw-Hill. The dust cover says he has helped dozens of clients overcome the disease of idiocy, including Delta Airlines, IBM, Hilton Hotels and Xerox.

There is so much good stuff in this short book, it’s hard to know where to start. Browse through it the next time you are at Borders or Barnes & Noble. Hoover speaks from experience - he is a recovering I-boss (Idiot Boss) himself. He describes several kinds of corporate management diseases, maybe without realizing that he has also described the current White House.

Here are some jewels:

With a little power, I-bosses can drive you crazy. With a lot of power, they can terrorize the planet. Not because they are evil, but because they just get certain bizarre thoughts in their heads. And that’s dangerous in a head not designed for thinking.

The belief that I-bosses occur naturally in the random selection of nature raises some interesting questions…Was it a chemical imbalance or oxygen deprivation (in the womb)? Neurological damage is harder to overcome. In either case, it’s the people working for I-bosses who need medicating. There must be some common, cosmic thread running through all workplace idiocy, but …where does idiot power come from to begin with? Is there a mother of all Idiocy?

Most people can spot an I-boss from 100 yards. I often find people in the I-zone (The Idiot zone, surrounding the Idiot). The lifeless expressions worn by (I-zone) zombies …

(Note: have you noticed Colin Powell’s expression lately when he tries to explain what happened at the U.N. a year ago?)

…is the opposite of the perpetual smile so many I-bosses wear.

(Note: …especially when they are also wearing flight jackets and waving)

I-bosses are often overwhelmed at the extent and complexity of the information being discussed by their team members at meetings.

(Note: recall our leader’s aversion to reading anything or listening to the news.)

In these situations it’s common to see the I-Boss’s eyes glaze over.

(Note: ...such as when he is reviewing intelligence options?)

As I-Bosses move up…suction (occurs behind them), and the vacuum that idiots in high places create, is replicated at every level.

(Note: the perpetually inept Texas Rangers, whom our leader formerly owned, just gave away the best player in baseball to the New York Yankees).

Try some of these actual comments (from I-bosses):

Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.

Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the deadline.

My hope is that we can boil down these two documents into three.

We know communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees.

E-mail is not to be used to pass on information and data. It should be used only for company business.

Now dear reader, please go to my blog post of Wednesday Feb 25, entitled “At Least One Child was Left Behind…” Notice anything vaguely familiar, compared to the I-Boss comments above?

More to come from John Hoover in the future. In the meantime, they need him badly at the White House now.

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