Irresponsibility thrives in a culture of fear, insecurity and the protection of vested interests. These were the foundations of apartheid. And look how efficiently that was slaughtered. It's pretty much the same in the world of business.

According to the folks who hoard and analyse corporate statistics, about 80% of all companies ultimately bite the dust because they employ people who refuse to accept responsibility for anything. So, if you want the business to vrek, don't do anything that anyone can attribute to you.
Pay attention to this adage of age-old wisdom: "Responsibility is a detachable burden that you can easily shift to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or your neighbours. You may also use astrology to off-load it on a star."

Shirking responsibility means never having to say that you're sorry.

Look at it this way. Why go to all the trouble of building and marketing a better mousetrap and then having to apologise when some guy breeds a better mouse?

Sending the business skidding down the slopes to destruction depends on your ability to maintain things as they are. Whatever you do, don't rock the boat. The last thing you want to do is enhance efficiency. If you do, you'll have to empower the guys that work for you so that they can make on-the-spot decisions.

A bank where I needed to transact some business had the right attitude. I went up tot he Customer Service counter and told the young lady behind the counter: "I would like to see someone with a little authority." She flashed me a smile typical of those flashed by bank tellers on TV commercials. "What can I do for you?" she said. "I have as little authority as anyone else around here."

Remember that if you want to empower your staff, you'll have to bust open all those nice, neat little boxes that decorate the organisational chart and confine each employee to the job description straight-jacket. If you break the guys out, they may get the idea that they're of some importance to the business, and heaven knows where that may lead.

So fight with everything you've got to maintain that traditional bureaucratic structure. Hold on to everything you've inherited. Don't make the mistake of departing from laid down procedures. When you give an employee an assignment, explain in great detail exactly what you want him to do. Consider the case of a warehouse foreman who ignored the company's explicit instructions to beware of employee initiative. He merely instructed one of the packers to stencil the words "Fragile. This Side up" on a carton of glassware before shipping it.
"Did you do as I asked?" said the foreman.
"Ja, meneer," replied the packer. "And to make sure that everyone noticed it, I stencilled the words on all sides of the box."

So view all suggested departures from the corporate norm and all suggested improvements with the utmost caution. Wees versigtig. Take a pessimistic, negative attitude to all innovative ideas. Remember that you, as a manager, must always be seen to know best.

But whatever you do, never make any clear-cut decisions. Always wait for those upstairs to put their heads on the chopping block. And, if you're one of the big deals upstairs, take the safest course of action - no action. If you don't do anything, nobody can blame you if it goes wrong.

As confirmed buck-passer, you can stifle a booming business by tightly wrapping everything in constricting red tape. Ry stadig by further impeding forward mobility. Encourage your employees to develop a "bureaucratic mindset".
What does this mean?
The three primary ingredients of solid maak asof jy loop maar loop nie bureaucracy are:
safety at all costs:
extreme caution at all times, and
stringent control.

Frown on all forms of entrepreneurship among the manne. Make self-expression verboten. Don't threaten the tried and tested procedures or the hierarchies that are slowly killing the business.

In addition, treat all employees like naughty kids. The less you trust them and the less responsibility you give them, the sooner will the foundations of the business will begin to crumble.

Worship at the altar of controls. Go out of your way to dream up stringent controls to control those who control the controls. Use fear to manipulate your employees.

"How long have you worked here?" I asked the sales person in the appliance division of a department store.
"Ever since the boss threatened to fire me," he replied.

Axe all workers who don't immediately comply with your instructions. Retrench to save costs, not to improve efficiency.

And never say exactly what you mean, especially if you're reporting to superiors. When the news is bad, vague statements and calculated distortions of the truth offer some protection against shouldering the blame.

You have the duty to create a strong feeling of dependency among your staff. They must be made to curry your approval while you seek approval from higher authority. This way you won't rock the boat and, if there's a screw-up, you can take comfort from the fact that "it's not your fault".

Stay on course for business oblivion by:

Smothering all signs of creativity and hanging grimly on to what you've inherited, no matter how outmoded and inefficient.

Always being overcautious and pessimistic.

Constantly monitoring and evaluating the guys who work for you.

Harshly punishing mistakes or departures from the procedures you lay down.

Refusing to make clear-cut decisions and always waiting for someone else to give direction;

Discouraging initiative.

Only working within your preconceived and tightly delineated "comfort zone".

Using the bureaucratic cycle as your business model - traditional top-down control and immediate submission to authority.

Always viewing suggestions by your employees in a negative light.

Constantly seeking approval from those above you before initiating any action.

1. I thought I made it clear
2. Let's not rock the boat
3. We tried that once before
4. Who cares? It's the company time after all
5. I'm the boss. Do as I say
6. I can't stand change
7. We made the cuts, now lets get back to work
8. I'll do it as soon as possible
9. I prefer to work alone
10. Speaking as a Nestlé man
11. Get him on the line!
12. I've got 20 years experience
13. Let's keep it confidential
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