Is there a bozo explosion at your company?
Guy Kawasaki collected 14 examples, set out below. Then Bob Scoble picked up the ball and took the list and added 10 more.
Each of them offered constructive suggestions to their senior managers about how to halt the spread of bozosity. It's a list that every marketer should read.
According to Kawasaki, who writes the Bona Tempora Volvantur blog, the first step is to determine whether a bozo explosion is happening. Here are the top ten signs of bozosity to help you decide.
1. The two most popular words in your company are "partner" and "strategic." In addition, "partner" has become a verb, and "strategic" is used to describe decisions and activities that don't make sense.
2. Management has two-day offsites at places like the Ritz Carlton to foster communication and to craft a company mission statement.
3. The aforementioned company mission statement contains more than twenty words--two of which are "partner" and "strategic."
4. Your CEO's admin has an admin.
5. Your parking lot's "biorhythm" looks like this:
- 8:00 am - 10:00 am--Japanese cars exceed German cars
- 10:00 am - 5:00 pm--German cars exceed Japanese cars
- 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm--Japanese cars exceed German cars
6. Your HR department requires an MBA degree for any position; it also requires five to ten years work experience in an industry that is only four years old.
7. Time is now considered more important than money so you have a company cafeteria, health club, and pet grooming service. Moreover, the first thing that employees show visitors is the company cafeteria, health club, and pet grooming service.
8. Someone whose music sells in the iTunes music store performs at the company Christmas party.
9. An employee is paid to do nothing but write a blog.
10. The success of a competitor upsets you more than the loss of a customer.
(If you've seen other signs of the slide to bozosity, leave them as a comment, and I'll append to this list.) Addendumbs (sic) to the list from readers:
11. You have a layer of middle management who worked at big-name companies (usually consumer goods) who like to call meetings and designate "project leads." (I experienced this first hand.)
12. Your hire a big name consulting firm who brings in MBAs with one year of experience to re-think your corporate strategies.
13. The front-desk staff gets better looking and less competent.
14. Your CEO or CFO spends more time on CNBC than in the office.
(here's where Scoble adds his items).
15: If you are a software developer and if you spend more time in meetings than writing code you might be in a bozo explosion.
16: If the first question out of your manager's mouth is "can this be monetized?" you might be in a bozo explosion.
17: If the name for your product is something like "Contosa Bozo Exploder 2006" you might be in a bozo explosion.
17B: If your product's box has 45% more text on it than an iPod box, you might be in a bozo explosion.
18: If, when an employee comes up with a new idea the answer back is an email with the words "business value" repeated 13 times you might be in a bozo explosion.
19: If, when you ask a business leader "what's your philosophy?" and they answer "huh?" well, then, you might be in a bozo explosion.
20: If more than three people have to be consulted to spend less than $100 million to acquire a company, or build something new, then you might be in a bozo explosion. (Committeeism guarantees slowness, lack of philosophy, and lack of creativity).
21: If your marketing team can change the spec after the development team has started development, you might be in a bozo explosion. (Or, if your development team doesn't communicate well, or listen to, the marketing team you might be in a bozo explosion).
22: If your company forces you to work computers built in 1999, you might be in a bozo explosion (you do realize that having two monitors has been shown by several studies to make people up to 15% more productive, right? Are you working on two or more monitors yet? I keep visiting lots of companies and am surprised to see how many companies force their workers to use small, low-resolution, single monitor setups. They are literally throwing 5% productivity down the drain. For what? A $1,000 per worker savings? It gets worse when we're talking about software developers who have to wait minutes for their companies' code to compile (I've seen so many horror stories here it isn't funny).
23: If your best employees leave you might be in a bozo explosion.
24: If you're not allowed to write on your blog that you are in the middle of a bozo explosion you might be in the middle of a bozo explosion (hint: we don't have such a rule at Microsoft).
But, back to #9. You knew I couldn't resist, couldn't you? Well, I personally think that a major company (IE, one with more than 1,000 employees) that only has ONE paid blogger IS potentially a bozo factory. I personally believe every employee should blog. But, then, I'm an edge case.