Having worked in corporate America, this guy outlines all the major points as to why innovation continues to be stifled in the corporate workplace. An excerpt from a thread found today on Slashdot about Steve Jobs:
Steve Jobs’ First Boss: ‘Very Few Companies Would Hire Steve, Even Today’
“I’ve written multiple books, done award-winning work, and have sterling recommendations/references from people that can say all kinds of fabulous stuff about me. But all of my best work in life has been done in the contracting/consulting space, where I was basically a lone wolf.
Virtually every time a company has hired me, they have immediately put me in a box.
Step 1: Refuse to allow him to use his own tech tools/toolchains crafted over years and with which he is fabulous and familiar.
Step 2: Make sure that there’s no allowance for him to do intense/creative work on his own daytime schedule; meetings are mandatory and if that means that the only time left for actual work is during hours when his brain isn’t at its best, oh well.
Step 3: Lock him into a narrow chain of hierarchy/command so that he can’t ever talk directly to the role players that he needs in order to directly get things done; instead, ensure that he’s always stuck playing telephone through many organizational layers and that his immediate contact has an MBA and doesn’t ever understand what he’s saying.
Step 4: Evaluate him immediately (always too early) and on a linear progress model with synthetic “benchmarks,” whether or not any of this matches the natural trajectory of the task at hand or not, so that instead of doing great things in the best way, he’s working to “hit benchmarks” in ways that often interfere with the actual work, either slowing it tremendously or significantly reducing the potential of the final outcome.
Step 5: Take away any physical and psychological comfort and idiosyncrasy that enables him to act naturally and think clearly; dictate dress, office layout and organization, hours, speech and communications channels, venues, and characteristics, so that he’s not even himself most of the time when he’s working for you (you know, the self that did the great work that you want to have).
Step 6: Toss assorted new tasks and underlings into his lap that have no relationship to what he was actually hired to do and/or his actual area of expertise, ensuring that he’ll spend more and more time doing stuff for which he is not the optimal laborer, again taking away from the work that you actually hired him to do.
Step 7: Undervalue or refuse to value at all any research work, preliminary design/development work, or anything that isn’t clearly “making product” and “hitting benchmarks” and be sure to stop by the desk every ten minutes and remind him that he wasn’t hired “to do that” but instead to “produce.”
Under conditions of “employment” this has happened to me so many times that I hesitate to accept “employment” now and prefer to consult instead. I’m tired of seeing excitement turn into bewilderment of the “He came so highly recommended!” sort after just about every last thing that makes the best work that I’ve done possible (the work that they wanted to see done again, on their time) was methodically written out of my work life.
Too many MBAs and HR drones out there in the corporate world that are really only comfortable seeing other MBAs and HR drones buzzing about the office, wondering why nobody outside of management and HR seems to be “getting anything done.”
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