A week or so ago, I happened across a training manual offering instructions on proper behavior within organizations. Here I take the liberty of quoting extensively from it.

I ask one favor of you and one element of forbearance. The favor is to kindly ask yourself as you read it whether these behaviors are reflective of what happens within your firm. The forbearance is that I will tell you the source only after you give that a moment’s thought.

  • Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  • See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
  • Make speeches. Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your points by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate loyal comments.
  • When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible – never less than five.
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  • Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  • Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
  • Be worried about the propriety of any decision – raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
  • Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about instructions. Quibble over them when you can.
  • Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products.
  • Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

And the source?

The recently declassified Simple Sabotage Field Manual, published in January 1944 by the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS, predecessor to the CIA), advising civilians in occupied Europe how to conduct themselves in order to sabotage the Axis war effort. It was published over the signature of William J. (“Wild Bill”) Donovan, founder of Donovan Leisure.

This Simple Sabotage Field Manual- Strategic Services (Provisional) – is published for the information and guidance of all concerned and will be used as the basic doctrine for Strategic Services training for this subject. The contents of this Manual should be carefully controlled and should not be allowed to come into unauthorized hands. The instructions may be placed in separate pamphlets or leaflets according to categories of operations but should be distributed with care and not broadly. They should be used as a basis of radio broadcasts only for local and special cases, and as directed by the theater commander. AR 330-5, pertaining to handling of secret documents, will be complied with in the handling of this Manual.

wild bill

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