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Creative Business

4 best ways to induce paranoia and undermine confidence

May 8, 2013 — by Daryll Scott0

We all like the feelings of stress, anxiety and paranoia, so here are four tips to make sure that your organisational culture turns reasonable people into violent psychopaths:

  • Confuse knowledge with ability

By over valuing explicit knowledge you can completely ignore factors like attitude, experience, judgement and tacit ability.

When knowledgeable people can’t do, they make the mistake of thinking they don’t know enough, so they acquire more knowledge but it doesn’t help – what they need is ability which comes from unconscious competence: Road-time and a well trained gut.

You can fuel the paranoia nicely by giving them more and more overwhelming explicit information and when that doesn’t help and they can’t retain it they can begin to feel more and more phony.

  • Impose ridiculous accountability

Make individuals accountable for huge dynamic systems like market conditions or the weather, and manage them against outcomes that cannot be guaranteed by an individual human being.

On a previous blog a friend commented that she was recently asked ‘Who owns culture in this organisation?’ I’m reminded of the Roman Emperor who ordered his soldiers to fight the sea – can’t remember which one, I think it was Caligula but I could be wrong – answers on a blog post…

  • Critique personality

Critique people to death by focussing in on how they conduct themselves not what they achieve. It’s important to make people feel personally judged, it’s not work – it’s them as a person. Make it a fickle popularity contest, based on personality not character, and make it as much like Elizabethan Court as possible.

To add a psychotic paranoid process, add in ‘phantoms’ that can’t be directly influenced like ‘how the organisation perceives you’. You know you have achieved when people pay 90% of their attention to their PR, relationships and affiliations, and only 10% to the actual work.

  • Induce fear

Make sure that the negative consequence of getting it wrong far outweighs any positive consequence of performing well. When you talk about error or mistakes, it’s important that you show a mix of terror and disapproval.

It’s also important to be afraid of things that have never happened, and things that if they did happen you don’t even know if there would be a negative consequence or not – nobody has dared to find out. Fear everything that is not squeaky-clean predictable conformity.

Enjoy your work!

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