Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting and Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors That Undermine Your Workplace arrived in the mail the other day. I'd already decided, from the initial pitch, that I'd like the book. ( Why wait for the cover to judge a book, am I right? Well, on this one I was right.) Seeing the book's cover and glancing through the first pages ... I discovered I was right again (at least for this book). That's why we're here.
There are many reasons why it's an excellent book. Some are standard:
- excellent, crisp writing,
- an interesting backstory
- timely topic
- problem and solution clearly articulated
- doable solutions, too.
I'll give more details as I finish reading the book and write a full-on, proper, review. But for now, here's Part 1 of an interview with the authors Robert Galford, Bob Frisch, Cary Greene.
1. How did you discover the original Simple Sabotage Field Manual?
"Even though the original manual had been declassified in the 1970’s, it didn’t get a lot of coverage. In the intervening decades, someone would make occasional reference to it, but that was about it. Then one day a few years ago, Bob Frisch, one of the co-authors, just happened to see a reference to it in an editorial in the Jerusalem Post, and it piqued his interest. So he got a copy of the original manual, and when he got to the page on organizational sabotage a lightbulb went off. Those same behaviors were happening every day in the clients we work with. So he shared it with us and this book was the result."
2. What inspired you to write a book based on that intelligence document?
"How could we not want to write a book about this? Initially, there is the wonderful ironic twist, with the allied resistance fighters of 75 years ago using these “innocuous” behaviors as an intentional sabotage technique, and then today seeing these same behaviors from people who would never dream of intentionally sabotaging their organizations, yet having a similarly damaging effect. And then, as you reflect on it a little more, you realize two things. First, every organization is susceptible to (or affected by) these behaviors. Second, there are ways of forestalling these behaviors, locating them, isolating them, inoculating organizations against them. And we believe we were able to provide some good guidance and useful tools to address these issues."
3. How do people react when you describe the sabotage tactics?
"It’s just about the easiest “elevator speech” one could imagine. You simply show people the tactics list, and it usually takes less than 30 seconds before their face breaks into a smile, and they say: 'Sounds just like my company', or 'I know someone who does that all the time!', or “Have you been spying on our meetings?” or something to that effect. The recognition and the connection is universal and immediate."
4. Do these behaviors only take place in businesses?
"Absolutely not. The distinctions of profit/non-profit, public/private/governmental, paid staff/volunteer staff, domestic/international, small/large, are irrelevant here. We have tested this and discussed it literally around the world. We have shown it to governmental leaders in the UK, global bankers operating in Asia, University officials, and CEOs everywhere, and they have all acknowledged that the behaviors we’re describing are everyday occurrences where they work. NO organization, regardless of type or category, is immune from this."
I already have a list of people with whom I want to share this book. I think if you check it you'll have a list of your own, too.
Part Two of this interview will be posted tomorrow.