Last Updated Oct 31, 2008 12:36 PM EDT
Are you afraid to bring up certain hot-button issues in meetings for fear of being humiliated?
Do you spend more time covering your ass than you do sitting on it?
Is your company in a perpetual state of limbo because nobody can make a decision?
Does your company's mission statement change weekly?
Does your company ship most of its product the last 24 hours of the quarter?
These are all signs of a dysfunctional workplace. But don't fret; you're not alone. In fact, an entire lexicon has grown up around dysfunctional corporate behavior. See if you can recognize some of the issues that drive you and your co-workers nuts in these definitions:
- Analysis paralysis. Chronic debating that obstructs the decision making process and leads to operational failure.
- Breathing your own fumes. When executives actually start to believe the spin they spew out to the media, analysts, investors, customers and employees.
- Committing political suicide. Pissing off or going toe-to-toe with your dysfunctional boss or some other self-important executive.
- CYA. Everyone should know what this means. It's what weak, small-minded people do when they should be doing the right thing instead.
- Disruptive management style. Euphemism for an executive who chronically swoops into meetings, mucks with projects, and generally makes everyone affected want to strangle him.
- End of quarter panic. The last week of the quarter when everybody wakes up and actually does their job. Usually followed by 11 weeks of partying.
- Going down a rathole. When two or more people get into a non-productive argument over a hot topic where neither side will give in so it spirals out of control.
- Hallway meeting. Executives meet in some obscure place and make decisions in the absence of people who are actually responsible for this sort of thing.
- Ivory tower mentality. When self-important executives make decisions in a vacuum because they actually have deep feelings of inferiority and fear healthy interaction.
- Moral flexibility. I first heard this expression in John Cusack's movie Grosse Pointe Blank. It's when narcissistic executives commit fraud and think it's fine.
- Passive aggressive behavior. When somebody agrees to a plan and then does something completely different without telling anybody.
- Sacred cow. A self-important executive's pet project that's immune to the company's standard processes.
- Silo mentality. When departments or divisions act as if they're independent from the rest of the company, often in a defensive way (similar to bunker mentality).
- Strategy du jour. When dysfunctional executives consistently overreact to a single data point or hallway meeting and take the entire organization in a new direction.
- Take it offline. What to do when people get completely off-track, often in a raucous display of childish emotion, in what's supposed to be a productive meeting.
There must be dozens more; let us know what we missed. You get extra points for originality.