How to sink your business in 6 days or fewer
Have you struggled to steer your business onto the rocks this quarter? Are your staff unflinchingly loyal and hardworking, no matter what you do? Are you suffering from a bad case of profit? Then this is the self-help article for you. Here’s my advice on how to be the CEO used as a punchline at dinner parties for years to come.
Step 1: Make sure that you are surrounded by yes men. Or yes women. It’s important to have diversity in your close circle of terror-stricken nitwits.
Remember, anyone who questions or criticises you is your enemy and it’s important to resolutely punish anyone who disagrees with you as a business leader.
Surround yourself with people who will say yes to even your most ridiculous, out of touch and maniacal behaviour, and carry out your demands, even at a risk to their jobs and entire business. But remember: rule out of fear. Loyalty should never be deeper than a superficial desire for the next paycheck. If you show too much respect for your employees, they’ll end up thinking you won’t send them to the glue factory to make a quick buck.
And as you know, you know that all employees are replaceable, irrespective of talent, ability, project knowledge or skill set, and they should know that. This will ensure that you have an incredibly high staff turn over, run by people who will never stand in the way of you and your confident pursuit of disaster.
Step 2: Punish anyone and everyone for even the smallest of indiscretions. If you can’t find any, make some up.
In order to really dismantle any form of loyalty anyone might have to you, make them absolutely despise you. Not in a ‘Linda is a bit haughty sometimes’ way. That won’t work. You need to consistently and stubbornly work towards inflicting emotional pain on your workforce day and night.
When an employee starts working for you, they will be keen to prove their loyalty to you through hard work, a positive attitude and initiative. It’s important that you dismantle this as soon as possible to ensure your business is inherently toxic.
The best way to lower their sense of enjoyment and pride in their work is through public humiliation, bullying and emotional abuse. Find a spelling mistake they made in a meeting agenda, and copy in the whole office to your criticism of them. Wake them at 4am with emails threatening their position if they don’t improve their work on a skill you haven’t trained them for.
If they aren’t doing anything wrong, make something up. Tell them that other people in the office have been saying something, even if it can be revealed to be provably false. Eventually, everyone will hate you and want to jump ship. Goal!
Step 3: Lie repeatedly and consistently to your clientele, to ensure your income is constantly on the line. (This will have the added bonus of frightening your staff)
Say whatever the hell you need to get someone over the line. You can teach them to turn water into wine? Sure. You can get them into Johnny Depp’s birthday party? Definitely! You know him so well.
…Then hand it over to a junior member of staff and blame them when they can’t do the ridiculous number of tasks you’ve promised. To ensure you lose the client and the respect of your staff, make sure you fire the poor distressed intern or researcher very publicly for failing to do something that everyone knew was ridiculous to start with.
Step 4: Be incredibly unreliable, tyrannical and practice changing your mood dramatically every few hours to keep people on their toes.
You’re so laidback and funny. Just a chilled out dude with lots of beanbags and a Starbucks mug. No you’re not. You’re a hardened professional who demands results. You just want to mess about in a meeting, get to know your team. No you don’t. Meetings are no time for humour. How dare you undermine this serious issue with such trivial, base humour.
Make sure you shift moods so regularly everyone is convinced you are either off your face on coke or in serious need of a therapist. Or both.
Step 5: Undermine talent and creativity as being a threat to bureaucratic conformity.
Remember: creative thinkers and go-getters are dangerous thinkers. They are the sly sorts who won’t blindly follow orders into failure. It’s vitally important that your ego comes above any form of sense.
It’s essential that you praise those who plod along in numb bureaucracy and tell anyone coming up with new ideas for your business or start up that they are ‘insane’ and ‘a loose canon’. To up the terror of disruption or transformation, hire managers who are clearly dealing with some kind of internal insecurities about their own intelligence and ability. This will ensure that you keep talent down, and promote yes men. Or yes women. Intersectionality y’all.
Step 6: Resolutely believe that you are above self reflection and criticism in all regards.
Remember, as you stand and cling to the sinking bows of your business, it was never you. It was never what you did, or the decisions you made when driving the ship onto the rocks. It was the wicked employees who left you to sink on your own, they’re the real villains. It would have all been fine if only you hadn’t had such negativity towards you in your cabin. And as the water comes flooding in, stand resolute in the knowledge that you, to the end, do not need to change anything about yourself or your behaviour.