- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

Proposed new management competency: deprogramming

Deprogramming is a form of management detox. We navigate and work in organizations with a great deal of automatic pilot, even if we don’t accept it freely. We are stuck in expertise and experience. We lack the expertise of detoxing ourselves from our own expertise. There is nothing intrinsically bad with expertise and experience. Chances are you have been hired because of them, so it can’t be bad!

Our programming is a safety system. It is there to facilitate work, to avoid repetition, to be reliable. It’s an insurance system.

We rely on ‘the way things have always been done’ because it’s safe or even because this is what our hierarchy expects. I’ve seen may times managers referring to somebody as ‘Peter is a good manager, sometimes a bit too creative’. It’s not a compliment.

We start projects with a set of preconceived ideas and then we continue looking through those glasses and filters.

Deprogramming entails asking that precise question: what are the preconceived ideas here?

Deprogramming entails ‘leaving your sandals at the door’.

Deprogramming requires a dose of boldness and courage. Courage to challenge, to not accept the status quo, to look at possibilities and not settle for the ones on hand.

Deprogramming accepts that a diet of old ideas is needed.

The main cure for programming, or main deprogramming programme is to expose yourself to your own alien world.

News and magazines you’ve never read.

People who think differently from you.

Disciplines not taught in traditional management.

  1. Suspend judgement
  2. Test your comfort. It correlates inversely with innovation
  3. Force yourself temporarily to an artificial territory
  4. Ask how would X do this. X being not your hero but somebody you are miles away from
  5. Do something completely alien and not work related, the week before you have a major project or task starting

You can add your own.

Detox is good.


Continue the conversation.

Find out more about our free webinar, The Myths of Management [1], on 30th July, with Leandro Herrero and his team of organizational architects.

Maybe it’s time to run the organization ‘under new management’. We have been running enterprises with very tired concepts of empowerment, ownership, accountability and other little challenged pillars.  The truth is that there is mythology embedded in all those concepts. Old traditional management thinking will be unsuitable to win in the post Covid-19 scenario. So, what will the ‘new management’ look like? Which elephants do we need to see in the management room?



Out Now! – The Flipping Point [2] – Deprogramming Management by Leandro Herrero – his new booking challenging the trend for adopting absurd management ideas. Management needs deprogramming. This book of 200, tweet-sized, vignettes, looks at the other side of things – flipping the coin. It asks us to use more rigour and critical thinking in how we use assumptions and management practices that were created many years ago.