1. Postpone. Some great killers postpone everything. They don’t even have to use the language, they simply organise things in a way that it is always better to wait to start something: a new leadership team in place, a new reorg, the full headcount, a series of top-down workshops that will explain everything to everybody.
2. Try harder, keep guessing what I want. From my original set 10 ways you kill an organization, this is still very much alive. You never quite get it 100% right with Peter the Great, there is always a but, a ‘too bad you did not do x’ (American favourite) a let’s have another go next week.
3. Let them fail. Peter the Great knows the answers, has the answers, crafts the answers. The team is going in a different direction. Peter the Great simply ‘lets them fail’. So he can be Greater next time. If you think this is an nonexistent caricature, I can assure you I have a list of names, big and medium size leaders I know who behave like this.
4. Keep very very very busy. Busy-ness as permanent state of affairs is a habit killer. It also contagious and toxic. It makes you feel a bit guilty for not being as busy as he is. For this killer, busy-ness is a minimum requirement to justify your existence. To him, Peter the Great that is.
5. Have a call to prepare for the conference call that prepares for the face to face meeting. I don’t need to say more. This is real, everyday life in some organizations, unknown in others. If the habit is in, it is very hard to change. Funny thing is, everybody blames somebody else for the habit, nobody wants to own it, but, hey, this is how we do things here.
6. Refer to the culture all the time as justification for everything. So, it’s not you, no, of course, you personally would not do that but, in this culture, people do x.
7. Parachute, intervene, disappear, parachute again. Some leaders behave as a the Parachute Brigade landing in meetings, affiliates, town halls or ‘customer visits’ to pontificate, assert, perhaps smile, provide wisdom, increase the platitude level and then disappear at the point that normal life resumes.
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