>> Amy Draves: Hello. Thanks so much for coming. My name is Amy Draves and I'm very pleased to welcome Bob Frisch to the Microsoft Research Visiting Speaker Series. He's here to discuss his book, Simple Sabotage, a modern field manual for detecting and rooting out every day behaviors that undermine your workplace. Bob is considered one of the world's leading strategic facilitators and is the author of several high-impact articles for the Harvard Business Review including When Teams Can't Decide which was named as one of the 10 most read articles on teams. He has authored Who's in the Room, How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them. Please join me in giving him a very warm welcome. [applause]. >> Bob Frisch: Thank you. Thanks also to the people who are participating online. It's hard to know how many people are here and how many people are there, but to those people there welcome as well. After this was book I came up with the headline Who's Sabotaging Microsoft. I figure we probably would've needed a bigger room to have that topic, but actually that's the topic. The topic is are there people today on this campus who are inadvertently in some way actually sabotaging the success of the corporation, and why would that be and what do you do about it? It's an interesting topic. So the jumping off point is this book. In the year 1944, the OSS which was the predecessor of today's CIA published a book called The Simple Sabotage Field Manual. If you go to www.simple sabotage.com you can actually download the PDF. It's in the public domain. It's an old book. It was kind of the, I want to say hackers manual, because hacker means something in this culture. The hackers that do bad stuff, what do you call those people? The disruptive hackers, right. It was translated into a number of languages. They dropped it behind enemy lines and it became kind of the manual for how to slow down the axis from within. The resistance movement in Europe was very active and it was something that was put in their hands to try to figure out how do we slow down the axis war machine. They talked about sabotages. You know, lots of people doing small things to hinder the efficiency and if you have thousands of people doing this, it could be an effective weapon against the enemy, sort of how to fight from within. Most of the ideas were kind of in the sand in the gas tank variety. Most of the manual, this when here is ruling the warehouse stock by setting off the sprinkler system. You can do it by tapping on the sprinkler head with a hammer or holding a match under. Again, it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that's how you would do it, but if you have a laborer in a warehouse looking for what can I do? Okay, when somebody's not looking just bang the sprinkler head and all of a sudden the warehouse full of uniforms or whatever is destroyed. And lots of people doing lots of these things behind the lines over time would deteriorate the effectiveness of an organization. That was the theory. So they published this manual and they dropped it down. It was actually a very interesting book to read. And I wasn't kidding about sand in the gas tank. This is the section on sand in the gas tank. And literally it says whatever you can put in, one pint of liquid to twenty gallons of gasoline is sufficient if salt water is used. So he literally it was the things that people could do to help grind down the war effort, how to destroy an organization within consciously by members of the resistance. One page, I saw it referred to somewhere in kind of an obscure document. It's gotten a lot more downloads since our book came out, but it's out there. The government printed it and how they declassified it and made it available. But one page, interest. These were the eight tactics to disrupt an organization. If you want to disrupt an organization what can you do? Again, we're going to talk about these eight because they form the chapters of the book, things like insist on doing everything through channels. Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions. Or bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible. Mine is referred to matters decided on at the last meeting and attempt to reopen to question the advisability of the decision. So I'm a management consultant. I work with leadership teams and so I started showing them this page and everybody laughed, like that's my company today. I see these behaviors happening all the time around me every day. So you have to ask yourself the question, if these are the things that the OSS said that somebody should do to bring down an organization, why are they pervasive today? And what do you do about it? So I got together with my partner Cary Greene, my friend Rob Galford and we are kind of looking around for what is the next book. My first book was on the structure of senior executive teams, a really great book for about six or seven hundred people, a very sort of a specific book. But I wanted to do a book with a broader audience and Cary did as well and Rob had done a few. We said maybe this would be an interesting topic. Let's try to figure out are these things really going on as much as we think they are? The chuckles after you show this is one thing, but are they as pervasive as we think? And if they are do we actually have anything to say or could we talk to people who do have something to say about what do you do about it? How do you basically either identify them and root them out and inoculate yourself against these behaviors if these are the very things that bring down a company? We're going to assume, by the way, conscious sabotage, we are going to assume that away. If somebody did come here intending to do damage, we're going to put that aside for this. This is unconscious, inadvertent, they don't mean to do it. It's just happening today. The first thing we did, naturally, we took a survey. We are quantitative people. We set up a website. We set up a survey. We got about 225 respondents, primarily U.S. companies at this point, senior to midlevel executives. We said here's a list of things. How often do they adversely impact your organization's performance? And a significant of them said frequently or constantly. When they saw the list they are just like you. I see these things all the time. And then we actually said do they have an impact? Some people said modest, but most people said noticeable and forty percent said substantial or destabilizing. These are things that are very real taking place in companies today that are deteriorating the performance just as the OSS designed them, or codified them to intentionally destabilize performance. We also have a list and there are a couple of new ones here. We are going to talk about one today. We added a couple, one of which was not available to the OSS 1944 called cc everyone in order to inform no one. We will be talking about that this morning. There were some tactics that weren't available in 1944. But we asked and we said to you see in your company and all of them were recognized at least 50 percent of the time. There was not one of these that was only relevant to a small portion of the population. These are fairly pervasive, fairly impactful and pretty widespread. We said okay. Let's go ahead and think through this. We did the book. It's gotten some nice reviews which was fortunate. They came out in September. I want to talk a little bit about these tactics. When you came in, people that wanted to, there are some sheets in the back. For those of you who are watching from your desks, you may want to take some notes on your own. I'm going to go through these including the three new ones, the three modern tactics. I'll just ask you very quickly to make a little note to yourself, just make a little mark. We are not going to collect these. Sometimes we use wireless keypads. I'm not going to ask you to raise your hands because there are five cameras in the room and I don't want to embarrass anybody, but just make a note for yourself of either have I seen it? Have I been a victim of it? Has it been done and impacted me, or might I have done this? Might I actually be a perpetrator of this particular kind of sabotage? As we are going through them it is handy to just keep track because I'm curious. We've noticed in some organizations some are more pervasive than others and some are harder to root out than others. So I'm going to talk about each of these a little bit. I'll go into depth on ones that you guys decide to go into depth on to the time limit that we have, and then we'll do some questions and roll on. Sound like a worthwhile way to spend some time? Sabotage by obedience, this actually is the wrong data. Sabotage by obedience, my apologies for the slide. Sabotage by obedience reads insist on doing everything through channels, never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions. Again, insist on doing everything through channels and never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions. Let me give a small example of this. Again, it's from the book so you can save yourself the page. I was checking into a hotel and I was arriving late at night. I was a frequent stayer at that chain and I said do you have an update available? The night clerk said no upgrades tonight, didn't look at the system, didn't do anything just didn't look. I said okay. The next morning when I was checking out I was talking to the morning manager and I said gee. I'm surprised the place was so crowded on a Sunday night. And he said no. We were empty. I said really? There were no upgrades available. And he looked and he said I'm very sorry. We had rooms to upgrade you to. And I left a somewhat dissatisfied frequent stayer of that chain. I felt that. I realized that the person the night before may have been distracted, may have been lazy. May have said it costs an extra five dollars if we upgrade because they drink the free waters or it takes a little extra to clean up the nicer rooms, so I'm going to avoid that cost and I'm just not going to give out upgrades.. If you think about that he was a saboteur. He held by the book. The book is you showed. You are paying for a regular room. You are getting a regular room. I'm not going to bend any rules for you, just go stay in your room. Hope you have a nice day. And I was a little unhappy that they didn't make the effort to sort of stretch it a little teeny tiny bit and see if it might be available. I stay in that hotel quite a bit. What I realized is this kind of sabotage happens all the time. And in looking at it, we think, and I'm going to go into depth on this one because we can go into depth on any of them, but I want to show you how we sort of thought about some of these things. I'm pretty sure that that hotel chain probably has a system where if a hotel clerk gives away too many upgrades it flags. If somebody is giving away 10 upgrades tonight and they are giving away 10 times more upgrades than any other manager in the system I'm sure there is a system set up to report that to the area manager. Usually when somebody does something in excess, too many returns, too many price adjustments, too many upgrades, too many changes approved our system is designed to flag those kinds of excesses. How about if somebody never gives away an upgrade? How about if somebody never asks for an exception? How about if somebody never gives a return in violation of the norm? How about if somebody never asks for that? Many times our systems are not designed to detect those behaviors. That's where saboteurs live. One of the key things you have to remember about the OSS and the saboteurs is that they didn't want folks to get caught. A saboteur gets caught and he's in trouble. So you have to have behaviors that are either hard to find, somebody in a deep corner of a warehouse hits the sprinkler head with a hammer and the things go off. Or you have to find things that if they are done have a lot of deniability to them. Somebody says gee Fred, we happen to notice you never giveaway upgrades and you say, well it costs the chain another four a half dollars every time I do an upgrade. I was trying to save money. I understand we are trying to work out our margins around here. You can't get somebody in trouble for that. It's a highly, whether they call it back in those days? Plausible deniability, right, plausible deniability. A saboteur should have in the best case possible plausible deniability. The easiest rule to have is I always follow the rules. I just don't make exceptions. Don't ask me to. And by the way, I don't really appreciate your making exceptions. We have rules. They're here for a reason and I'm not going to be a cop but don't ask me to do something that I think is wrong. I just went to this lecture about how we are watching our margins. Every free room we give away snacks and water. That costs the chain 6 1/2 dollars. I'm sorry. I'm supposed to be watching my margins around here. I'm very careful who I give an upgrade to. That person might get applauded for that behavior. I walked away unhappy. The diminished my relationship. They sabotaged my relationship with the chain, Inadvertently, hard to detect, but very, very real. Again, I think if you look at your score sheet like do I see it? Does it happen to me? Do I ever do that? I think you'll find this is one of the most pervasive forms of sabotage. People following the rules to the nth degree, not showing flexibility, hard to call them out on it, hard to say you are sabotaging this effort. I'm not sabotaging this effort; I'm just following the rules. You're sabotaging the effort by not following the rules. So we could talk a little bit about what to do about it, but this is an example of the kind of behaviors that people look at the list and say I see that all the time. Again, I want to show here on some of our thinking on each of these rules we talk a little bit about what to do about it. I won't have time to do that on everyone, so I thought we would go through the rules relatively quickly. I would introduce them, and then if you look at your little score sheet and say there is one or two that I would like to talk about a little bit more about what do you do about it, we can spend our time on that. What we recommend here is you have to look at your performance metrics and your incentives. Are you actually incenting people to do the right things? Again, if I just looked at one of my measuring, I guess I don't want people to give away too many upgrades because I flag that and I report that. But is that really the problem? Have I looked at the other side of the bell curve and said do I care if somebody doesn't give any away? Yeah, I do. That would probably be a pretty inflexible person not ever giving an upgrade away. Okay. So do I want to actually set my metrics to report that to me? Do I want to see it? Because again, what we've noticed since we started talking about this is it is really true that the too few exceptions tends to be a very unmeasured and unmonitored part of the world. And the too many exceptions is where most reporting systems live. That's where they spend their time measuring is too many exceptions, not too few. Does this feel familiar or comfortable to people? I'm not asking for a show of hands because we have five cameras and I don't want to embarrass anybody. You have to be a little bit careful about continuous improvement. Here's what I mean by that. We were with a client wants and we were talking about the goals and objectives for their call center operation. They were very proud. They were answering the phone on average like 1.6 brings and by the end of the year they were going to get it to 1.4 brings. The CEO said how many people abandon before two rings? And they said if people intended to call us nobody. Everybody waits. He said why are we going from 1.6 to 1.4? The answer is we have been spending 10 years lowering the number of rings and now it's year 11 and so we are lowering the number of rings. There's some point where enough is enough. We are good. But again, is that sabotage that the call center director was spending that tremendous time and effort for trying to get from a ridiculously high to a absurdly high level of competence? I don't think you would say she was sabotaging anything, but they were going to spend an awful lot of time trying to get that average number of rings down because that's what they were doing. But in the course of doing so, she may have been sabotaging the organization because that money should have been spent elsewhere. Like what do people say when they actually pick up the phone? But lot of money was being vested in the wrong metrics. It's always good to look at your metrics and especially if it's something you've been working at for a long time, say is it good? Should we move on? Can we start worrying about other things now? Tolerate mistakes, people have to be able to use their judgment. There is a very famous story. I don't remember, but one of the great historical business people, Woolworth or one of those folks, somebody made a very, very expensive mistake that at the time cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, a fortune back then. And somebody said are you going to fire the person? They made a terrible mistake and he said that experience cost me so much why would I fire somebody that I have invested so much money in? He's not going to make the mistake again. So to a certain extent how do you let people use their judgment and not necessarily feel bound by a rule set, because again, strict adherence to a rule set can be negative. And especially, take an experienced employee and put them through the new employee orientation and say what are we telling people is important? What are we telling them they will be measured on? What are we telling them is important? That night clerk obviously thought that turning an experienced traveler we without an upgrade didn't matter very much. It's always useful to say what are we actually training people to do? What are we telling them is important around here and what are we telling them we are going to measure? And if you think about it, if you walk away and it's all you knew, what impression would you have of what I'm supposed to be doing around here and what the organization values? Again, none of these is a cure. None of these is a fix, but these are the kinds of things that if you think you have that problem of too strict adherence to rules, are the measures in the right place? Are you teaching people the right thing? Are you letting them use their judgment? Are there mechanisms to deal with it? These are all things that can help to offset the impact of that one behavior. We can do a deep dive into any of these. I just wanted to give you an example. Second one, sabotage by speech. I don't know what happened to my projection, but my apologies. It says make speeches. Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your points by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate and patriotic comments. Again, sometimes people in meetings or in life tend to go a long way and say an awful lot and actually not say very much except wave the flag and score the right points and move on. Again, can you say to somebody you are impacting the effectiveness of the group by talking too much for speaking too much? You could. It's an awkward conversation to have. But it's a very, very effectively for people to get progress from happening. I know one particular executive and when he meets with subordinates in a one-hour meeting, 45 to 50 minutes is about whatever is in their brain when the meeting started from whatever topic what the last meeting was about to a football game and then they actually get down to the business of the meeting in the last 10 or 15 minutes. I think it's a very deliberate behavior on that person's part, but the organization feels that very little gets done. It's a hard thing to fix. Sabotage by committee. Sabotage by committee says when possible refer all matters to committee for further study and consideration. Attempt to make the committees as large as possible, never less than five. When possible refer all matters to committee for further study and consideration, attempt to make the committees as large as possible, never less than five. Anybody keeping score here at home? Anybody see this behavior? Constantly, right? My, our synagogue got an e-mail from the association of synagogues or whatever, and they were concerned about alcohol consumption. They didn't think alcohol consumption was appropriate. They wanted all synagogues to them all alcohol except for certain events. So our Rabbi gets the letter, calls a bunch of us together and says I think we have to address this. We have to take this very seriously. I think we should talk about it at the next board meeting. We should have a special committee. We need to have the youth chairman, the men's group, the women's group, maybe a couple of psychologists from the community. Oh, so-and-so is an expert in substance abuse. Maybe somebody from the police force. Good idea, good idea. I'll have a committee. That was four years ago. The committee has never met, but if asked, somebody says what are you doing about this letter? We say oh, we have a committee. Problem solved, we have a committee, right? The many organizations, you know, treat committees that we. The problem is solved; the committee has been appointed. But also in the actual work of a committee, and a lot of the time and we'll talk more about it in a moment, but we do things like the racy model or rapids or other things for who's got to be informed, who's got to be consulted before. There are ways you can work on committee structures to keep them leaner and tighter and more effective. Most companies don't deploy that. As soon as there's a topic, you know, we've got to have someone from legal there in case something legal comes up. Finance has to be there because somebody has to add three numbers. Marketing has to be there because it can impact the brand and all of a sudden you get 27 people showing up for a meeting that really for five people could have resolved. So is the person that does that a saboteur? They're trying to be inclusive they're not trying to blow it up or try to keep it from being effective. But this when we see all the time. Sabotage by irrelevant issues, it just says bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible. Again, I don't know if anybody has ever experienced that in an organization, but it happens all the time. Again, we'll talk a little bit about how do you prevent or call out these behaviors, but it is a challenge when you are working with a group of people and somebody brings up something that is just totally from left field. You feel like you can't disrespect the person by not acknowledging it, but at the same time it's just not germane to what you have to do. Sabotage by haggling, my friend Rob, this is his favorite. Haggle over the precise wordings of communications, minutes and resolutions. So once you made a decision, now let's spend another two hours about exactly, precisely what did we decide and how will all the eight different stakeholder groups feel when we actually do it and how do we put things in the right words? I'm not saying to be insensitive or be a clod about it, but at the same time a saboteur can spend an awful lot of time and energy on the wording of a decision as opposed to the decision itself. I don't know if on your little score sheets you have seen anything like this before. My favorite, sabotage by reopening decisions. Again, it says refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to reopen the question or the advisability of that decision. You may think you have a decision but somebody comes back and says I have been thinking about it. Shouldn't this really be over here? Or the ones that I especially like that is related to it is you make a decision and then three weeks later somebody is offering a completely different angle. And you say what's going on? I thought we decided this. Yeah, but I went back to my group and they kind of didn't see it that way so we're going to go over here. Okay. But you never actually told the rest of us, so we're all going that way and you're going this way. Like there is no need to loop back and say we sort of edited the decision post decision. Again, common behaviors. Sabotage by access of caution. Advocate caution in quotes. Be reasonable and urge your fellow conferees to be reasonable. Avoid haste which might result in embarrassment or difficulty later on. So try to avoid decisions or getting back to decisions by just continually being the person putting on the brakes saying is this too much? Do we have to go this far? Are we overreacting? Should we think about this some more? Should we let this die just for a little while? Is it really something we have to move on now? In certain cultures it's more pervasive than others. In certain industries it's more destructive than in others. Asking for a week's delay in the citing of a chemical plant, I'm sure it's a bad thing for the engineers of a chemical plant, but it takes 10 years before you decide you want to put a chemical plant somewhere and you get a molecule out the other end. Beyond an eternity in your industry, so cycle times matter on this one. Sabotage by is it really our call. Being worried about the propriety of the decision, raise the question as to whether such actions as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group. Be worried about the propriety of a decision, raise the question as to whether such action as contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether my conflict with the policy of some higher echelon. Now that we've made a decision, do we have the right to make this decision? I don't know if that ever happens. If I had keypads I could get what you really thought. We see this all the time. Again, if you look at these things most of them are actually an excess of the good behavior. Following rules, doing things through channels, that's a good thing. You can't have anarchy. You have to have rules. You have to have channels. You have to have processes. That's how organizations are run. You don't want people to talk too long, but people never say anything, that's bad. We are always getting coaching about speaking up in meetings, having people know your opinions. It's good for people to participate. That's very positive. Committees are great. People shouldn't make arbitrary decisions unilaterally as dictators. You should bring other people in, seek their counsel, seek their advice. What's the matter with a committee? Nothing wrong with that. Irrelevant issues, okay, irrelevant issues, that's fine, but it's never good to get right down to task. Some of us are told when you start a meeting don't go to task right away. If there's a big football game it's always good to say how was the football game. Even if it's not your natural tendency, we are taught that certain people like to socialize, so not bad. Haggle over precise wording. People are going to ask us what this means. Vacation is going to start this day. What time is it going to start. Are we going to get out at the regular time or will we be a couple of hours early? Is everybody going on vacation or just certain kinds of employees? People are going to ask us. We might as well be precise so everybody knows. Reopen the advisability, if I had been sleeping on something and I think it's a bad idea, why shouldn't we talk about it again? Since I left the meeting I have had a chance to think about it. I talked to some other people. I think it's worth a second look. But it's just not go ahead. If my colleagues told me their concerns, we are locked in and I can't bring those in front of you to have a look at them? What's the matter with that? Caution, what's the matter with being a cautious? What's the matter with being reasonable? What's the matter with taking your time before you make a decision? What's the matter with saying maybe we weren't supposed to make this decision. Somebody else more qualified should make it, or if they make the decision were feel that they made it, they can bring more resources to make it stick better. Any one of these behaviors is a laudable behavior taken to excess. That, I think was the wisdom of the OSS because plausible deniability all over the place. You can't take anybody out and shoot them. Remember, saboteurs got shot. You got caught you're shot. You got caught wrapping that thing, now, if you are a plumber and you are trying to fix the system and you accidentally set it off, that's one thing. But if you're some employee who is banging around with a fire alarm system, you're going to get in trouble. You can't get in trouble with these. And, they very much are behaviors that we are looking for inside our organizations. But wait, there's more like the infomercials say. We added a couple more because we thought we should. This is my favorite, cc everybody. Send updates as frequently as possible including the distribution list of anyone even peripherally involved. I don't know if that is happening in this organization; you've guarded against it. I remember when Murdoch, who was the publisher of one of the British tabloids, somebody got caught hacking into the phone messages of the royal family. It was a big scandal over there. And somebody said you knew about. I said I didn't know about. They said you got this e-mail on this day and you opened the e-mail. It was like a sentence in the fifth paragraph buried with five other topics. Oh, by the way… He was not informed. They said you got the e-mail and you opened the e-mail. You were informed. You read the e-mail. Well, I didn't read that part of the e-mail. And people cc everybody to protect themselves and say I informed you, but everybody knows if you get this barrage of -- I don't know how many e-mails the average person in this room gets, but I'll bet it's a lot. And even with really good filtering and the ability to put things into directed boxes by sender and all the things you can do, at the end of the day this is a pervasive form of sabotage today. Well I told you. You never told me. I sent you an e-mail. Sending me an e-mail is not telling me. It kind of sort of is. Sabotaged by matrixed accountability, anybody work or have next to them a matrixed organization around here? The greatest gift to consulting ever conceived. Hide accountabilities. You notice, by the way, I have yet to find a matrixed military. I just thought I'd point that out. I haven't found a matrixed Army yet. Hide accountabilities within matrixed organization so no one feels responsible for making decisions. In all seriousness, matrices are very, very hard work within and finding the locus of accountability, who owns the decision, is sometimes challenging in many organizations, maybe not here, but in many organizations. Again, saboteurs can hide in the matrix very easily. >>: Do you find a corollary to that that organizations create matrices so they feel that it spreads responsibility and makes more people feel involved and engaged? >> Bob Frisch: There are many positive things. All of these have a positive side. There are 100 arguments why a matrix is a terrific thing to do, but if you are saboteur working inside a matrix you can do a lot of damage. If you just refuse to make decisions, or refuse to let other people make decisions, you can be really effective in that kind of climate. I've noticed that. By the way, the people that usually put matrixed organizations into place do not themselves work within a matrix. [laughter]. I just thought I would put that out. I've seen very few, because I mainly work with the top levels of organizations. That typically is a chairman, CEO and their directs. They typically are not themselves matrixed. They matrix below themselves. But they have a boss. The CEO has the chairman as the boss; they have the whole board. But typically, matrices start when clicked down or two clicks down in organizations. And then the last one, sabotaged by over committing top talent. Assign the same small group of individuals to work on too many groups or committees. I know every single time we are launching a set of initiatives and we talk about who should be on it, I've been with some of my clients for 10 or 20 years and it's the same names over and over. These are organizations with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of employees. Why is it only 12 people are qualified for these committees? They are the same 12 people you put on every group. I don't know if that happens around here, but that happens in most organizations. These were not the kinds of things, this was not possible in 1944. There was no e-mail. CC comes from carbon copy. Anybody here remember carbon paper? Okay, maybe four copies, maybe. In school, how did they make a copy? They used a mimeograph machine, so if you were going to copy something it was hard to do. You could keep like a couple of people informed. Today it's you know. Matrixed organizations actually were a postwar phenomenon. They were introduced in general around sometime in the '50s or early '60s. We obviously had pyramid shaped organizations until then, so it's a relatively new creation. This idea of over commitment of top talent, this may have happened for a long time. We don't know. But I think if the OSS could have, they would have done this one. So what do you do about it? I can't just sit here and describe a problem, so what do you do? In our book we talk about four stages. The first is referred to as identify. You have to acknowledge that they are present. I don't want to ask anybody here but you can look at your score sheet. All you have to do is sit a group of people down and talk about these things and ask them do you see it. But you have to acknowledge that they are present. By the way, you have to take any guilt, negative feeling, blame aside. They're pervasive everywhere. They're just ongoing things. The next thing is calibrate. What's our range of acceptable behavior? By identifying you're actually allowing yourself to have the conversation. In other words you're making it okay to talk about these behaviors in the open. I'm not saying you talk a lot. I'm saying we have a problem in our meetings where too many people are taking up, 10percent of the people are taking up 90percent of the airtime, so what can we organizationally do about that? It's less threatening than Joe, you talk too much. It becomes a systemic problem that we are addressing. The second thing is calibrate. What's acceptable? What's okay? If we have a problem where a few people tend to dominate the meetings that they are in, we are not telling them they can't talk at all. What's acceptable? What's a reasonable way to think about it? If you are giving the person coaching you can say it would be appropriate for you to speak, but if you leave the meeting and you have taken up more than 25percent of the oxygen in the room when there are 20 people there, you probably want to think about that. You want to get some coaching around there. What is kind of the acceptable limit? Similarly, with giving away my upgrades, you don't want to tell somebody to give we can upgrade and everybody shows up. Say you know something? You should be giving away 10, 15, 20 upgrade to week. You haven't given an upgrade in five years. You should start giving them. Well, how many? I don't want to give away the store. Giveaway five or 10 a week. See how it feels. So set limits for people beyond zero. What's acceptable? Remediate. Not only call people out but let other people call them out. Make it okay to talk about these things. If somebody is continually sidetracking a meeting, if somebody is constantly going back and questioning things, say you know something? It's good to bring open issues, but every time we make a decision you're back at the next meeting questioning the decision. We are having trouble getting stuff done. Make it okay to have the conversation and make it okay in your culture to call them out. What a lot of people we work with do is they basically through this vehicle or others, they start the education process. Everybody laughs. Everybody says we have this all over the place. Let's make it okay to talk about it. I think we cc too many people. Make it okay to send a message back saying take me off the list. That's okay. Or send me a weekly or monthly digest, even better. I want to be a once a month person not and every e-mail person. Can you do that for me? Again, it's not that I don't want your e-mails. It's not that I don't like you. But I get 600 a day and I can't process them. Give me something because I want to stay in the loop but not as in the loop as you have me. Make it okay. Again replace it with a better practice. How about a weekly or monthly digest of the activities of the team instead of copying everybody every time you are deciding whether there are going to be bagels or donuts at tomorrow's meeting. I don't mean to do that. And inoculate. Put your performance management systems and your metrics in place so that you are starting to evaluate and judge the positive behaviors that you want to have. If you want to give people the right to be a little bit flexible around the rules, then you should reward that to a variety of places, make process changes not to let it get out of control but give people a comfort zone and say one of the things that we are going to be asking about is does this person show flexibility in a combination and meet people's needs. Do they make success happen despite the system? You can all think of examples where people have done. They put a measure in place with a limit on it to start to reward the behavior that if left unchecked might be a bad behavior, but they wanted people to move more in that direction. Even to say to somebody you haven't participated in a lot of meetings or maybe somebody over participates, we've talked about it and you are taking up too much airtime. It's an issue. It's destructive behavior. As your boss I'm going to be watching and I will be giving you feedback on it and it will be part of your performance appraisal. Are you actually able to monitor that or do you insist on hijacking the meetings were taking up all the airtime? And so what we found is if you think about it, one of my authors, Rob Galford, wrote this book, The Trusted Leader and this is his concept. You have to show you understand it. You have to set guiding principles of how this company wants to operate, keep to them. The most important thing is to have really honest conversations. Allow yourself and your group and your team -- yes, we would like to sell lots of copies of the book, but even downloading the original OSS manual and just taking that one-page and turning it around for a laugh and then say do you see us in this list? Is there anything that we are doing in this list that we ought to be talking about as a team? Even that gives you permission to be able to open up the dialogue. I can go in depth on any one of the tactics or we can just take questions, whatever you would like to do. We have about 20 minutes left. Please? >>: First of all, I'm personally just, my background is I'm extremely happy and excited that somebody has actually broached this subject. >> Bob Frisch: How many x's did you get? >>: I didn't go through the whole list, but a whole lot. >> Bob Frisch: More than 10? >>: Potentially, yes. >> Bob Frisch: Okay. >>: And these are things that I think everybody sees and the fact that they are enumerated and laid out is very helpful. I think that's a great step for industry as a whole. One thing I'm trying to work with personally is, and I think you mentioned this as well, there may be cases where we're looking at polar opposites. If you are looking at a continuity spectrum where there are really bad behaviors and a sort of middle ground and then really positive behaviors, some of these things can fit on opposite ends. For example, obedience or sabotaged by committee might be the opposite of reopening decisions or something of that sort. I think what I'm hearing you say is each organization needs to go through its own learning process or each team needs to find their middle ground, which I think makes sense as well. >> Bob Frisch: I'm a big fan of whatever the philosopher who said all things in moderation. I don't know who that was. But on any of these you can say look. We can have a committee on everything. We can have a committee on committees. Believe it or not, I was with an executive team the other day, the top executives of a very large publicly held company. We were doing a two-day off-site. They said Bob, we need about 15 minutes before we start. There's a critical issue we have to discuss. I said fine. I'm getting my coffee and walking to them. They are discussing whether or not the company picnic that was scheduled for the next afternoon should be postponed given the weather report. I said folks, you have 12 executives. I won't even tell you the average incomes of these people. Couldn't like the head of HR -really. Do we need all of them in on this discussion for 15 minutes? It's ridiculous, right? But maybe the head of HR was thinking I don't feel empowered to make the call on my own. So I always find taking any of these and putting up a bell curve and saying where are we today? Do we have too many people making autocratic decisions without asking anybody? Or do we have too many committees that are bound down and can't make a decision about anything because nobody feels they have the right to? Where are we and where do we want to be? We are deliberately painting them as polar opposites, but the behaviors are polar opposites. Again, we are only measuring one side typically of that curve and the other side is where the danger is. We're not worried about too much autocratic behavior. Saboteurs don't do that. Saboteurs hide in committees, so that's the part we are worried about in this book. There may be other books about too many people being autocratic. That's another topic for next month. Do you want to do a follow-up? How do you want to do it guys? >>: Aspirationally, I think this is a great step forward in terms of identifying where the middle ground is, but it would be ideal, and maybe this is too much handholding, but it would be ideal if the next generation of guidance available could include this is what the continuum looks like. And typically these are the attributes that you would have to know that you have struck the right balance between, you know, certain level of process adherence slash obedience versus being. >> Bob Frisch: We do some of that in the book because we have a chapter on that. But I will tell you it really is so variable by culture and by industry. So what is an okay behavior in this industry may be totally unacceptable in a pharmaceutical company where it takes many, many years to get a new molecule out there on the market. Whereas, for you folks you can get product revisions on the market real fast. We wanted to have something that was generally applicable and the more we looked into it we tried to give general guidelines but to say here is the right balance point, all we can say is you've got to find the right balance point. >>: I've been at Microsoft a long time. First I would like to say it's a great presentation. >> Bob Frisch: How long, a long, long time? >>: Since the '90s, late '90s. >> Bob Frisch: My name is Bob. Anybody here when Bob was here? [laughter]. Thank you. Thank you for naming software after me. >>: The reason I mention that is there are two behaviors in particular that have been long associated with Microsoft, or at least within Microsoft. One is silos, where there is a tendency of people when they do get brought into the committees of not having the interest of the community in mind because they represent their own thing and sometimes they're competing for everything. And second, all yes, one no, so in committees it takes the entire committee to say yes, but any one person can say no. So unless you've got an entire agreement, which is almost impossible to ever get, like notices [indiscernible]. Do those fall into this or how would that work? >> Bob Frisch: First of all, that's not the topic here because there is a lot of writing on both topics. What I forgot to say was I was going to give away copies of the book to the first two questioners, but they're selling books back there and I don't want to compete with the book selling table. So this is the winner. It is a copy of Harvard Business Review on Point, and you were the first two questioners. Is that right? Who ask the first question? >>: I'll take that. [laughter]. >> Bob Frisch: In here is a superb article on page 124. >> Amy Draves: Which month is it? >> Bob Frisch: It's called when teams can't decide. I wrote it and it's on that topic of how do you actually get committees to -- it's actually, it's not the regular HPR. They do these occasional collections. They're on the newsstands, the on point collections. I've written on the topic of team decision-making. That's not this book. And silos as well, my first book was a lot about silos, but this specifically is about individual behaviors, not team behaviors. This is how people themselves act. Please? We have an online question? >> Amy Draves: We do. It's a perfect segue for it. How can IC, individual contributor influence change in behavior when a group leader may be blessing or a boring these behaviors? >> Bob Frisch: So the question was, how can you as an individual affect the behavior when the group leader may be the guilty party, so to speak? >> Amy Draves: No. They're ignoring someone else's behavior? >> Bob Frisch: Ignoring someone else's behavior. Again, it sounds trivial. It's almost like a party game. We actually find people who take this page from -- and again it's downloadable from our website, the original PDF, and literally say I had this interesting talk. Here's this fascinating book. Or in some cases we have people distributing copies of the book which we prefer, even more. Don't we? Certainly our publisher does. But we find getting the right to have the conversation is one of the most important things. This is tough stuff to bring up. You don't want to say gee. I noticed in our team we've got this bad behavior going on, because that's threatening, challenging and critical, whatever. So what we've tried to do is almost create like a neutral starting point. Gee, I read this interesting book. Gee, I saw this interesting thing, and then everybody kind of laughs about it. And you say yeah, but I think some of that may be happening here. Like I've noticed the last five meetings we started the meeting by bringing back the decision we made at the last meeting, so we may be laughing about it, but are we as a group, or individuals in the group doing things that are not constructive? And I think, again, our assumption is people aren't deliberately trying to put a monkey wrench in the works. I actually do not believe that any of the thousands and thousands of engineers inside Volkswagen intended to bring down the Volkswagen Corporation with the recent issues with the software. I don't think they will bring down the company, but they are certainly creating major issues. There are no saboteurs. Nobody got hired by Toyota to go in and bring them down. It's just things within their company our bad behaviors. These are bad behaviors. But they're excesses of good behaviors and they are hard to detect, hard to smoke out and hard to talk about. But we find that the beginning is just the acknowledgment and making it okay to have the conversation. That really is the starting point. Please? >>: I was wondering if by studying this topic a bit if you have come to any observations or thoughts on why certain organizations or certain individuals self sabotage beyond just the naïve or being dumb. Is sabotage rewarded in certain circumstances and therefore subtly encouraged? >> Bob Frisch: I think that's a very good question. I would actually say it's more like when people, is the opposite behavior penalized? If somebody makes a decision and doesn't bring it to committee and that person has some public fallout from that decision, the answer is okay. All of the people who, everything goes to committee will make a decision without a committee, it reinforces the bad behavior. That's what happens if you go over there. If you don't haggle over the precise wording and something happens and legal is like I can't believe this went out because you used this word instead of that word and you shouldn't have done that. The first time you get your hand slapped you tend to go behind the lines really fast and really hard. The people who wanted to do that are like I told you. So again, erring on the side of caution is an easy thing to do particularly in a largely bureaucratic company. And what has to happen is leaders have to point out that there's a cost to that. It's like trying to drive with the brakes on. And I think the saboteurs who are on the brakes intentionally or unintentionally, but there is never a problem with going slow. There is never a problem with reconsidering. There is never a problem having one more people on the committee. It's always a justification, but it just grinds down the efforts. Cleaning it out does take some leadership we find because somebody has to point out the net effect of all this caution. The net effect of staying on one side of the bell curve is you are just not going anywhere and not making any progress. So what will happen is some other nimble competitor will eat your lunch. I know a number of companies now that say we'll tolerate mistakes. Tolerating mistakes is hard. Let's talk to the head of regulatory compliance. Let's talk to the head of legal. Let's talk to the CFO. Let's talk to the head of marketing about tolerating mistakes and they can cite 15 mistakes that were made that they wish hadn't been made. But yet if you are going to have a fast-moving nimble culture you have to build this tolerance into it. There is risk moving off any of these. I think you just have to acknowledge it and the counterbalance of not taking the risk is you have an organization that is just slow and it feels that way. And you'll lose the people who get frustrated in that kind of a company. It tends to be, unfortunately, a self reinforcing thing. There was one more, but you're not going like this yet. We are kind of at the beginning of this. Somebody in the back of the room, please. >>: A lot of these behaviors are when the downside to a wrong decision is much higher than the upside to a right decision and so can you give me examples of organizations that have successfully, where organizations have made that shift from where they are tolerating mistakes to actively increasing experimentation? >> Bob Frisch: I think there are a lot of them. We've seen, I see a lot of things when they are coming out. I would say in the last year or two there are a lot of people attacking committee structures. There are a lot of people trying to streamline decision-making. Bain and Company has their Rapids model than people have various ways of mapping accountability and decisionmaking inside companies, but I think people have been attacking matrix organizations and the accountability and decision-making processes pretty hard in the last two or three years. People feel like, particularly if you are competing against disruptive players, bureaucracy is especially matrices are getting in the way. They are keeping response time down. I'm seeing a lot of people starting to move very heavily in that direction. >>: Any specific examples that you can share with this group? >> Bob Frisch: That would be relatively hard. >>: What was the question? >> Bob Frisch: The question was examples that it sort of worked on, companies that have worked on kind of their nimbleness lately and tried to speed up decision-making and be able to move faster. That was the question that came out. I'm hard-pressed to think of one. I will give you a very good example. I was actually with a speaker the other day from General Electric Corporation and their moving their from Fairfield to Boston is a very deliberate shift on their part. They're very much an information-based company now and they see themselves as much more into software than industrial. And I think Jeff Immelt has been fostering a major culture change inside GE and their moving their head quarters is sort of the capstone to that. So I would say GE is a very good example of a company that has been trying very hard to get their speed of decision-making and reaction time way up real fast. And I think they are doing a great job at it actually. >>: To help you out, Bob, there's a slide deck out there called the Microsoft Story that has a brilliant section on culture and we are in the midst so cultural change really addressing half of the items on that list. If you want a real home get to your own face deal, go read that because it's the leadership team over and over and over trying to transform the company away from a lot of those things to the point of failing fast, failing early. >> Bob Frisch: Anybody in the room that would like to arrange for me to have a meeting with those folks, I'd be -- I'll give you five copies of the book. [laughter]. I'll endorse one to your dog if you do that for me. I would be more than happy. Dear Spot, I hope you enjoy the book. One more question? We good? This will be available. We have a site, simplesabotage.com. We have a little survey that I would like you to take. It's anonymous. We don't identify the companies. We also have a download of the original. Books are for sale here. I'll be signing them later. I'll be around for some discussion for a few minutes. I'm not in a great hurry to leave. So thank you and thanks to our home audience. [applause].