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Ain’t Life A Kitsch?

BD00 is proud to present the following post from his third guest blogger: twitter friend Serial Mom. When she submitted her story for “approval“, S&M gave the BD00 editorial staff free license to “bulldozify” her ditty as necessary. W00t!

Vroom Vroom

So, let’s start off with some important definitions:

Kitsch – something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste (Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary)

Korpo Kitsch – the employee-facing happy side of corporate greed and bozoness; usually something of tawdry design, appearance, or content – Serial Mom

Now that that’s done, let’s hear Serial Mom’s story; which is still unfolding as we speak. As you’ll soon realize, S&M’s story is simply one real example of korpo kitschenism playing out in many office buildings near you. Here we go…..

At T=1, the C-suites of two online services companies decide the way to go forward is to embrace the wildly successful “too big to fail” strategy and merge into one big korpo hairball. (WTF? AS IF anyone would care about bailing out an online services borg).


At T=2, the more bureaucratic of the two borgs wins the political battles (we just luv our mid-20th century HR!) and the reorg is kicked off. Whoo Hoo!

At T=3, some politically motivated technical decisions are made (using the process of decision-based evidence-making) within the newly merged star chamber .

At T=4, on the IT side of things, an OK working agile shop meets the South Asian waterfall shop.

At T=5, to appease the shareholders, millions of $$ are promised by way of synergy via 2 years of mind-numbing IT migration projects.

At T=6, the potentates in the head shed start wondering why the company is losing customers and innovation momentum – even though it’s obvious they “allocated” 90% of the workforce to work on those mind-numbing, “overhead“, IT migration projects.

At T=7, the C-suite junta wonders why there are loads of (schedule, cost, quality) problems downstream from their (infallible) technical decisions.

At T=8, the proclamation is made: SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE!

At T=9,  a superstar “fixer” gains membership to the exclusive C-suite in return for undertaking the dirty work of cleaning up the mess his peers have hatched.

At T=10, the standard MBA text book move is executed: people get laid off. Of course, the unintended consequences of the move manifest themselves soon after: good people leave and whatever is left of any positive corporate culture disappears. Poof!

At T=11, the “agile transformation” mandate is foisted down upon the people (and this includes squeezing the currently agile parts of the company into the new, cargo-cult, agile model).

At T=12, middle managers, who know the transformation won’t work but fear for their (so-called) careers, don’t push back and they each dutifully assume their messenger role.

At T=13, the prelude to the korpo kitsch moment arrives. Everybody in IT is “required” by management (at the behest of the brilliant HR team, of course) to take a standardized test that will “scientifically” determine the training needs for the upcoming agile transformation. The test will consist of a personality section (Myers-Briggs style) and some standard IQ verbal, numerical, and logical crap. (Since they’re by definition they’re infallible, BD00 & S&M bet that the managers don’t have to walk the talk and eat their own dog food).

Croc O Crap

At T=14, the actual corpo kitsch moment arrives. Whoo Hoo! It is announced that the test results will (supposedly) only be shared between HR, the line manager, and the test taker. They are supposed to provide meaningful, self-awareness.

Actually, T=14 hasn’t arrived yet. Hopefully, S&M will provide a follow up guest post, starting at T=15, where she begins describing her and her colleagues’ newly found meaning and quantum increase in self-awareness. We’ll also hopefully get an update on how the “agile transformation” is coming along.

Korpo Kitsch

Note1: BD00.com welcomes guest bloggers. The editorial office is open 24 X7. Like the Korpo Kitsch dude above, we’re here to help you.

Note2: This just in. Serial Mom has promised a sequel guest post at a date to be determined later.

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  1. January 9, 2014 at 1:00 am

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