Posts Tagged ‘bozo’

Just Like Tim

March 5, 2013 3 comments

I’m intellectually lazy. I’m a fan of empiricism; it’s just a drag to have to practice. If you’re anything like me, you don’t make up your mind about important issues by doing original research, poring over primary sources and coming to your own conclusions; you listen to people who claim to know what they’re talking about—“experts”—and try to determine which of them is more credible. You do your best to gauge who’s authentically well-informed and unbiased, who has an agenda and what it is—who’s a corporate flack, a partisan hack, or a wacko. – Tim Kreider (We Learn Nothing).

Who amongst us is not like Tim? Thanks to the web, even though accessibility to primary sources and original research is at unprecedentedly high levels, there’s just not enough time to perform “due diligence” in order to form (so-called) objective opinions on issues that tug at our souls. Whether we admit it or not, we all use a form of the BD00 bozometer, which is reproduced below for your viewing displeasure.


If you’re a regular reader of this blawg, then you’ve probably pegged BD00 as “Is A Bozo” – and you’re right!

Manager Types II

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

This post is an updated refinement of BD00’s class hierarchy for the manager types previously presented in the UCBH post. For your viewing displeasure, I’ve reproduced the “rev 0” version of the inheritance tree here:

The “rev 1” version, with all class operations elided because they’re not important for understanding the message I want to get across, is shown below. The absence of the “Tweener” in rev 0, which inherits the attributes and operations from both the “Bozo” and “Helper” classes, was a major mistake.

Rev 1” is a much more accurate mental model of the manager kingdom because, as the probability density function below shows, the vast majority of manager “objects” are of the relatively boring, harmless, and ho-hum “Tweener” type.

If you look closely at the threshold locations in the scraggly drawn probability distribution, BD00 has postulated that even though the population is comprised mostly of “Tweeners“, there are more BMs than PHORs. Do you agree?

Luckily and happily, BD00 has never worked for, or with, a conscious BM. But he’s directly heard, and indirectly read, several stories from those poor souls who have (are you one of them?). Thus, BD00 is convinced that they do exist in nature.

All models are wrong. Some, however, are useful – George Box

Union Deterioration

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

It took me forever to concoct this dorky picture, so I’m not gonna try to  ‘splain it with any accompanying words. Hopefully, you’ll understand my message. If you need clarification on my interpretation, please ask.

Dissed By Someone “Important”

August 18, 2010 3 comments

The impeccably credentialed and self-revered Ian Mitroff dissed me out of the blue via a private message on LinkedIn:

“You are an absolute relativist which is not very interesting or relevant.”

Based on the following quote, Mr. Mitroff might label Shakespeare as an uninteresting, absolute relativist too:

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. – William Shakespeare

Damn it Willie, nothing is relative! It’s not good or bad, it’s one or the other. Since my judgment is infallible, it’s whichever I say it is.

Feeling compelled to reply to the self-anointed “father of crisis management“, my bruised and battered ego retorted with:

“I’m sorry, oh exalted professor. Thanks for your irrelevant opinion.”

Me thinks that Ian may be one of those professors that Ken Robinson says: “solely uses his body to transport his head around“. I hate to prematurely judge people, but it sure feels good to be bad.

“A conscience is what feels bad when everything else feels so good.” – Steven Wright

Ego To Talent Ratio

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

In Scott Berkun‘s “Managing Breakthrough Projects” video, Scott concocts a metric called the Ego-To-Talent ratio (ETTR). Here’s my highly unscientific and speculative curve that plots ETTR versus position on the company org chart.

See that bozo on the chart? That’s me. Where are you?

Unconscious, Conscious, Bozo, Helper

July 26, 2010 2 comments

The following sparsely “bentUML class diagram (see the end of this post for a quick and dorky tutorial for interpreting the diagram) exposes Bulldozer00’s internal hierarchy of manager types. Yours may be different, especially if you’re a manager.

The Base Class

The hierarchy’s Manager base class supplies all the mundane operations that sub-classed managers inherit and perform. For example, all managers in this particular inheritance tree make project plans, track project progress, and monitor progress against the plans. The frequency at which these behaviors are performed, along with the exact details of how they’re executed, is both manager-specific and project-specific. For example, during performance of the “takeStatus” operation, one manager may require project members to write out detailed weekly status reports whilst another may just require informal verbal status.

The Sub-Classes

The second level in Bulldozer00’s morbid and disturbing manager class hierarchy is more interesting. There are two polar opposite sub-types; Bozo and Helper. In addition to inheriting the boring, mechanical, and necessary responsibilities of the Manager base class, these subclasses provide radically different sets of behaviors. For instance, the Bozo subclass provides an “ignoreDICs” behavior whilst the Helper subclass provides “listenToPeople” and “solicitIdeas” behaviors. Comparing the behavior sets between the two subclasses and then against your own manager(s), how would you classify your manager(s)?

As the diagram shows, there are two Bozo Manager subtypes: Conscious and Unconscious. There’s no equivalent subdivision for the Helper Manager type because all Helper Manager “instantiations” are fully conscious. Hell, since all the behaviors that Helper Managers exhibit are so extraordinarily rare, productive, and against-the-grain, there is no way they can be unconscious and not know what they’re doing.

In Bulldozer00’s experience, most Bozo Managers are of the Unconscious ilk. They continuously execute the counterproductive behaviors forwarded on to them via their Bozo inheritance, but they don’t realize how detrimental their actions and words are to the orgs they’re responsible for growing and developing. Since virtually all their fellow clique members behave the same way, they’re oblivious to alternatives and they can’t connect poor org performance to their own dysfunctional behaviors.

Forgive them, for they know not what they do. – Jesus

Lastly, we come to the Conscious Bozo Manager class. Beware of these dudes, of which there are few (thank god), because they are hell on wheels. These guys/gals know fully well that their behaviors/actions are both locally and globally destructive. But why, you ask, would they behave this way? Well, because they’re out to inflate their heads and wallets and there are no boundaries they wouldn’t cross to achieve their goals.


If you choose to embrace, internalize, and use Bulldozer00’s class hierarchy to evaluate and “privately” judge your managers, you might want to take these suggestions into consideration:

  • Run like hell from the Conscious Bozo types.
  • Do your best to bring consciousness to the legions of well meaning, but sleepwalking, Unconscious Bozo types
  • Attach yourself like a lamprey to the Helper type

But why the hell would you want to “buy into” Bulldozer00’s manager taxonomy? Great freakin’ question!

Appendix: Mini Class Diagram Graphic Tutorial

Flippin’ The Bozo Bit

March 7, 2010 10 comments

I first encountered the concept of the “Bozo bit” (BB) while reading a software engineering book penned by Jim McCarthy many years ago. The BB is a tri-state, enumerated attribute that can be used by immature people like BD00, but not you, to judge people. The BB’s 3 mutually exclusive states are defined as:

  • Is-Not-A-Bozo (INAB)
  • May-Be-A-Bozo (MBAB)
  • Is-A-Bozo (IAB)

When working with new colleagues and managers in the workplace, I always initialize the BB to the MBAB state. Over time, after observing a candidate’s behavior and interacting with him/her, I consciously decide to flip the BB to either the IAB or INAB state. In my experience, way more managers fit the criterion for the BB=IAB state than peers.

As the state machine below shows, I’m flexible in that my initial judgment may change. However, once the BB transitions into the IAB state, I rarely decide to subsequently flip it into the INAB state; but I’m delighted when it does miraculously happen.

How about you? Do you use the BB to judge people? Of course not. Being an infallible person of high integrity and impeccable moral character (like the “former” Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, Mark Hurd, Ken Lay, the executive team at HSBC Bank, General Patreus, yada-yada-yada), you don’t employ such childish tactics. Right?

Fishead’s Bozometer

The Bozo Manager’s Operating Manual

March 24, 2009 Leave a comment

1) Walk around all day looking worried. Make sure lots of underlings see you looking very concerned so that they know how important you are to the survival of all mankind.

2) Ignore the concerns of your people. Ensure that your whole day is filled with “important” meetings so that the concerns of your people don’t have a chance of reaching your ears.

3) Ignore the work of your people. Don’t show interest in it, don’t review it, don’t ask others for their evaluation of it. Treat all work output equally so that the mediocracy is maintained.

4) Ensure that no meeting minutes or action items are written down when you meet with your fellow Bozo peer managers. Ensure that the problems/issues that you debated (but didn’t do anything about) at the previous meeting are forgotten for the next N meetings. At the Nth + 1 meeting, recycle the old issues  so that you’ll always have something interesting to talk about.

5) When asked for tools, training, or help, say “I’m sorry but I don’t have the budget for it this year.” However, make sure that you go to training. Expensive Covey, Carnegie, Senge, etc, courses will do nicely.

6) Ensure that you go to all the industry trade shows and that none of your employees do. That way they won’t have a clue as to what your competitors are doing and you will minimize the chances that they will come up with good ideas on how to improve your products.

7) Always have an answer for everything. Never say “I don’t know, but I’ll look into it and get back to you”.

8 ) Present an air of infallible omnipotence, saying that you “already know about that problem” whenever an employee brings up a front-line problem that you couldn’t possibly know exists.

9) Hold periodic employee surveys to show that you care, fabricate some vague and superficial and unmeasurable  “initiatives” to address employee concerns, and then don’t change a thing.

10) Never say “How can I help you do your job better?”.

11) Never ask questions, only make statements.

12) Demand a full, 40 page Harvard-style business case analysis when an employee proposes a simple idea that may improve the mediocracy’s performance.

13) Don’t invest in expensive technology refreshes for your highest revenue generating products. Let maintenance costs skyrocket from the continuous accrual of technical debt and then blame your employees for taking too long to add new features to your products.

14) When you need new skill-sets, hire them in from the outside rather than investing in your existing employees.

15) Ensure that the salaries you pay to your employees stay within a narrow range of +/- 20% even though productivity  ratios between some employees can be as high as 10 to 1.

16) Ensure that you praise and revere your R&D group even though they never come up with new products or new functionality that can be seamlessly integrated into your existing product set.

17) Ensure that you keep adding procedures and rules to the corpo playbook while never deleting any old and useless ones. Ensure that the rulebook is fragmented, incoherent, and inaccessible.

18) Enact a policy of peer reviews for your employees but don’t read them when you allocate raises. Give raises based on how much you like the employee.

19) Handsomely reward those who respond to crises but ignore those who prevent crises.

20) Treat all estimates as firm personal commitments and don’t allow any re-estimation as a project progress and new knowledge is acquired.

21) Whenever there is a problem between a manager you appointed and an employee, always side with the manager.

22) If you do make a decision, never change it, regardless of new information that proves it was the wrong one.

23) Extol the virtues and superiority of your products over your competitor’s without having a clue of the design and architecture behind your competitor’s products.

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