Greetings, and a Happy New Year! I’m actually wishing you a happy new year from the future, because currently I’m in Spain, which means that I’m 6-9 hours older than you are. And let me tell you, 2013 is going to be amazing! They’ve invented so many new and crazy things I can hardly believe it – flying cars, teleportation, clean energy. You should be seeing it in the next 6-9 hours, and it will seriously blow your mind.
(Six to nine hours later…)
OK, so by now you know that I was lying. They haven’t invented flying cars yet, although I did just see a commercial for an electric skateboard. Anyway, I’m guessing that most blogs this week are either going to be a retrospective on 2012 or a series of predictions about 2013. So I’m not going to do that. Instead, I want to encourage you to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors. After all, traditions are important, and it’s never been more essential to apply the lessons of the past to the problems of our immediate future. So, in homage to those who have come before us, I want to offer you a few excellent tactics for increasing productivity at the expense of your employee’s morale, health, and overall sanity.
Constantly Remind Your Employees that They Should Consider Themselves Lucky to Have a Job! A tip of the hat to 2007, when round after round of layoffs signaled the severity of the most recent recession. In most cases, those layoffs were designed as part of a company-wide cost-cutting program aimed at keeping the company in question healthy, limber, and competitive. But that’s no reason for you to not use the threat of a layoff as a negative motivator for your employees. Remember, people work harder when you constantly threaten them with termination. I can’t remember exactly which famous person first uttered that quote, but I’m pretty sure he was super famous.
Systematically Remove Creature Comforts! For this one I’m taking the basic philosophy of the industrial barons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people for whom the notions of ‘non-toxic working conditions’ and ‘reasonable working hours’ were akin to blasphemy. Indeed (not making this up), many of them refused to put windows in their factories specifically because it might induce their employees to remember the existence of sunlight and fresh water. So remember that the next time you have the opportunity to redesign your work space. The more time your employees look out the window, the less work they’re getting done. And honestly, what kind of person doesn’t want mercury in their drinking water? It’s pretty much like fluoride, I think.
Initiate Various Forms of Profiling! Hard to pin this one down to a particular time period since it’s happened several times in human history, but I want you to model yourself after the Red Scare tactics of the mid-1950s. At your next meeting, let your employees know that you’re aware of their subversive (and ideally unsubstantiated) activities, and that accusation is now synonymous with guilt. That ought to please the gossipers! And they’re probably your best workers anyway.
I hope that helps. It’s a brand new year, and I want you to make the least of it. So let’s start moving forward by looking backwards! If that doesn’t seem like the most logical approach to things, then don’t worry about it. With any luck, you’re in extremely good company.
Image from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewbsaunders/2155433812/