Good Management vs Dark Management

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” - Paul Hawken

"Dark Management is the art of making problems so minuscule and their solutions so destructive that everyone does nothing and believe that they're better off not dealing with it." - Dr. Kervokian


“A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.” - H. S. M. Burns

“A dark manager is a man/woman who isn't worried about his own career but rather curries it from those he work for.” - Dr. Kervokian

People who gripe about Nepocronysm

I've come to the realization that people who gripe about nepocronysm have one or more of the following symptoms:-
  1. They don't have beer buddies
  2. They tend to have lunch alone
  3. Spend most of their time "meeting friends" online
  4. Plays golf on the PC
  5. Prefers to wank off compared to sex
  6. Only meets with "real people" when they want something from you
As a Dark Manager and by reading this blog; you hereby swear that you WILL make time for your friends and families even if they have BO.

Getting Subordinates to do more than expected

Last week I was asked how on how I'd manage a situation where the manager has assigned an R&D duty to a staff that has never done that before.

First off, I inquired as to whether she accepted the task or not; and the answer was yes. Well, that means you have there is a person with good attitude who willingly accepts "challenges". However, I was enlightened to the fact that she does not even know where to start & the manager didn't bother to check on her leaving her to gripe to this friend of mine.

Which brings me to the conclusion that :-
  1. She's an excellent Dark Management candidate for accepting "challenges" beyond her abilities.
  2. The manager is fucked
Primarily "because" she has such "good" attitude, the subordinate will probably not tell the manager that the task can't be done until probably the final 2 hours. And secondly; the manager assumes that by divesting responsibility the problem lies with the staff.

As a dark manager I'd apply Principle 5 from "Your First Day as a Dark manager" where you load up your most capable staff to avoid the situation in the first place. Unfortunately; this manager is now forced to apply the methods in what to do when the shit hits the fan.

How to Minute your Meetings

I've spoken on Decidophobia or the fear of making decisions and diluting the chain of responsibility. So, the correct ways to minute your meetings are:-

  1. Whenever there's a decision, never say Person A requested for clarification or Person B approves. You dilute it by saying; Department A requested for clarification or Committee C approves the recommendation to purchase a 52 inch LCD to display glorious corporate achievements at the reception area.

  2. Always state everyone that's present and not present in the meeting.
    By not being there you can:-
    • Deny that you know about the topic at all
    • Not have to attend any domestic inquiries when people are questioned on why three 52 inch LCDs were purchased but only 1 was ever used. Naturally, the minutes would have state in minute detail that according to Gartner Group best practices include keeping spares.

  3. Never endorse anything wholesale, always come to a landing with clauses. The committee will endorse proposal for the LCD TV provided that the vendor has 3 years worth of clear credit history, a local owned company as a sub-contractor for servicing and maintenance, an ROI report for its usage and impact analysis on electricity bill.

    The inane requests prove that the committee has done its job.
My CEO calls it "all the bullshit that's put in place to cover one's ass", which is kinda poetic since an ass is where turd comes from anyway...


If you're old enough; you'd probably remember the whole TQM hype popularized by Japan's miraculous recovery post 2 nuclear bombs and WW2. Here's the thing that management sold in the 60s through to the 80s, that Edward Deming was the guru behind their recovery with the adoption of Deming's Quality philosophy~ Plan->Do->Check->Act yada2...

Here's my take -> pure hogwash! The Japanese as a culture have always been perfectionists and they conquered China while Deming was still pushing papers in university. They even booted the Russian during the Russo-Japanese war circa 1904-05.

So why all the hullabaloo on Deming? Simple; cause he's a Whiteman in Asia (See Halo Effect) and you know what they say about the victor stating history as they see fit. Anyway, fast forward a couple more years and TQM turned into the many ISO variations, British Standards, ITIL, CMMI the list goes on. The latest being "Business Process Management" and "Enterprise Architecture"

In a nutshell, you define all the organization's key processes within its value chain in bringing products and services to the customer; tracking the transformation from raw material to valuables. While doing so you measure the performance of these processes and "optimize" it as you find bottlenecks and weaknesses.

Problem is, what typically happens in Asia is this:-
  1. A 60 page (Asians write poorly so they try to keep it short) document that does not get updated or "optimized" even if it takes 9 months to replace a notebook for the customer. It's either the vendor's fault or the customer filled the requisition forms incorrectly.

  2. A flow document that has RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) roles defined which does not exist in the organization

  3. Everyone goes into a spree of documentation, the team lead gets promoted; then nobody knows what to do with it next.

  4. Every six months, the head of Governance proclaims that the company has moved from CMMI level 3 to 4 then 5. They have a huge party; but it still takes 9 months to replace the said notebook.

  5. The operations team dream up random numbers to incident reports just to fulfill the process criteria.

  6. Folks get shipped to expensive overseas training on the subject only to be transfered 6 months later cause another department is short of staff.

The result of which are fancy websites with process flows and documentation that is as far from reality as the Sales Manager's quarterly predictions. So why do Asian organizations still persist in achieving such certifications?

Simple, cause dark managers are running riot in the company; and there's nothing like process documentations that get thrown at you like it's the Torah. A bureucrats wet dream is to attain ISO certification; and when you have ISO, ITIL and CMMI together; it may as well be an orgy.

p/s: The US Department of Defense Enteprise Architecture Documentation is well over 1,000 pages.