OSS Guide to Simple Sabotage

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the predecessor to the CIA.  In 1994 they published a ‘Simple Sabotage Field Manual’ explaining how ordinary people could sabotage organizations with “no destructive tools whatsoever” simply by adopting a “non-cooperative attitude” or by “creating an unpleasant situation among one’s fellow workers”.  The following sabotage ideas are taken from the section called “General Interference with Organizations and Production” (page 28).

  • Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  • When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and considera­tion.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  • Haggle over precise wordings of com­munications, minutes, resolutions.
  • Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  • Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reason­able” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
  • Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the juris­diction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
  • Work slowly. Think out ways to in­crease the number of movements necessary on your job
  • Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.
  • Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

These examples of “sabotage” should make us think carefully about how destructive ineffective processes, risk-aversion, and selfishness can be to any organization.

View PDF file of OSS Guide to Simple Sabotage

Microblogging and Learning

I love blogs.  They are a great way to keep on top of news and events that are happening in the lives of members of my professional network.  Unfortunately, some of my friends are prolific writers, and keeping up with all of their blog postings can take more time than I have (no offense to anyone).  Microblogging allows me to stay up to speed by receiving shorter professional or personal updates from my network in real-time.  There are 3 tools that I have found to be particularly useful for microblogging:

This is the most popular microblogging tool with many apps for accessing twitter feeds on iPhones and other mobile devices.  Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters.  For a excellent directory of learning leaders who use twitter, check out http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/socialmedia/edutwitter.html

This is a twitter-like tool, but it is optimized for use in educational settings and includes other features like upcoming events and activities.  Go to www.edmodo.com for more info.

This is a corporate version of EdModo.  It links microbloggers from the same company or organization and focuses on posting about job-related topics.  Go to www.yammer.com for more info.

For a quick video on how microblogging works, visit http://www.innovativelearning.com/instructional_technology/microblogging.html

Collaborative Writing Online

If you’re haven’t had a chance to use online writing tools, consider this your invitation to do so.  Google Docs (docs.google.com) is the most popular online writing tool, but Adobe Buzzword is also very good (www.acrobat.com).  These tools function like a normal word processor, but you access it through the web broswer instead of installing on your computer.  This gives you two major advantages:

1.) Your documents are accessible from any computer with an internet connection.  Earlier this month my hard drive crashed and I lost everything I had been working on.  Since I now use Google Docs for all of my writing projects, I simply borrowed my wife’s computer and continued working as if nothing had happened.

2.) You never have to send documents as attachments again.  If you want someone to read or contribute to your documents you can just add them as readers or collaborators.  This means you never run into version problems from multiple people working on the same document (which is especially nice if you are working collaboratively on the same part of a document).

If you’re already familiar with Google Docs, here are a couple of things you might not know:

  • Documents can be accessed and edited even when you don’t have an internet connection (such as on a plane).
  • Every revision of your document is automatically saved – if you deleted something you liked from a couple of weeks ago, you can still retrieve it.

Happy writing!