Here are five easy steps to kill your company (any one will do)

9 September 2022

Five easy steps to kill your company

My new book Understanding Organizations…Finally! will be out in February. I will be excerpting various portions here until then. This is the first one.


1. Treat human beings as human resources. Fire them in great numbers when the company has not met its numbers, even if that’s your fault.

2. Ignore the company’s past—history, culture, strategy and structure. Bring in a whole new “top team”, beholden to you, who, not knowing the place or the industry, will measure like mad (and go around spouting nonsense like “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”)

3. Move all the managers around so that they can never get to know anything but such management well. And as the CEO, kick yourself upstairs, where you can be the great leader of a grand conglomerate instead of the mere manager of a real business. (If you are heading up another kind of organization, call yourself “CEO” to pretend that you are running a business.) 

4. As the problems from all this mount up, go for the quick fix. (Consultants are loaded with them, all ready to help.) Just be sure to escape with your bonuses before the fixes fail.

5. Finally…be sure to do everything in Five Easy Steps.

© Henry Mintzberg 2022.

You may also download this article as a handy ONE-PAGER.

Excerpted from Understanding Organizations…Finally! Structuring in Sevens — forthcoming in February. 

(Preorder Understanding Organizations…Finally! on Berrett-Koehler or on Amazon.)