Ode to a Tyrant: Superfluum Opus

Woe to thee who has cast thy lot with this tyrant.  The breaker of workweeks and crusher of work/life balance, this tyrant stands lofty upon the prow. Superfluum Opus helms every project as though it were a galley, and the oars should never be silent.

Superfluum Opus will often look good when the job is done.  This tyrant has a very long shelf life and often has upwards career trajectory.  How is this the case?  The tyrant’s problem is not that they cannot assign meaningful work, it is that they cannot distinguish meaningful from meaningless work.  They will simultaneously assign someone to think about the core of their project and also adjust a single slide in a presentation that will never see the light of day.  They will command research into things that are non-sequitur to the scope of their work and they will ask everyone to duplicate tasks.

Task duplication is the key stratagem of Superfluum Opus, as it can quickly hide this meaningless duplication of labor under the thin veil of “collaboration.”  Those who may complain about repeat work will simply not be team players because they do not wish to collaborate on a project with their coworkers.  This is the end of Superfluum Opus, where labor masquerades as progress.

Ode to a Tyrant: Tactico-Strategicus

Ode to a Tyrant: Tactico-Strategicus

Kicking off our periodic series of odes to tyrants in business, Tactico-Strategicus boldly steps forth.

With reckless abandon, this tyrant charges the line of other’s thought swiping down his adversaries. He will only allow to survive those ideas that have a ‘long-termishness’ or ‘future-statiness’ to them. He does this in service of the higher cause; strategy.

Tactico-Strategicus is partially right. A focus on immediacy and practicality will forfeit  a rich potential of long term strategic opportunities. However, a shallow definition of strategic blinds the tyrant to how these concepts intersect. A well-considered short term move may be necessary for insight into strategy refinement. Likewise, many long and mid-term plans would benefit from a discussion about which are more or less probable.

What’s worst about Tactico-Strategicus is that he believes his purview will always be strategic, even when he has a tactical project at hand. In the heat of battle he strikes down ideas that accomplish his purpose. Tactico-Strategicus sees himself greater than the tactical nature of his project, even when his mission lies solely within that space.

Unfortunately, Tactico-Strategicus only ends up selecting ideas that feel ‘long-termish’ even if they are more constituted with method than mission. Consider the example, “we need to build a full service platform for this project. Then we can learn whether there is interest in the product.” Simply because an idea is steeped in long-termishness guarantees neither strategic value nor idea quality. Without adequate means of distinguishing broad,deep thought from long-termishness, he ends up with absurdities masquerading as successes.

 

A note on the tyrants: any resemblance to a single person is coincidental… looking at you Mr. leader over there. We’re also actually not haters of Harrison. He fits the mold here by having had one of the most expansive and lengthy inauguration speeches of all time, but neglected the immediate demands (of the weather) eventually contracting pneumonia and expiring.