Business leaders could unintentionally be using Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tactics to disrupt meetings and make them less productive.
- In the 1940s, the CIA developed a Simple Sabotage Field Manual to instruct foreign saboteurs on ways to disrupt enemy intelligence and help the Allies in their efforts.
- Among these methods is the “General Interference With Organizations And Production,” instructions for how Allied sympathizers could disrupt meetings, Forbes reports.
- These tactics were successful in making enemy meetings less successful in 1944, but these methods may be—unintentionally—in practice in modern-day businesses, and not because of CIA interference.
Why it’s news
These tactics make meetings difficult and unproductive. Employees and managers alike may be sabotaging their own success without even realizing it. Here are the tactics the CIA employed:
- “Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.”
- “Insist on doing everything through ‘channels.’ Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.”
- “Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.”
- “Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.”
Though there are no CIA plants operating in the average business today, these issues arise in many business meetings. Sometimes, team members may bring up topics repeatedly because of internal disagreements and pettiness.
In a Leadership IQ study, 19% of executives surveyed agreed that their leadership team was fully committed and did not present any issues with backstabbing or passive-aggressive behavior, Forbes reports.
Even fewer, just 14%, felt that decisions made by the leadership team would be consistently translated into action.
Management teams can often fall into the trap of revisiting issues over and over again, never fully agreeing on a solution. This can impede the progress of an organization and negatively affect employee outlooks.
Unproductive meetings can be a significant contributor to declining employee morale. Another Leadership IQ survey found that of those who dislike their jobs, 65% say they are frequently in unproductive meetings. Only 24% of those who enjoy their work say they have the same problem.
Sabatoged meetings can also be an issue for leaders looking to advance their careers. Team discussions that do not result in solutions can hamper a leader’s ability to showcase their ability or take action on issues. It can also give the impression that they are an ineffective leader.
Understanding the sabotage techniques is one of the keys to overcoming them. By recognizing the issues that are slowing down a meeting, leaders can steer away from accidental sabotage.