Worst. Employee Handbook. Ever.


FTD.de – Business English – Business English – I've found the worst employee handbook ever

The title of this post comes with apologies to Comic Book Guy. This post isn't about Lean or even about manufacturing, but as much as we talk about leadership here, I can't resist linking to this funny Financial Times column about a very unintentionally funny “motivational handbook” from the accountants at Deloitte. This is making the email rounds and we can all hope our leadership would rely on books like this, regardless of us being in manufacturing, healthcare, consulting, or any other industry.

Deloitte's new CEO, Jim Quigley, sent out a book to all employees called “Your Little Blue Book of Strategy.” The Financial Times columnist starts by comparing it to Chairman Mao‘s Little Red Book and it gets better (or sadder) from here). I've said before, as have others, that many large businesses are really Soviet in nature and maybe this is another example, the corporate brainwashing that's involved.

You have to read the whole thing, the whole column, straight through. Me quoting it won't do it justice. Hurry, since the FT article was restricted to subscribers, but I found that the English language version of the German FT was still available (I hope that's a loophole that's not closed soon).

I guess the moral of the story is to not trying leading through platitudes, empty phrases, and photocopied handbooks? What might Deming say? Substitute Leadership?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. I have read, in a number of places, that businesses are Feudal in nature, and for very historical reasons. The CEO is king, with the various greater and lesser lords–or managers, rather–jockying for political advantage and structural advancement.


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