Refuse to Innovate
Spend an exorbitant amount of time and effort watching what your competitors are doing while you scramble to figure out how best to copy them without adding any additional benefit to the consumer. Don’t deviate from what your business is already doing by building a bottom-up culture of innovation, constantly testing new hypotheses, and taking risks with the aid of market validation. Continue following the status quo by squeezing every penny out of that shrinking line of business; you’re already on the road to letdown.
Hire employees who show up at 9 on the dot (hey, maybe even fifteen minutes late) and make sure that when the clock strikes 5 that their stuff is already packed and one foot is out the door. Don’t set or enforce any quality standards, but be sure to emphasize speed of completion. You’re looking for a group whose output is so average you’ll have heart palpitations if you receive an after-hours email from one of them. Since culture is so important to success, you’ll want employees who not only pat themselves on the back for the simplest accomplishments but have a surly attitude while doing so. Remember, once you lower the bar with a few average hires, everyone’s output will suffer. While you’re at it, slack off yourself and boast to anyone who will listen as you barely manage to meet the low end of expectations. You’ll never have to deal with that pesky feeling of success ever again!
Don’t Create a Plan
Have you ever been told to create or participate in a project plan for your business? So much work! You have to identify a glaring need that your company currently struggles with, brainstorm possible solutions, hypothesise on which will work, agree on key performance indicators, breakdown milestones into manageable tasks, test your theories and pivot if necessary. Plans are also great at assembling a group of people motivated against a common problem armed with the sword of shared values. Sounds dangerous and people suck. Best to keep throwing darts in the dark by yourself until you hit the board some day.
Avoid Your Own Dog Food
Why would you use or recommend to a friend the product which you currently spend 35.7% of your awakened life on? That sort of weird self-sponsored corporatism is saved for only really successful companies like Airbnb and Twitter… you know… the ones whose employees actually enjoy what they’re working on. Whatever you do, don’t provide any insight into how your company’s products or services can be improved. In failing companies, this sort of feedback is reserved for upper management only. You wouldn’t want to start a revolution of employee empowerment to make a better product would you? Eyes on the prize.
As long as something (anything) is completed by that deadline which you arbitrarily set based off of no known data points, does it really matter if the project meets an actual stakeholder need or solves some customer problem? Do we even care if it works? Not if you’re trying to descend the dangerous pyramid of success. In every task you do or delegate, make sure that it’s done as quickly as possible. Team meetings to discuss implementation details, coding standards for your developers, and quality assurance checks just lead to improved understanding of the project and the delivery of a better product. All of this is a waste of time if you’re trying to go nowhere as fast as you can.
The best failures want to insulate themselves from having to bear the burden of any reasonable responsibility for what they are working on or have committed to. One of the tried and true ways of doing this is through the wild pointing of your finger in any direction but inward.
Failure ProTip: You don’t always have to blame people. Try blaming a process, or lack of process, or lack of communication, or office environment. The key is to come up with any excuse for why you can’t motivate others around you to succeed as a group so you can completely detach yourself from responsibility. Note: Placing blame goes well with accepting mediocrity
If in the end you’ve tried all of the above but you feel that you’ve not sunk as low as possible, it’s best to just give up. Tired of speaking up to improve process? Replace an insightful suggestion with a thought to yourself that things will never change. Are you finding that getting out into the field to actually understand your customers’ pain-points is difficult or inconvenient? Stop wasting your time and continue to tell them what they want. Are you frustrated that your manager just can’t seem to notice the contributions from your low-intensity 39.25 hours of work each week? Quit. After all, there are all kinds of companies full of average employees who would be impressed by your bare-minimum effort.