🕵️ CIA's Simple Sabotage Field Guide

We're entering the Collaboration Crisis and it's costing a fortune.

It’s a Collaboration Crisis

If there’s one thing I keep hearing when I’m playing therapist to my employed friends, it’s that they’re fed up.

Tons of reports are constantly backing this up. One this week even touted that a whopping 85% of us work with annoying colleagues (honestly, that might be a modest guess 😅 ).

The five worst types of coworkers?

  1. 🤬 Credit Stealers

  2. 🔎 Micromanagers

  3. 🙊 Chronic Complainers

  4. 🙅 Personal Space Intruders

  5. 🥡 Lunch Thieves

But this is more than just being a PITA to deal with. The lack of collaboration is in the BILLIONS of wasted hours and dollars.

📊 The proof is in the pudding

This week, the Atlassian State of Teams Report was released and the numbers are pretty shocking.

So why aren’t teams doing mission-critical work?

Knowledge worker teams are… 

  • Spread across disjointed goals

    • 64% agree that their team is constantly being pulled in too many directions

    • 70% agree that it would be easier to make progress if they had fewer, more specific goals

  • Drowning in notifications and meetings

    • 65% say it’s more important to quickly respond to messages than it is to make progress on top priorities

    • In organizations with poor meeting cultures, people spend 50% more time in unnecessary meetings than making progress on high-priority work

  • Struggling to share information

    • 55% find it hard to track down information despite knowing a lot of people at their job

    • 50% have worked on a project and only later found out that another team was working on the same thing

    • 56% say that teams at their company plan and track work in different ways, which makes it hard to collaborate

  • Unsure how to harness AI in their day-to-day

    • 50% of knowledge workers and execs don’t use AI on a weekly basis

    • 63% of knowledge workers and 79% of executives agree that AI is important, but don’t get how to use it in their day-to-day work

🕵️ The call is coming from inside the house

These factors aren’t shocking to anyone. In fact, we’ve seen it all before. The CIA released its Simple Sabotage Field Manual back in 1944 which gave tactical tips and tricks to destroy organizations from within.

What’s wild, is that it works pretty well and there’s a shocking amount of similarities between these tactics and the barriers outlined in the Atlassian report.

Here’s the guide

For Organizations and Conferences

  • Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken to expedite decisions.

  • Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” with long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.

  • When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committee as large as possible — never less than five.

  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, and resolutions.

  • Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

  • Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassment or challenges later on.

For Managers

  • Always sign out the unimportant jobs first when making work assignments. See that important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers.

  • Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw.

  • Lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions.

  • Hold conferences and meetings when there is more critical work to be done.

  • Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, paychecks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.


  • Work slowly.

  • Repeat work slowly.

  • Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can.

  • Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.

  • Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

So… is Martha in legal annoying, costing billions, or actually a CIA operative? Please report back.

🙏 Por Favor 🙏