Warning: The following is an extreme example of a culture gone awry. We’ve only ever seen its like one time, but it’s nonetheless instructive. If anything like this is at work in your company, seek employment elsewhere.
I went to a new client’s main office for the very first time. I expected to spend most of my time with my contact, but he told me that his boss reported to the CIO, and that we would be attending the CIO’s 9:30 meeting. He then opened a desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of vodka, about 2/3 full. He asked if I wanted some, but I declined. He poured himself a generous shot and slugged it back. Off we went to the meeting. The CIO was joined by her six subordinates.
The meeting was…unforgettable. When one person talked the others felt the need to comment aloud or pay no attention at all. It appeared that the CIO was just fine with this. Each person gave a progress report which was greeted by laughs, and rude – as in terribly vulgar – comments. Then they turned to the topic of the day, which was whether or not to adopt a new calendar application that one manager wanted to make mandatory for everyone in the organization. Now all hell broke loose: screaming, shouting, fist-pounding.
The CIO eventually screamed the pandemonium to a halt, turned to me, and said, “What do you make of this?”
I said, “I don’t know what to make of it. I have never seen anything like this. I have no context.”
As my vodka-swilling contact and I left the conference room, he stopped us in the hall, and whispered something to me. —Tim Lister
He was willing to confide in an outsider never to return, and had to whisper because this was the unspeakable rule that applied at their company: