February 15, 2021 – Dingo Dogs, Moose, and Retirement

At the beginning of the movie Braveheart there is this monologue where the narrator says that history is written by victors. It seems that is true in most cases. You may think this is a political rant, it’s not. This deals with a work colleague who recently retired. I call him the arsonist-fireman. He created myriad problems that impacted mission and dollars. But fear not! Since he created the problems, he also knew how to solve them – throw money at the problem until it goes away. Anyway, during a recent townhall he was hailed as one of the best leaders our organization has ever had. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Good thing it was a virtual town hall as this would have been detrimental to my future job opportunities and quiet embarrassing!

Let me begin with a few words from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. “The basic concept found in Scott Adams’, The Dilbert Principle is that the most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place when they can do the least damage: management”. In this case, they did far more damage than should have been allowed. As Scott Adams went on to say, “This has not proved to be the winning strategy that you might think. Maybe we should learn something from nature. In the wild, the weakest moose is hunted down and killed by dingo dogs, thus ensuring survival of the fittest. This is a harsh system –- especially for the dingo dogs who have to fly all the way from Australia. But nature’s process is a good one; everybody agrees, except perhaps for the dingo dogs and the moose in question…and the flight attendants. But the point is that we’d all be better off if the least competent managers were being eaten by dingo dogs.”

I could only think of the Dilbert Principle as stories were shared about how important this person was and their incredible contributions to the mission. I have known this person for almost 21 years – and I’m sure what was being said was from someone else’s retirement script. But history has been written. This man will be remembered by those who never knew him as the model of leadership and stewardship. I can only sit and wish I had figured out how to ship dingo dogs to Virginia 15 years ago. Have a great week!

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