When I was working on my master’s degree I loved my course on organizational design and form. It’s part science, part art, a dash of common sense, and all office politics. In other words, it’s challenging and unrewarding all at the same time. In my job I have helped mange a LOT of reorganization efforts over the years. It’s one of those competencies that is useful to know but a bit of a buzz-kill at a party. “Yeah, I do reorganizations…” Watch the people flee.
I started to wonder, just for grins, what if we named organizations after what they were really known for? Example: Information Technology Security in many organization would be known as “The Department of No” since that is what they usually say way you ask for something. It’s their job to say “no.”
I have formulated some of the more humorous ones I’ve considered using over the years into the list below, for your amusement. Any attempt to link these to my current organization would be pure folly on your part because most of these come from previous employers (you know who you are!) These are purely for fun – so enjoy!
Oh, if you enjoy these, check out my book, Business Rules or Cubicle Warfare. I am required by a lack of discretion to shamelessly plug my books on corporate culture. Go buy them both on Amazon.com!
The Underachievers. This is often confused with The Unaccountables. These teams usually sit near each other and share staff.
The Limitless Travel Budget Group – aka The Miles for Points Team. You know them, they are always going to meetings in other cities/countries/galaxies.
The Agency of Scheduling Meetings at Inconvenient Hours. This group works eight hour days, just not aligned to your twelve hour days. That’s okay, you can flex your calendar. You didn’t need a private life anyway.
Team Humorless. These guys/gals are already posting that this blog entry is stupid and they are going to turn me in for ratting them out.
The Team of Perpetual Planners. These folks wallpaper their offices with MS Project output. They often don’t provide any real help or guidance on a project, but they do produce a highly complex project plan which generates the illusion of organization…so I guess that counts.
The Lost Boys/Girls. These aren’t vampires (well I don’t THINK their vampires) but rather a cobbled together department/group made up of people with uniquely specialized and unrelated skills. They are refugees and survivors of dozens of other reorg efforts. Sometimes we call these folks The Terminally Disenfranchised Cluster.
The “Point the finger at the other guys” Services Team. This group usually doesn’t actually produce anything other than blame.
Professional Bootlickers League. “Gosh, have you lost weight? What a nice dress!”
The Easily Distracted. You can spot them in a group easily. Hold out your keys and jingle them. The people that stare at your keys…they work in this group.
The Department of PowerPoint Enthusiasts. This is often confused with the Department of Amazingly Beautiful But Workless Graphic Image Creators.
The Departmental Scape Goats Unit. I worked in this department once – it sucked.
Team Just on the Verge of Going Postal – Kick a dog enough, you’ll get bitten. Never sit this team near the emergency exits, it prevents your fleeing when the inevitable happens.
The Department of the Obliviously Ignorant. Why do these folks seem to attract each other? It’s like some sort of weird stupidity gravity.
The Reason We Can’t Have Nice Things. Your mom warned you about these folks.
Instigators Anonymous. Author’s note: I’m a founding member of this elite team!
Virtually Unavailable. Everything relies on their approval and they are never around.
“Special Projects” This is a favorite of mine. It’s the place they put people who have failed just enough to where we can’t fire them, but it’s recognized that they don’t quite perform. They get their own special short yellow bus.
The Analysis Paralysis Team. Their motto: “We can’t come up with a motto until we get more data…”
The Department of Abused Children and Animal Torturers. I was going to go with Future Serial Killers, but I think that’s implied with this group.
The Trending Worthless Data Office– aka Dashboards Anonymous
Intangible Methods in Motion Team. These folks have a process for everything. They are worthless processes with no basis in reality – but they have them.
The Operationally Dysfunctional…Too weird to promote, just productive enough to avoid being fired. In fact – that’s their motto (they have tee-shirts with that on it.)
The League of Approvers of Other People’s Work. This is a great group to work for because it doesn’t produce anything but generates the illusion of work.
The Disinformation League. Also referred to as the Miscommunications Group or The Propaganda Ministry.
The Regionally Arranged Geographic Team Based on a Map on the Back of a Placemat at IHOP Department. Also known as the Terminally Geographically Challenged Team. Who knew that Brazil was in the same geographic team as Vietnam?
The Party Planners Group. They are responsible for an average of 2.3 cakes left in the break room every month. The Trending Worthless Data Department has charts to prove it!
Anonymous Old Farts (AOF) aka The Graybeards. Don’t mess with these guys, they know where the bodies are buried…BECAUSE THEY BURIED THEM THERE…
The Branch of Things Beginning in the Letter E. This one is from my current employer, because for years we named everything technological starting with the letter E. Now we use the word “One” as the prefix to stuff we deploy. Go figure.
The Perpetual Whiners and Moaners Work Cluster. Their first reaction to this department title is to complain that it doesn’t actually describe them.
The Psycho-Hose Beast Directorate. I don’t have a description for this group – but I just liked the sound of their name. Go figure.
The Station of Teflon Career Management. Not to be confused with The Workgroup with Dirt on Other Team Leaders, though they often have a dotted line to each other.
The Team of Semi-Reformed Stoners. They would complain about this blog post, but it would require getting up and their chairs are very comfortable.
Dip Sticks Who Live At the Office (also known as the Department of Far Too Many Plants and Crap In Your Offices)
The Island of Misfit Toys – a group on an org chart that is cobbled together of random people that no one knows where else they belong, so they are lumped together.
The Team of Crushed Souls.
The Directorate of Moron Control. Hey, someone’s got to do it.
The Abused Children. Survivors of every horrible manager and previous reorganization. They have been so battered, so horribly career-abused, they are immune to just about everything. Also known as the Branch of The Walking Dead and The Survivors/Refugees of Six Previous Reorganizations
Q-Level Division. Not quite a C-Level Executive, Q-Level sounds very impressive and has a hint of James Bond to it, don’t you think? These folks have all the new tech toys when the rest of us work with an abacus.
The Commission of Administrative Black Hole Ops. Things go in, nothing ever comes out.
The Department of Future Lawsuits (This comes from my time at one of the big three auto companies where all of the individuals who were HR nightmares ended up working in the same department, for manager who was generating more grievances then work at the time. HR must have thought it was easier to have all of these folks on the same team.)
The 10-3 Team (this reflects their actual hours of work) We all know the team I’m talking about (ever organization has one) where we rarely see them or when we do, they are working for roughly three hours a day then they pack up and head home. What’s up with that?
The Department of Stall Tactics and Obstructionism (Why oh why do these people seem to gather in one group on every org chart?)
The Department of Dark Side Operations. Usually this is named after one particular manager who is ruthless, mostly-evil, and someone who is known to annihilate his opposition. His team are blindly following minions who do his bidding.
The Bureau of Open Arrogance. You can always look smart when you stand next to people that aren’t. That doesn’t make you smart, just less-stupid.
So the next time you are doing a reorg, feel free to pick organizational titles from the list above.