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I Need More Minions! BUWAHAHAHA!

Little_peopleAn article in the Des Moines Register yesterday led me to Marc Ward's blog, Attack of the Narcisse Clones.  For those of you outside the Des Moines area, here's the scoop:  Marc Ward lost his seat on the Des Moines school board the same year that Jon Narcisse won his.  Narcisse has been undisputably controversial in both his message and his approach since being elected.  He's done some things that make even the most naive politicians wince.  His supporters call him a straight shooter.  His detractors, well, something less flattering.  Now Marc Ward has started a blog with the sole purpose of pointing out all of Narcisse's faults, one of which is that he's gathering clones and minions to get elected onto the school board to help him achieve his nefarious plans and gain world domination (insert evil Plankton laugh from SpongeBob Squarepants here).

I'm not sure what solution could resolve the conflict between these two men, but maybe that wise sage of the ages, June Cleaver, said it best:  "Ward, I think something is wrong with the boys.  Maybe you should talk to them."

Marc Ward's accusations bring up an excellent issue with office politics, though.  How can you tell when somebody is gathering minions vs. building healthy alliances?  Because the snake politician is one can work either overtly or covertly to accomplish his goals, it can be hard to tell when a secret army of evil is being amassed.

Here are some easy tips to figure out when somebody is building alliances vs. seeking minions:

  • Motive - does the person have an obvious agenda on a specific issue?  If so, there may be minions.  If not, it's probably just alliance-building.
  • Independence - are the relationships able to act independently of the person building them or does everything have to funnel through one person (or a select group) in thought and in deed?
  • Novelty - is this something new and sudden and urgent (a sign of minion building) or does it happen gradually over time and allowed to occur naturally through mutual interests?
  • Invitation - can anybody be allowed to forge a relationship or do you need to be extended an invitation to be in the group?
  • Openness - how secretive is the group that they are building relationships?  Are lunches held behind closed doors?  Do people take bathroom breaks together?  This one test is a good indicator on the alliance-vs-minion test
  • Noise - is this group wreaking havoc or are they providing a calm and rational voice for their views, listening to all sides without throwing stones or sabotaging dissenting views?

As far as certain behaviors going on in Des Moines, I believe there should be a time out for big people until they realize that kids' education is more important than agendas and egos.


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"Felicitations, MALFACTORS! I am endeavoring to misappropriate the formula for the preparation of affordable comestibles. WHO WILL JOIN ME??" -- Plankton

That of course, comes from the cartoon where good old Plankton is trying to get minions to help him steal the "Crabby Patty Secret Formula." Plankton finally recruits the rest of his "family" to help, determining that he can't work alone, but if he has the family behind him, they could be "a real pain in the fanny!"

I think that last idea about posterior pains goes right along with our fearless leaders ideas about the recruiting of minions (evil or otherwise).

Anybody for a Crabby Patty?

Timothy Johnson

Hi Jay - figured I'd have at least one SpongeBob fan out there who would comment. You're right, though. If the minions have to be recruited, you're probably asking for trouble.

Andrew B. Clark

From a strategic standpoint, how does one battle against corporate "minion-building?" As a manager of a small staff, I have run across this issue a number of times. Because of the size of the staff, I can usually calm the waters before it gets out of hand; but what about larger companies (Principal, Wells Fargo, et al)?

As always - great post... and great use of A MEMORABLE acronym (M.I.N.I.O.N.).

Keep Cooking!

Timothy Johnson

Andrew - political activity is prevalent in all sizes of organizations; however, it is more VISIBLE in smaller organizations (i.e., fewer people make it harder to hide your actions and intentions).

One issue is the potential targets of the minion building should be paying attention to what's going on around them before it's too late.

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