The most damaging disease in your business is caused by a very virulent organism called Commincato Lacktorium. This organism enters the host by way of a carrier, generally a co-worker and often a superior. The disease tends to spread laterally and down through an organization killing morale, customer service, innovation and productivity as it ravages like cholera spreading through the ranks.

The early symptoms are unjustified arrogance. The infected will begin to act superior to others suggesting that every encounter is bothersome. In the early stages, the infected person will tolerate interaction but it will become increasingly difficult for them to communicate. Symptoms of the early form of the disease are demonstrated by responses to questions with answers like, “I’ll get back with you” or “let me think about that” or even more seriously, “let’s see how things develop first”.

The poor infected individual is expressing confusion and an inability to make a decision and not intending to be rude. This is a sort of reverse Tourette Syndrome. Rather than spouting uncontrollable obscenities, the victim will be unable to resist giving off-putting replies in a very ass-like manner. Clear answers cannot be given. Decisions cannot be made.

At this early stage it is very important to understand two things. The infected cannot control themselves so don’t take their behavior personally. And, remember, that person is highly contagious in this stage.

You’ll soon see others in the organization displaying the same behavior pattern. This is very dangerous.The outbreak has begun, the spread rapid.

As the disease progresses, it is believed the brain of the infected is slowly eaten away or blocked by fecal-based plaque. Communication ceases.

At this stage when asked for a decision, no reply will follow. Frequent follow-ups lead to increased tension on which the disease seems to feed. Trying to assist the infected by offering easy choices rather than forcing them to make actual decisions was once believed to help but studies have not been able to demonstrate any positive results.

As the disease ravages the organization, basic operations break down. There is a bitter component to the disease which can make it hard to tell the infected from those who develop behavioral disorders which merely mimic the actual disease.

When an error is found in accounting, rather than a simple, “I see it, thank you. I’ll make the correction,” you’ll more likely get an inflammatory excuse such as, “if people wouldn’t wait until the last minute to give their time cards I wouldn’t make mistakes!”  Look out! Commincato Lacktorium is on the loose!

Eventually this leads to the standard, “it’s not my problem.”  That one line is as indicative to Commincato Lacktorium as diarrhea to food poisoning though in the case of Commincato Lacktorium the effluent escapes orally. The infected are no longer able to handle responsibility though they will feel as though they carry the weight of the entire organization.

All hell breaks loose once this stage is reached. The disease spreads throughout the organization infecting all but a rare few who seem to have some sort of genetic protection. It is suggested that prior exposure to the pathogen may produce some protection against infection but this has not been clearly proven.

As communication breaks down and tempers flare, the disease will try to break out and spread to customers, vendors and other outside contacts. This is very damaging to the organization as most people have an innate sense to avoid an infected business. One can observe a general slowing of activity accompanied by a rise in tension.

Quality declines as focus becomes blurred by hostility. Productivity falls off as general malaise replaces genuine enthusiasm. Many organizations including businesses, government entities and even churches become so ineffective that the disease leads to complete paralysis.

As of this writing, there is no cure. Organizations sometimes recover by removal of terminally infected parts. In rare cases, if an infected member at the top of an organization shows some sign of improvement, temporary remission is not uncommon, leading to the recovery of other members. This is, to date, our only means of discovering the truly infected from those who have the mimicking form of the disease. The infected will actually resist cure. Those suffering only from the sympathetic form will show great willingness to recover.

What can be done?

Very little can be done because the disease progresses from the top. We cannot after all remove the head to save the body