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February 28, 2006

GBAT: Score High and Cry

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Due to the overwhelming response to my article about bozosity, I've created the GBAT (Guy's Bozofication Aptitude Test). It is a compilation of the best indicators of whether a company is sliding into bozosity. I've included the names of the people who came up with some of these ideas. In some cases, I took their idea and altered it for my use.

Please feel free to apply this test to your company and post the score and company name--anonymously, of course--in the comments area. Here is a PDF of the test in case you want to print it or forward it--just click on it to download.


Add one point for each

1. The two most popular words in your company are “partner” and “strategic.” In addition, “partner” has become a verb, and “strategic” is used to describe decisions and activities that don't make sense.

2. Management has two-day offsites at places like the Ritz Carlton to foster communication and to craft a company mission statement.

3. The aforementioned company mission statement contains more than twenty words--two of which are “partner” and “strategic.”

4. Your CEO's admin has an admin.

5. Your parking lot's “biorhythm” looks like this:

* 8:00 am - 10:00 am--Japanese cars exceed German cars
* 10:00 am - 5:00 pm--German cars exceed Japanese cars
* 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm--Japanese cars exceed German cars

6. Your HR department requires an MBA degree for any position; it also requires five to ten years work experience in an industry that is only four years old.

7. Time is now considered more important than money so you have a company cafeteria, health club, and pet grooming service. Moreover, the first thing that employees show visitors is the company cafeteria, health club, and pet grooming service.

8. Someone whose music sells in the iTunes store performs at the company Christmas party.

9. An employee is paid to do nothing but write a blog.

10. Some employees read this blog to find out what's happening in the company.

11. The success of a competitor upsets you more than the loss of a customer.

12. Your middle managers all worked at big-name consumer goods companies. Zoli Erdo

13. You hire a big-name consulting firm who brings in MBAs with one year of experience to re-think your corporate strategies.

14. Your company likes some of these MBAs and hires them away from the big-name consulting firm.

15. The front-desk staff gets better looking and less competent. Jeff Barson

16. The only time you see your CEO is when you're watching CNBC. Laurie Sefton

17. You watch CNBC during the day and don't feel guilty.

18. The ratio of engineers to attorneys dips below 25 to 1. Margherite

19. The company has created a “company values” poster. George

20. “Leveraging core competencies” and “maximizing shareholder value” show up in official documents, in the same paragraph. Rick Krutina

21. New executives campaign to improve the product before they understand how to use it. Bill Liao

22. Your company outsources its mission statement. pUnk

23. Your CEO's chair is more expensive than your first car. JoeC

24. You have more than two execs with the word “chief” in their title. Gautam

25. The company becomes a schwag fountain: pens, bags, notepads, messenger bags. Hadley Stern

Add two points for each

26. Your CEO writes a book.

27. Your CEO gets invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos where he gives advice to the presidents of Eastern European countries.

28. Your company has a corporate jet.

29. Your company hired a retired professional athlete as a motivational speaker.

30. Your company hired a retired politician as a motivational speaker

The highest possible score is 35 points. God help you...


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7 points but we are a small company and growing...

Sportsbook Bonuses

How about 2 more for Bozosity...

1) An HR department (that hasn't been outsourced yet) that is supposed to recruit talent, and shine a great impression on their company, states when there is a need for talent... "submit your resume to our website, and I will forward it to the hiring manager."


and 2) 20 years after a certain company had been deregulated and now has to compete on the open market, one executive was heard to say, "Don't they now we are ??&?, they have to do it!"

No wonder.

A Senior VP reports to a Senior VP who reports to a Senior VP who reports to the CEO.

Hi Guy,
I just saw you speak at Pubcon in Vegas. Love the bozosity. You had me laughing my head off during the keynote. Keep up the good work.

I have already rehashed some of your stories of bozosity and the one about the aid to help the Coast Guard find drowners.


Points are an interesting yard stick however in my experience many company executives have so much fear that someone may actually make them look bad, by being brighter than them they will go out of their way to hire someone totally unsuitable.

Before you know it you have a tier of fools ignoring the fact that the bright people in lower levels are all jumping ship.

If the least likely candidate gets the job then start working on your resume before the ship sinks.

A better copy of the 35 points has been created and is available at

The best of all ... "If the company has replaced customer service staff with a call-centre ... add 200 points"

Another Todd below, that’s still one point.

Ah, I remember it well. Viant, Scient, Sapient and finally, my love, Zentropy.

I was there, I saw it happen, it's all so.


How many points do I add if the CEO has a private jet that he leases to the company?

The company where i am working right now scored only 3 points. Its not a big enterprise, but still a recognized force on the local market. =O)

This is one of the most "right on" blog posts I've read all year!

I get to see this stuff in action veryday with clients and it "aon't" pretty to be sure.

Keep up the great new blog!

Patrick McEvoy
Rain Maker Best Practices
Be Sure To Visit and Get your FREE copy of:
"12 Secrets of Superstar Professional Service Firms"


There is such a thing as Pixar University, and it's no joke. People come out of that training program better qualified for their industry than any masters' degree program I know of.


Interesting. Apple's score is zero on this scale, although it was probably close to the max during the Sculley era. Amazing what a near-death experience can do for a company.

Incidentally, I'd consider anyone a Bozo who promotes Feng Shui and isn't 1) Chinese and 2) over 70 years old.


I got 39 points... How is that possible?

Very good test, but missing several VITAL Bozo Metrics:

[1] If the number of company VPs exceeds the number of commodes in you main washroom, add +1 point for each VP over the commode limit.

[2] Add +10 points if there is an executive washroom.

[3] If the only people who show up at the Friday "Beer Bash" are the caterers, add +3 points.

[4] If attendance for company holiday "parties" is mandatory, add +3 points.

[5] If an outside firm is conducting an "employee attitude poll", add +5 points.

[6] If your company intends to build a "corporate campus" add +25 points.

[7] If your company has already built a corporate campus, ignore the rest of this of this test because you're screwed. Prepare your exit strategy at once!

The company has a divisition whose name is CompanyName + " University".

As in "Microsoft University", "AOL University", "Oracle University". Just to name a few.

The company's name plus the word University exist.

For example, "Microsoft University", "AOL University", "Oracle University", just to name a few ...

Here's a winner--the exec forbids office moves to "save money", and then announces his office move--to "improve his feng shui".

Hey Kirsten--I may not have commented on this thread, but I've commented in this series. Last time I checked, there was still an "F" on the drivers license ;-)

SAS gets 13 (2 jets). It's still privately held so many of these don't apply.

Any company that uses 'MashUp' for anything other than the music genre should be mashed for 3 points.


I can tell you that the DJs who do the real thing are not amused:


I'd rather be on a pedestal than on a roost. :-)


Kinda disturbing that just 1 of the many, many comments to your post here is from a woman (ronny).

Sheds new light on Amira's 2005 blog post: "Bright women are making a mark, yet bozos are still ruling the roost"

wink-wink, nod-nod. you know i put you on a pedestal, guy. ;)


one more point: when all employees dress, walk, talk, and look the same.

Reminds me of Arthur Anderson and IBM people back in early 1990s...

Very funny. But "partner" is a verb as well as a noun, at least according to Merriam-Webster. That's not to say that lots of nouns don't get used as verbs in the workplace. "Transition" comes to mind.

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