Are You a Corporate Zombie? Part One

I was never star athlete or anything but I did play my share of school sports.  A long time ago I was on the freshman football team in high school.  Truth be told I was a little too skinny but I could run fast so they started me at the split end position.   

As we practiced our plays during the week I remember this one kid that had some sort of logic blocking enzyme or something in his system.  I can’t remember his name for the life of me so let’s just call him Harry.  Harry was the Running Back.   

To tell the story properly a little vignette would help: 

“Right Eye 9 sweep on 2″ called the Quarterback as we all stood freezing in the huddle.  It was a simple play that called for the Running Back to receive the handoff and run around the defense on the right side of the field.    

Lining up next to the Offensive Tackle, he and I both shook our heads knowing what was to come.  The Center snapped the ball and Harry took the handoff from the Quarterback and ran straight up the middle of the field, unprotected, right into the crushing defense.   

He got mauled.   

For whatever reason, whichever play was called, Harry would run the ball straight up the middle…and get creamed.   

When questioned by the coach the conversation would go something like this: 

Coach:          Did you understand the play?

Harry:           Yea

Coach:          Do you know that you are making us lose?

Harry:           Yea

Coach:          And you realize you are getting crushed by running the ball up the middle when the play doesn’t call for it?

Harry:           Yea

Coach:          Then why do you keep doing it?!

Harry:           I like it 


Simply put….Harry was a zombie.   

Zombies have taken over pop culture.  There are websites that have pretty much gone mainstream that detail how to protect yourself against zombie attacks and others that describe how zombies could scientifically be created and continue to exist.   

The supernatural aside there is also another definition for the word zombie.  It refers to the mindless devotion to failed ideas, apathy to world around us and a general state of “non thinking.” 

In our work, we run into zombies from time to time.  These are otherwise good people, that for whatever reason, fall into Harry’s way of thinking.   

Here are 5 ways to identify if you might be a Corporate Zombie: 

1.  If your business process does not produce the product, service or information you require yet you doggedly enforce compliance with it.   

Albert Einstein once said doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.  The delicate chemistry of people, processes and systems has to continually be reformulated to attain high performance results.   

A zombie insists on dogmatic adherence to a process that worked 10 years ago, the human says, “Umm..maybe we should improve things?” 

2.  If your Human Resources function continually demotivates people.   

HR has the heavy responsibility for creating compensation structures, work environments and many corporate policies.  In fact I’ve heard it said more than once that HR manages the “assets” of a corporation i.e. its people.   

Making the right business decisions should drive the compensation structure and corporate policies not the other way around.  If you’re passing up business opportunities because your employees are not incented to take advantage of them …If you assign employees to be on “workplace improvement” committees that add 45% to their workload….you might be a zombie. 

We could go on and on..but join us next week for the completion of our discussion of the corporate supernatural!


Have a great week,


Michael Bechara, CPA


Managing Director


Granite Consulting Group Inc.


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