More Orcs Is Not The Answer

Gothmog, the pig-headed orc general from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, hires a Clear and Open Mentor following Mordor’s defeat depicted in the final film.

Gothmog: “I hope you’ll understand I’m a little grouchier than usual.”

Mentor: “Of course, that was a huge loss for your team. Understandable that you’d be upset.”

“It’s just so frustrating. We keep losing despite our better numbers. In the final battle, we outnumbered the enemy ten to one.”

“What if it’s about more than just numbers?”

“We train our people a ton, too. We invest in them. We’ve improved their weapons, and the new Uruk-Hai orcs are the most powerful force we’ve yet unleashed. Do you know expensive they are?”

“I believe you. It must have been so disappointing that they couldn’t deliver.”

“So disappointing. I must be missing something. That’s why I wanted to talk with you.”

“Well, I appreciate your asking for help. You’re a powerful and fearsome leader, I’m sure asking for help wasn’t easy.”

“That’s kind of you, but after this many losses, Sauron is really on me. I could get fired. He’ll probably just kill me. It’s less paperwork, and more evil.”

“Hold on, Gothmog; it’s not as dire as you think. The problem is that you’ve been too focused on the content of your soldiers and weapons, but not enough on the context of your culture.”

“Context of my culture? What in middle earth are you talking about?”

“Well, you keep throwing more orcs and resources at the problem. You‘re upping the ante with every battle: like with the cave trolls and, for sure, the battle elephants. Your R&D budget must be killing your profits.”

“Those cave trolls are so hard to manage. You have no idea. They kill twenty orcs before they follow basic instructions. And then we need five responsible orcs to keep a leash on them 24/7. Those are management resources we can hardly spare. And those elephants–don’t get me started! They’re highly leveraged assets to start, need months of training, and a single elf takes one out like it’s a game!? I almost cried when I thought about the balance sheet when the first one fell. I’m thinking ‘That elephant is fallen, but we still have thirty-six months of payments left on it.’”

“Those are tough lessons, for sure. But what if you could get more done if your people worked better with each other, and had a different attitude?”

“Attitude? What do you mean? Besides evil?”

“Well, your people just don’t seem to enjoy what they do. They’re angry, and they don’t only express that against the enemy, which I guess would be fine. They express it with each other as well.”

“They’re evil, and being evil makes you angry. I’m angry all the time.”

“Is it possible to be evil, but not angry?”

“I don’t know. I never even thought of that before. I’ve been angry so long. And evil.”

“What if that’s your blind spot? What if you can serve the Dark Lord and not be angry? Do you enjoy what you do?”

“Not really.”

“Yeah, it shows. And you’re so committed and hard-working, it must be hard not enjoying it.”

“I just do what the Dark Lord says. I’m a good general.”

“You’re loyal, for sure, but what about what you want?”

“What I want? Like all us miserable orcs, I live to serve!”

“But what if that’s what’s making you miserable? And then you project that onto your people. You expect them to work hard to serve you, the same way you serve Sauron. But what’s in it for them?”

“They should be happy just to be alive, and to have the privilege to serve evil.”

“Maybe. But are they? Happy I mean?”

“No, they’re as miserable as I am.”

“And what do you think that’s doing to productivity?”

“It’s awful. They fight over rations. They drag their feet. The other side is constantly going the extra mile with all these heroic acts–like single-handedly killing my incredibly expensive elephants–but I can hardly get my people to follow orders without literally killing each other.”

“And that means they need a lot of supervision.”

“A ton. The more troops we have, the more layers of management we need. And orcs think less and less for themselves. They make bad decisions. And I don’t hear about it until it’s too late. We’ve had the One Ring under our nose so many times, and we lose it every time because of orc incompetence.”

“And what if all that is happening because they’re disconnected from their self-interest, therefore, are miserable, therefore, need to be supervised, therefore, won’t think for themselves and can’t better decisions? Nobody’s telling people like Gandalf and Legolas what to do. They’re in the fight for their reasons. They serve good, but they also serve themselves, you see? They’re personally invested.”

“I get what you mean, wow. Hard to imagine what that would look like, much less how to get there.”

“I believe you. Let’s talk about how that process could look. I’m excited for you, Gothmog, this could be the beginning of a whole new career for you. And it all starts with getting clear about what you want for yourself.”  

*This blog is for information and entertainment purposes only. Clear and Open does not align itself with evil and doesn’t want you to either, even though deep down Sauron was probably a good person and just needed someone to talk to.

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