Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It's easy, especially in an individualistic society like America, to, as some like to crow, look after number 1.
Some even glorify those who stomp their way through organizations, take out those in their way, soar to the top and then declare that the company is a family to them.
One company that fostered the self-centered cannibalistic philosophy was Microsoft.
I know a little of this, as I once did an ad campaign for some lovely Microsoft clients who, immediately the campaign was launched, received countless internal messages telling them everything they'd done wrong. (The campaign was a success.)
It seems, though, to have reached comical proportions at Redmond.
As Business Insider reports, people used to go to the fridge to make coffee or tea.
They'd take cartons of milk out of the fridge, open them, pour a little milk and then leave the carton out.
The next person who came along would take one look at the open cartons, wonder if they might have gone off and decide that they deserved a brand new carton too.
They wouldn't, of course, check whether the open carton might contain milk that was still perfectly good to use.
This self-centered, half-witted behavior became so legendary that threads on Reddit and Yammer began to discuss "The Orphaned Milk Cartons of the Northwest."
In 2015, relatively new CEO Satya Nadella took one look at this behavior and must have imagined that it symbolized so much of what was wrong with Redmond's culture.
In his new book Hit Refresh, Nadella explained: "I used one of my video messages to employees to have a good laugh at it, showcasing it as a humorous example of a fixed mindset."
Of course, what he really wanted to do was to get his employees to have a good laugh at themselves, thereby pausing to consider whether they were, indeed, self-centered clowns who deserved to be sent off to farms to milk cows for a week.
Still, he frames it as an example of a fixed culture, rather than the one he espouses -- a growth culture.
This asks employees to consider whether they might be so set in their ways that they truly believe their way is the best and only.
Which is why they only deserve the very best, freshly-opened milk cartons.
Instead, why not always be prepared to have your mind changed? Yes, that milk carton might have been left there only two minutes ago. The office is air-conditioned. The milk i perfectly good to drink.
Once everyone had a good laugh about it, Microsoft apparently changed out the small milk cartons for bigger ones that people really had to put back in the fridge.
Everything I hear from Redmond these days is that the culture has changed a lot. Not completely, of course. But the proof surely lies in how Nadella has changed the company's tone and, indeed, its product output.
Its Surface Studio, for example, put Apple's offerings to shame not too long ago.
When it comes, then, to the self-centered halfwits that might exist in your purview, it's surely better to shame them -- even if gently -- rather than tolerate them.
Never let them milk their behavior.