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August 9, 2014
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September 20, 2014

Unlock the Secret to Leadership and Managerial Excellence with MI-MA-MO

Amanda is brilliant, but doesn’t do squat. George produces but he is no genius. Beatrice blathers all day. That’s all you can think of when you meet with your employees. At this rate, instead of a raise you will get a demotion; and that is all you can think of, meeting after meeting. When you snap out of your trance, you realize that you’re not very productive yourself and that you may have to rely on some serious sucking up to keep your job.

                Life is hard as a LEADER. There is only so much sucking up you can do, especially when they keep changing SENIOR LEADERSHIP. But you know that they expect EXCELLENCE from you, so you have to produce. To produce, you need good people. To get good people, you need to screen them. To screen them, you need MI MA MO. I developed MI MA MO for people like you, who like to daydream when they should be working; for people like you, who are tired of sucking up; for people like you, who like to delegate instead of lifting a finger. If you are that kind of LEADER – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – try MI MA MO.

                After years of serious daydreaming, delegating, and fears of demotion, I’ve come to the conclusion that all of us, LEADERS, need better ways to hire for EXCELLENCE. Otherwise, our ass is on the line. We’ve all taken the Myers-Briggs, the engagement assessment, the EQ test, and the sexual perversions diagnostic, but none of them help hire for EXCELLENCE. This is why I developed the MI MA MO test. MI stands for mind work; MA stands for manual work, and MO for mouth work. Mind, Mouth, and Manual work. When you think about it, all you need to know about your employees is how well they perform on the various dimensions of MI MA MO.

                To illustrate what the various types do, let’s look at our own Miami. Examples of high level MA (manual work) include:

·         Take bribes

·         Take drugs

·         Push drugs

·         Insert silicon

·         Shoot guns

·         Shoot baskets

·         Build stadiums

These are all manual occupations that define South Florida. Not surprisingly, there are also some cases of MI (mind work):

·         Ponzi schemer

·         Medicare defrauder

We also have our share of MO (mouth work):

·         Politicians evading prosecution

·         Lawyers helping politicians

·         Anchorwomen reporting on politicians and their lawyers

·         Anchormen filling the air with nonsense and inane jokes

·         Reporters talking about the latest shooting

·         Silicon lips

                Mouth types tend to talk a lot. Mind types tend to think a lot, and manual types just do whatever the other two didn’t have time for because they were too busy talking or daydreaming. It’s a terrible thing when you need someone to DO STUFF and all they can do is TALK instead of PERFORMING FOR EXCELLENCE. Generally, you want people who are low on mouth work and high on mind work. Of course, if they are good on manual work, you want them to have at least an IQ of a 100 so they don’t screw up whatever it is they are doing. Needless to say, a high IQ does not hurt, unless it is accompanied by verbal diarrhea, which is often the case in law firms, universities, government, and the Chris Matthews show.

                All you really need to know to achieve the NEXT LEVEL is how to hire for the right mix of MI MA and MO. To discern the right amount of each ingredient, you need to take into account two criteria:

1.       Skills required to perform EXCELLENTLY

2.       Your tolerance for verbal diarrhea

To help you hire for EXCELLENCE and PERFORMANCE, I have developed an easy to remember, simple classification system. If you commit them to memory, you will never have to suck up again to your bosses. What’s more, they will start sucking up to you. To help you internalize the various occupational profiles, and help you achieve the NEXT LEVEL, I created a little chart.

Occupational Strength





MO (mouth work)




MI   (mind work)




MA  (manual work)





                My friends in the Math department tell me that this little chart can result in 27 unique occupational profiles. You can be a hi-mi me-mo lo-ma, like me; or a hi-mo hi-mi me-ma, like Chris Mathews. Not only can you classify your existing employees with this methodology, but you can hire for specific jobs. Let’s say you run a massage parlor in Miami, you want a hi-ma me-mi lo-mo masseur to avoid lawsuits. Let’s say you are looking for a bouncer, you definitely need a hi-ma lo-mi lo-mo.

                This approach can also fuel endless gossip by formulating a typology of celebrities, increasing your popularity in the firm. Is Kim Kardashian lo-mi hi-ma me-mo, or lo-mi lo-ma lo-mo? What about Maks Chmerkovskiy from Dancing with the Stars? We know he is hi-ma and hi-mo, but is he me-mi or lo-mi? If he goes out with J.Lo does that make him hi-mi, lo-mi or just lo-co?

                If you are working on a strategic plan, you can use the MI MA MO approach to identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization. Let’s say you LEAD a news organization. You need reporters that will be well aligned with emerging technologies. Look at John King from CNN as an example. He is hi-ma hi-mi hi-mo and if you don’t believe me, just watch him gesticulate in front of the 98 inch interactive monitor on election night. Wolf Blitzer, in turn, is hi-mo lo-ma hi-mi. With this approach, cable networks can hire reporters based on the size of their interactive electoral map: The bigger the touchscreen the greatest the need for hi-ma reporters.

                Say you need to hire consultants, who tend to be hi-mo me-mi lo-ma. They talk forever, think they are the smartest, and do very little. Next time you interview one of them you can start by asking them not who they have consulted with, but rather what they have DONE, like, actually running something. Real stuff, you know, and if you disagree with me you can start your own twitter account @memihimoloma and use #myhimo.


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