Taxonomy of Bozos

July 15, 2011

Working productively with a group of people of varying backgrounds, skills and motives requires a mapping of the human landscape. If you have worked successfully on international standards and specifications, you will necessarily have, perhaps unconsciously, developed a Taxonomy of Bozos.

Gender note: I’m using “he” as a shorthand for a bozo of any gender.


  • Characteristics: talks about his transcendent skill, talent and accomplishments but never proposes anything.
  • Strategy: ignore him.

Stupid Bozo

  • Characteristics: makes an unworkable proposal and is unable to implement it. Does not understand why it is rejected and keeps trying again. And again. And again.
  • Strategy: ignore him aggressively. Unless he is your manager; then you must leave the building immediately and seek new employment.

Lazy Bozo

  • Characteristics: makes an unworkable proposal and may be able to fix it and implement it. But he is too lazy to incorporate the feedback and fix the proposal.
  • Strategy: offer feedback until he lies down and goes to sleep.

Conniving Bozo

  • Characteristics: makes a workable proposal and is able to implement it but wants somebody else to do the work.
  • Strategy: cut a deal: help him implement his proposal if he supports your proposal.

Curable Bozo

  • Characteristics: initially makes an unworkable proposal but is able to learn and incorporate feedback to eventually make a workable proposal.
  • Strategy: offer constructive feedback until a workable proposal is reached.


  • Characteristics: makes a workable proposal and is able and willing to implement it.
  • Strategy: find common ground and form an alliance to combat lower lifeforms.

There’s a bozo born every minute. Learn to deal with them. If you have encountered a type of bozo not mentioned here, give me feedback. I will incorporate it.