September 22, 2000

Covey as the AntiChrist

I have met the Devil, and his name is Stephen Covey. He is the patron saint of the modern, "efficient" business and the poster child for effective management. The icons of his religion are the paredo and the flow chart. His disciples are those whose prime reason for existence is the infinite analysis of all that is and ever will be. The objective is to cubby hole EVERYTHING and develop the ultimate plan with contingencies graphed to the Nth degree, eliminating completely any need for independent thought by the trench minded lower classes of the corporate environment.

One needs not think in the Covey World - someone else was kind and big enough to coopt the development process for you. Simply circle the "I"s and dot the "T"s and it all falls into place. Those not privy to the secret rites of process management need not concern themselves if they don't understand - that's actually part of the plan in a "result oriented scenario". A proactive stance in the developmental stages should theoretically produce a static environment, thereby eliminating change as a factor. And there was dancing and jubilation in the streets.

We are just now finding out where all this anal retentive "focus" is leading. The new, improved "method" is a sham in the same vein as most of the other snake oil sold since the dawn of civilization. "Pay attention to the details, and the big picture will take care of itself" has led us to the point where the Dilbert Principle rules, thereby invalidating all the so called "progress" of progressive management. The mere mention of ISO 9001 or Total Quality Management should instill real fear in your heart. If you are one of the fortunate few who haven't been exposed, RUN, don't walk, for the nearest exit if you hear these buzzwords even faintly spoken in your workplace. Those of you foolish enough to linger, be advised that any independence you may have enjoyed in the past will now be the thing of memories. Any who have felt the satisfaction of a sense of accomplishment for a job well done might as well get used to mediocrity. Enlightened management does not require knowledge as long as the basic tenents of the new corporate environment are met (which is to say, the lack of response to the original query for input was assumed to be implicit approval of the process). Progressive managers know deep in their hearts that as long as it looks good enough on paper to convince the in crowd, they will be rewarded and proceed up the corporate ladder. Someone will of course eventually be held accountable for any obvious failure, and that someone will be whoever replaces them. Accountability is a hazard experienced only by those who don't move fast enough. Thus they know they will be insulated from the fallout when the whole thing goes up in smoke. That next guy could be you - the odds are favorably charted with that projected end result (please refer to the graph on page 3256 of the Standard Operating Plan of the Day).

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at September 22, 2000 06:22 PM