August 09, 2005

Executive Material

Sir ... it's time for your pre-meeting, sir ...

If you don't mind, I'm in the middle of a meeting now ...

You asked me to tell you yesterday ...

So, why are you telling me today?

You told me to tell you tomorrow yesterday, and that would mean today, sir ...

Couldn't it wait till later ?

You specifically told me to tell you now yesterday, sir ...

Uh, right. Seems we have a problem here. It'll just have to wait until this meeting is over ...

Shall I reschedule the pre-meeting, sir ?

By all means, you should reschedule the pre-meeting now ...

Now would conflict with your schedule, sir, as you're currently in a meeting. Perhaps later, sir ?

Good point ... make it later then ...

You have some time available right after this meeting, sir ...

Sounds like a plan. By the way, what's the topic ?

You requested it to set the agenda for THIS meeting, sir ...

Hmmmm... well, looks like we'll have a better idea of where we want to go with this shortly ... I'll get back to you.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 09:35 PM

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 06:22 PM

December 00, 0000

My Life in Hell

Hell is a relative thing. My personal hell is living most of my life in an 8x10 cubicle reacting to the kneejerks of a particularly moronic group of executive types who couldn't plan their way out of a paper bag.

The day I actually accomplish anything useful within the restrictions of THE PLAN, I fully expect to hear the herald's pipes announcing Armageddan. I truly believe I could accomplish more doing nothing. At least, I could then take credit for lessening the confusion inherent in constant change for the sake of change. For this I expect I would gain the eternal gratitude of the poor grunts on the front line who have to make sense of it all. After all, what are the chances that anyone with the power to do anything about it would actually notice my failure to implement the latest Apostle according to St Peter's Principle?

What in fact are the chances these same people would even be aware of what they wanted the day after saying "Make it so .." ? With real luck, the new, improved Plan of the Day would make it like it was, and all concerned would recieve accolades for swift implementation and response. The flip side of course is that they would then expect the same instantaneous results for whatever twisted mind-drivvle they come up with next.

If it weren't for the spiritual guidance of Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert Universe, I would think I were the only one facing these particular trials and tribulations. As is, I find I am only one of many who have sold their souls for profit and seek daily to lower themselves to the level of those they serve.. Sometimes I wonder if the guys on the fat tired Schwinns patrolling the roads of rural America in search of deposit bottles don't have the right idea.

(Not that I'm bitter!)

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 12:00 AM