Friday, August 31, 2007

Day 1 with the New SVP

Yesterday at the Cracker factory I work in we had a minor re-org... Here is a highlight from day 1 with the new Senior Vice President

8:30 am Call
SVP: J, your system does not work. I can't get in.
Me: What seems to be the problem?
SVP: When I try to enter the system, I get an error message.
Me: What does the message say?
SVP: Password Expired, please enter new password in field below.
Me: And what are you doing when you get this message?
SVP: I just press enter and it kicks me out.
Me: Did you enter a new password?
SVP: No, should I?
Me: Yes, that's why it is asking you for one.

The SVP follows directions for the first time as I walk him through it.

SVP: Hey, now it works. What did you do to the system?
Me: Nothing. It asked you to put in a new password. Now that you entered your new password you were able to get in. It won't ask you to do this again for another 90 days.

12:30 pm Call

SVP: J, your system does not work. I can't get in.
Me: What message are you getting?
SVP: Password Invalid. I shouldn't be getting this message. I know I put in the password correctly, I've been using the same one for three months! Why can't you fix this system!
Me: Remember this morning? You changed your password. The password you have been using for the last three months will not work. You have to use the new password you entered the other day.

After the SVP enters the new (correct) password.

SVP: Now it works! What did you do to the system?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Does this sound Familiar?

The Peter Principle is a special case of a ubiquitous observation: anything that works will be used in progressively challenging applications until it causes a disaster. This is "The Generalized Peter Principle." It was observed by Dr. William R. Corcoran in his work on Corrective Action Programs at nuclear power plants. He observed it applied to hardware, e.g., vacuum cleaners as aspirators, and administrative devices such as the "Safety Evaluations" used for managing change. There is much temptation to use what has worked before, even when it may exceed its effective scope. Dr. Peter observed this about people.
On the personal level, the Peter Principle's practical application allows assessment of the potential of an employee for a promotion based on performance in the current job, i.e. members of a
hierarchical organization eventually are promoted to their highest level of competence, after which further promotion raises them to incompetence. That level is the employee's "level of incompetence" where the employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching his or her career's ceiling in an organization.
The employee's incompetence is not necessarily exposed as a result of the higher-ranking position being more difficult — simply, that job is different from the job in which the employee previously excelled, and thus requires different work skills, which the employee usually does not possess. For example, a factory worker's excellence in his job can earn him promotion to manager, at which point the skills that earned him his promotion no longer apply to his job.
One way that organizations attempt avoiding this effect is to refrain from promoting a worker until he or she shows the skills and work habits needed to succeed to the next higher job. Thus, a worker is not promoted to managing others if he or she does not already display management abilities. The corollary is that employees who are dedicated to their current jobs will not be promoted for their efforts, but might, instead, receive a pay increase.
One complication is that competent employees sometimes pretend to be incompetent. The simplest reasons for this might be avoiding the
jealousy of co-workers and to annoy managers. A more complex reason might be avoiding promotion to management, i.e. "Creative Incompetence", which is especially common in businesses such as big box retail store chains where managers' base pay is low and they are exempt employees un-entitled to overtime pay.
It may often happen for cultural reasons, such as a strong identification with the
working class leading someone to remain in a working-class job rather than "selling out" or the disdain highly-skilled workers have for management decisions, leading them to avoid management jobs. Companies practicing performance improvement find that employees will deliberately "leave room for improvement" by starting at less than peak effectiveness and reach full productivity later. Employees also deliberately underperform in order to keep quotas and expectations from being set too high.
A second complication is that entry-level jobs that are detail oriented and restrictive favour detail-oriented workers, yet hinder creative and innovative workers. By definition and necessity, entry-level jobs are the assembly line of an organization, and thus the most creative and innovative employees start in positions of incompetence. The detail-oriented persons are thus promoted over the creative employees. Often these creative employees are incapable of showing their work strengths because of the structured and restrictive assembly line environments, and then are tagged as bad employees.
In reality, creative employees may be more suited to management jobs, but, because they are unable to use their strengths in the low-level jobs they hold, they never rise to management, and the innate flexibility and innovation needed for managing is lost to the company. The end result for an organization as a whole is that the organization will collapse when incompetents in the ranks outnumber the competent, resulting in the organization's inability to produce results

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Dilbert Principle

The Dilbert Principle refers to a 1990s satirical observation stating that companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to management, in order to limit the amount of damage that they're capable of doing.
The term was coined by
Scott Adams, an MBA graduate from U.C. Berkeley and creator of the Dilbert comic strip. Adams explained the principle in a 1995 Wall Street Journal article. Adams then expanded his study of the Dilbert Principle in a satirical 1996 book of the same name, which is required or recommended reading at some management and business programs. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] In the book, Adams writes that, in terms of effectiveness, use of the Dilbert Principle is akin to a band of gorillas choosing an alpha-squirrel to lead them. The book has sold more than a million copies and was on the New York Times bestseller list for 43 weeks.
Although academics may reject the principle's veracity, noting that it is at odds with traditional
human resources management techniques, it originated as a form of satire that addressed a much-discussed issue in the business world. The theory has since garnered some support from business and management.
The Dilbert Principle is a takeoff on the
Peter Principle. The Peter Principle addresses the practice of hierarchical organizations (such as corporations and government agencies) to use promotions as a way to reward employees who demonstrate competence in their current position. It goes on to state that, due to this practice, a competent employee will eventually be promoted to, and remain at, a position at which he or she is incompetent. The Dilbert Principle, on the other hand, claims that incompetent employees are intentionally promoted to prevent them from doing harm (such as reducing product quality, offending customers, offending employees, etc.). It is possible for both Principles to be simultaneously active in a single organization.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Moron Issues and Questions?

I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either.
I love datelines. I especially like the whooshing sound the make as they go flying by.
Am I getting smart with you? How would you konw?
I'd explain it to you, but your brain would explode.
Some day we'll look back on all this and plow into a parked car.
There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high explosives.
Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it.
Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
Needing soneone is like needing a parachute. If he isn't there the first time you need him, chances are you won't be needing him again.
I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem.
Last night I lay in bed loooking up at the stars and I thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?!"
My Reality Check bounced.
On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.
I don't suffer from stress. I'm a carrier.
You're slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.
Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.
Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience

Monday, August 20, 2007

What type of Office Moron are you?

Give me what's rightfully mine! Or I'll hit you with this brick.
Which Office Moron Are You?
Rum and Monkey: jamming your photocopier one tray at a time.

What is a Moron??

Moron was originally a scientific term, coined by psychologist Henry H. Goddard from the Greek word moros meaning "dull" (as opposed to sharp) and used to describe a person with a mental age between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale. +

It was also once applied to people with an IQ of 51-70 and was a step up from "imbecile" (IQ of 26-50) and two steps up from "idiot" (IQ of 0-25).

The word moron, along with "retarded" and "feeble-minded" (among others), was once considered a valid descriptor in the psychological community, though these words have all now passed into common slang use, exclusively in a detrimental context.