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Stupid ideas our companies came up with
Old 06-03-2010, 09:23 PM   #1
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Stupid ideas our companies came up with

Since we have derailed the post era goals thread with complaints about meetings ,etc. . I thought I would start this thread ,

I have already mentioned in another thread " Spirit of Ideas " which was the number one stupid idea . The second one was "The Needle stick committee " of which I was a member for years . Most of the members were not near any needles but got to discuss safety uses of needles forever . On a scale of boring it was a 10 ( need to keep drinking caffeine & thinking of other things )
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IT Help Desk that has no "Help" phone number
Old 06-03-2010, 09:33 PM   #2
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IT Help Desk that has no "Help" phone number

Our Megacorp came up with the idea to save money by getting rid of all the IT Helpdesk call numbers and actually locking away help desk personnel at large sites behind coded entry doors.

If a user had a computer problem he had to enter a ticket into an on-line system and wait for a response either by e-mail or, if you were really lucky, by an IT person actually calling you.

If your problem was such that your computer or its connection to the network was down then you had to get someone to enter a ticket on your behalf.

Amazingly enough this system remained in place for almost 7 years before traditional help desks were re-established.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:49 PM   #3
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Forgot the details, but I remember regarding my Megacorp's IT's Helpdesk to the Helpless Desk.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:01 PM   #4
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Once we had a promotional idea regarding throwing turkeys out of a helicopter....eh heh in Cincinati...

But seriously....

I was given the task as AP mgr to write up a Schedule of Authorization that would detail who could sign for various expenses. Certain amounts and different types of expenses had to be signed off by either the CEO, VPs, 3rd, 2nd and 1st line managers, etc. It was a tedious task, but finally I prevailed.

...and you wonder who had to sign off on my schedule? The CEO, VPs, 3rd, 2nd and 1st line managers. They gave me permission to give them permission to give me permission to audit them.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:08 PM   #5
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Once we had a promotional idea regarding throwing turkeys out of a helicopter....eh heh in Cincinati...
Great idea, we had loads of turkeys that deserved being thrown out of a helicopter
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:25 PM   #6
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Anonymous evaluations. Everyone could evaluate anyone in the company - from janitor to CEO - anonymously! It was supposed to allow more candid evaluations...

Well, it turned into a big bash fest. People used the opportunity to settle scores, take pot shots at people and spread false rumors about their foes. It was ugly.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:27 PM   #7
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Once we had a promotional idea regarding throwing turkeys out of a helicopter....eh heh in Cincinati...
Did you have "offices" defined by masking tape on the floor?
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:31 PM   #8
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Did you have "offices" defined by masking tape on the floor?
We changed our mind when we realized this....




Am I the only one that watched this show?
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:33 PM   #9
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We changed our mind when we realized this....




Am I the only one that watched this show?
I knew you weren't really a blonde.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:29 PM   #10
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I was assigned to help set up a planning department. We planned how to plan.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:03 AM   #11
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My Dilbert worthy dump move was from my first job out of college (an Intel competitor). The Division I was in was small and money losing and was in a separate building. In order to make the division profitable he had has double and some case triple up in offices. Leaving roughly 2/3 of the building empty. He then convinced corporate not to allocate rent for the 2/3 of building. Needless to say the empty space was never used by anybody for anything.

This and few other accounting tricks like canceling computer purchases was enough to make the division profitable for a quarter. This got the manager ticket punched (turn around division CHECK) he got promoted. Of course the disruption and equipment delays killed the already struggling division.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:30 AM   #12
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Navy "Total Quality Leadership".

No, you don't want to know more about that.

Second prize goes to the Navy issuing government travel cards to sailors & officers, but then not processing their travel claims for longer than the due date on the credit cards. This also does not work well when the guy on travel stays overnight at a hotel room before boarding a submarine for a 60-day mission.

At another point people were expected to pay for their travel out of their own pocket and then wait for their accounts to be credited. Later we were forbidden to use our personal credit cards for travel ("No, you can't have those airline miles or Marriott rewards! They belong to the U.S. govt!!"). People quickly stopped using the "voluntary" system, only to be required to attend mandatory quarterly lectures on how (not) to use their govt travel cards.

We'll just draw the veil of embarrassment silence about the case of the retiring torpedoman who "forgot" to turn in his govt travel card when he started terminal leave, and then charged thousands of dollars of travel expenses enroute his ultimate retirement duty station. That must've led to an interesting day at the DoD retirement pay recoupment office. Thank goodness he was in my department so I wasn't tapped to do the legal investigation.

In the late 1990s, a friend of mine at BofA told me that at one point the Navy was over $60M delinquent in credit card charges & fees. Knowing what I know today about BofA, I can easily believe it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
Once we had a promotional idea regarding throwing turkeys out of a helicopter....eh heh in Cincinati...
But seriously....
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
Am I the only one that watched this show?
I've seen that episode! It's based upon actual (perhaps apocryphal) events carried out by disk jockey Ron Jacobs at a California radio station, as retold by local legendary DJ Tom Moffatt in his book "The Showman of the Pacific":
http://www.amazon.com/Showman-Pacifi...der_0975374079
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
Anonymous evaluations. Everyone could evaluate anyone in the company - from janitor to CEO - anonymously! It was supposed to allow more candid evaluations...

Well, it turned into a big bash fest. People used the opportunity to settle scores, take pot shots at people and spread false rumors about their foes. It was ugly.
Yeah, those anonymous deals can get ugly. In 1996 we set up an anonymous forum available to all 14,000 employees as a component of the run out of an agency-wide Intranet. The Chief of Staff would post a new topic weekly and anyone could opine. It actually worked well for a few months - no flames, constructive discussions. Then someone asked about a new IT system that was spiraling toward failure and POing the users. Things went south fast - flames, rants, personal attacks, a couple of people were outed for having affairs and sexual harassment. The forum was "temporarily" suspended while we evaluated how to control the problems and, of course, never returned.

I guess I wouldn't call this a stupid idea -- I actually liked the forum before it blew up. Just a stupid miscalculation about human nature.
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:27 AM   #14
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How about the famous "Who moved my cheese " days ? All the employees had to watch a video presentation on it including the cleaning people who did not speak english .
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:29 AM   #15
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We changed our mind when we realized this....




Am I the only one that watched this show?
I loved WKRP
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:36 AM   #16
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The Air Force used to have an appraisal system for their personnel that had a scale from 1 to 9 for performance. They discovered that everyone was "firewalled" in the 8 or 9 area and if a person was rated below 7 it had a serious impact on their career. Someone came up with the idea to change the system to a rating of 1 to 5 and there were many briefings on the proper way to use the new system. logically most people should have received a 3 or 4 rating with a 5 reserved for the very best. It wasn't too long until less than a 4 became a career problem.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:12 AM   #17
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The Air Force used to have an appraisal system for their personnel that had a scale from 1 to 9 for performance. They discovered that everyone was "firewalled" in the 8 or 9 area and if a person was rated below 7 it had a serious impact on their career. Someone came up with the idea to change the system to a rating of 1 to 5 and there were many briefings on the proper way to use the new system. logically most people should have received a 3 or 4 rating with a 5 reserved for the very best. It wasn't too long until less than a 4 became a career problem.
Almost all appraisal systems are a disaster. I developed a couple of them in my career. I was initially a true believer and eventually became a committed foe. W. Edwards Deming (TQM guru for those who remember that fun exercise) described performance appraisal as one of the cardinal sins of management.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:10 PM   #18
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Second prize goes to the Navy issuing government travel cards to sailors & officers, but then not processing their travel claims for longer than the due date on the credit cards. This also does not work well when the guy on travel stays overnight at a hotel room before boarding a submarine for a 60-day mission.

At another point people were expected to pay for their travel out of their own pocket and then wait for their accounts to be credited. Later we were forbidden to use our personal credit cards for travel ("No, you can't have those airline miles or Marriott rewards! They belong to the U.S. govt!!"). People quickly stopped using the "voluntary" system, only to be required to attend mandatory quarterly lectures on how (not) to use their govt travel cards.

In the late 1990s, a friend of mine at BofA told me that at one point the Navy was over $60M delinquent in credit card charges & fees. Knowing what I know today about BofA, I can easily believe it.
Still an issue - was the bane of my existence as a sqdn cdr in the Reserves - we had issues constantly. I had 2-3-4 stripers with $1K+ hotel bills for their tours and the travel voucher processing was 60+ days behind. The Air Force decided to centralize the processing and move it to some place like South Dakota - they tried to incentivize the existing claims processors to move to SD, but no go. It was a HUGE mess for many months. We ended up spending hours QC'ing our travel vouchers - and they still got kicked back due to ignorance on the part of the claims personnel. 2-3 and 4 star generals got involved! The centralization was supposed to save money - I wonder how much money they wasted on the other end with credit card bills and fees and wasted Reservist time. It was one thing for the officers to pay their bill and then get reimbursed, but some of my enlisted airman - a hardship for sure.

Other stupid stuff - umm, civilian job with the whole Sarbanes-Oxley and "Compliance" - oh my gosh, the amount of money wasted and the processing time added to do anything and this company was a non-profit, so they didn't have to adhere to SO. I left before it got too bad, but heard a story where the compliance staff came in and did a 'training' session which basically told my former division they would have to spend 2-3x as much time processing their their job tasks. The employees weren't happy about that and let the 'facilitators' know it. One of the 'facilitators' then filed a compliance grievance against one of the division staff - uhh, if you are the bearer of bad news, you need to have thick skin!!!! Oh, and the millions spent to build a new division/department of Compliance.....add that to another reason why healthcare insurance increase.....

Right now with my consulting business, I get to choose who I work with :-) And any improvement programs I wish to engage in (with my staff of one - ME!) are up to me. Usually the improvement I engage in is some new athletic activity, a new knitting pattern or book to read or new place to travel to :-)
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:38 PM   #19
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How about the famous "Who moved my cheese " days ? All the employees had to watch a video presentation on it including the cleaning people who did not speak english .
During a mass layoff at a dot bomb, the CEO gave everyone the "Who Moved My Cheese" book. It was their severance.
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:05 PM   #20
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I've mentioned this before, but at MegaMotors they got the great idea that a mandatory 10% must get unsatisfactory ratings and no more than 10% could get top ratings. I don't have to tell you that the sacrificial lambs in the unsatisfactory pile were overwhelmingly over 55 years old. Two unsatisfactory ratings in a row meant termination or demotion and one unsatisfactory rating meant no raises or profit sharing and w*rking to an "improvement" plan.

It was abandoned after one year, but not before it launched a bunch of lawsuits. For a manager that w*rked diligently to maintain a staff of top performers, it forced one to really screw over a couple of people that clearly were not unsatisfactory and also inadequately reward others that would have normally have gotten a top rating, totally killing any loyalty or sense of opportunity. On top of all this it demoralized the whole company and spread an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Other than that it was a great idea.
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