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Old 04-29-2020, 04:13 PM   #81
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The common themes in this topic point out that there is no magic to management. Many jump on the trend du jour because you can't get blamed when you try the thing that McKinsey and the other top consultants are doing and it doesn't work out. Certainly can't be your fault! The trick is to develop a 2-year plan - nothing too short, because people will still remember the rosy promises that accompanied the rollout of the plan. But with a 2-year plan, the loss of interest will be gradual enough that people won't hardly notice the pieces falling away over time. In most cases the parent company will have launched something that supersedes the 2-year program anyway (or the same management did it on their own) and you get a free pass for setting it aside.

You tell upper management it's a 2-year program, and you hit it hard at the start to make an impression - the "roll out phase". Then a period of time for people to get acclimated - the "ramp-up phase". Then a period of time where you are allegedly measuring the wonderful impact - the "evaluation phase". Then a period of time where you are acting on the evaluations - the "correction phase". Then you let things fade away because you have a new 2-year program. As long as upper management sees what looks like positive actions going on, it's a win.

The poor front line managers get blamed if it doesn't work, and zero credit if it does.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:58 PM   #82
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Like all big corporations, we had the usual "flavor of the month" motivational BS sayings, and more than our share of programs based on books written by some expert or some conference attended by our management.

It always amazed me the lack of depth of character of the people who bought these ideas and programs hook, line and sinker.
The two megacorps I spent time with both loved these kinds of things.

My "favorite" was some nonsense that our CEO bought into that boiled down to a series of four inspirational slogans that were supposed to guide us, and which we were encouraged to work into our conversations and correspondence.

Each employee was given a laminated card with the slogans that we were to keep with us at all times. Then, we had a mandatory training session on the philosophy behind the slogans. At the training, we all received a copy of the book it was all based on and a fancy binder with the session's training materials (I can only imagine what all this cost the company).

As we walked out of the training session, I threw my book and binder in a trash bin.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:08 PM   #83
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At one small (very small) firm I worked for the Pointy Haired Boss would put motivational phrases in his Windows screensaver, things like "Motivation, creativity, thoroughness and desire = Quality!" Bleh.
I had one of those Demotivational posters in my office. It said something like "hard work never killed anyone, but why take the chance?"

I got some grief from my management, but the CIO came to see me for something and she loved it. I promptly ordered one for her and she put it up in her office.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:12 PM   #84
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As we walked out of the training session, I threw my book and binder in a trash bin.
I hated it too, but you know the routine...

But, really, what is upper mgmt. to do? They are too removed from what the company really does.

Other than acquisitions, and financial deals, what can they do? That's why they do this stupidity, and that is why an entire industry is now built surrounding it.

Be at a social gathering of a top USA company's board of directors get together, not the meeting, it's a boy's club. Boys, and now some women, who are the same as the boys..., doing other boys and girls big favors, and laughing about it. Don't think the huge corp. tax cut will hit anywhere below.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:17 PM   #85
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You haven't lived unless you worked for a company that spent the better part of a decade trying to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. No need to drink the KoolAid, it was supplied via an IV.
My megacorp was one of the first winners. A couple of years later, the senior exec of our division decided he wanted to do it again so we could be the first company to win it twice.

What a nightmare. It became such an obsession that the effort actually interfered with business operations. Luckily, sanity finally prevailed and we dropped out.
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Old 04-30-2020, 05:52 AM   #86
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An old memory from about 1990 just came to me. I was a contractor, and the megacorp employee I worked with closely purchased a copy of Adobe something or other. It came with a cool poster, where a T-Square was bent in 45 degrees. The large lettering proclaimed "Bending the Rules." His supervisor, a genuine corporate sycophant, took a look at that, and strongly suggested he take it down.
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Old 05-02-2020, 08:08 PM   #87
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I had one of those Demotivational posters in my office. It said something like "hard work never killed anyone, but why take the chance?"

I got some grief from my management, but the CIO came to see me for something and she loved it. I promptly ordered one for her and she put it up in her office.


Hard work pays off over time but procrastination pays off right now! I loved those posters
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Old 05-02-2020, 10:54 PM   #88
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Apparently there is a saying posted at my old workplace, with my name under it.

"I've been to this rodeo before, and I don't see the need for engineering to put our head on the chopping block and let management take a free swing!"
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Old 05-04-2020, 01:19 PM   #89
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OMG!! I think that I am having flashbacks!! I probably went through most of these philosophies over 40 + years at various mega corps.

Two that I haven't seen mentioned are :

- Pride Charts which were little plexiglass holders that you put on your desk so that you could publicly display your objectives

- "Organizational Effectiveness" which was a new-ageish approach that used enneagrams (look it up) and other oddball models to describe the work environment. One time I remember sitting in a big hall with the OE gurus at the front with their eyes closed in what I assumed was deep thought. Later, I found out that they were sleeping since they had spent the previous night out on the town drinking...
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Old 05-04-2020, 03:10 PM   #90
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An old employer had something they called "The Step Ladder of Accountability. Most of us worker bees referred to ot as "The Hamster Wheel of Accountability"
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Old 05-04-2020, 04:46 PM   #91
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• the first mega-corp I worked for implemented a profit-sharing plan. Nice idea, except it was so complicated that it had zero motivational value for then-worker-bees like me. The extra bonuses were nice - when they happened - but had no clear relationship to what folks were actually doing.

• the elephant in the room not yet mentioned in this thread: the conversion from "spend the best hours of every day and the best years of your life working for the company, and the company will take care of you in your old age" to "you're on your own, buster. Here's a 401k with contribution matching - good luck!" This conversion actually occurred during my professional career. Do today's young 'uns even know what the workplace used to be like?
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:00 PM   #92
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• the first mega-corp I worked for implemented a profit-sharing plan. Nice idea, except it was so complicated that it had zero motivational value for then-worker-bees like me. The extra bonuses were nice - when they happened - but had no clear relationship to what folks were actually doing.
FWIW, the one thing my MC did right was let small divisions have their own plan. We had a "Gain Sharing Plan". There was a formula based on profits and resources. It was transparent at the macro level (achieve x, y gets distributed). We also had a "forced ranking session" that ranked all employees and bracketed what they would get for a bonus, as a percent of salary.

Sounds ripe for abuse, right?

It actually worked pretty well. Everyone got a "fair" percentage. For the most part, we knew the average would be xx%, so you could gauge how you were ranked from that.

For many years, it WAS a huge motivator to increase the bottom line, and everyone could participate.

I participated in our department ranking sessions, and for the most part found them as fair as could be expected.

In the end, the last MC (4 times removed from the first), ended the plan the year I left. In fairness to them, they gave everyone a raise amounting to about 75% of the average of the prior 3 years bonuses.
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:12 PM   #93
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This is a very consoling thread. Sometimes you think you are alone in seeing all this B.S. because everyone but you seems sold on it. But the emperor has no clothes. By the way, The Emperor Has No Clothes is worth rereading as a parable for all ages on the consequences of group brainwashing.
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:33 PM   #94
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The elephant in the room not yet mentioned in this thread: the conversion from "spend the best hours of every day and the best years of your life working for the company, and the company will take care of you in your old age" to "you're on your own, buster. Here's a 401k with contribution matching - good luck!" This conversion actually occurred during my professional career. Do today's young 'uns even know what the workplace used to be like?
So true. I was true-blue for 35 yrs until modern times. At the end, mega-corp didn't care about me, and I loathed them. Many of us old-timers did everything we could to make the company successful in the days where it seemed to matter. We were rewarded. We were true-blue. Obviously, not the case now.

So sad.

Luckily, I made it out.
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:36 PM   #95
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I read this whole string and threw up in my mouth a little. Why any organization thinks it can call itself an “At-Will Employer” right in the employee handbook and think intelligent people will ever trust management is beyond me. They push us through Culture Building and various other fads thinking they can overcome the fact that they insist on holding all the cards. No union, no contracts, no pension, employment at-will. Now they are about to start slicing and dicing staff with abandon, having never set aside a nickel in reserves, and they probably still think they’ve built a good “culture.”
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:07 AM   #96
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• the first mega-corp I worked for implemented a profit-sharing plan. Nice idea, except it was so complicated that it had zero motivational value for then-worker-bees like me. The extra bonuses were nice - when they happened - but had no clear relationship to what folks were actually doing.
Reminds me of mine. Board of Directors approves a dollar amount toward annual bonuses. Executives take what they want, and the rest goes down to upper management. They take what they want and the rest goes down to the next level, and so on until there are a few pennies left for the workers. On a good year.

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• the elephant in the room not yet mentioned in this thread: the conversion from "spend the best hours of every day and the best years of your life working for the company, and the company will take care of you in your old age" to "you're on your own, buster. Here's a 401k with contribution matching - good luck!" This conversion actually occurred during my professional career. Do today's young 'uns even know what the workplace used to be like?
The conversion happened during my career, as well. I was in an industry, and worked for a company, which sincerely tried to balance their responsibilities toward their customers, stockholders and employees. Now short-term stockholder value is the only thing that matters. Screw the employees every chance they get. No long-term thinking allowed.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:12 AM   #97
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Reminds me of mine. Board of Directors approves a dollar amount toward annual bonuses. Executives take what they want, and the rest goes down to upper management. They take what they want and the rest goes down to the next level, and so on until there are a few pennies left for the workers. On a good year.



The conversion happened during my career, as well. I was in an industry, and worked for a company, which sincerely tried to balance their responsibilities toward their customers, stockholders and employees. Now short-term stockholder value is the only thing that matters. Screw the employees every chance they get. No long-term thinking allowed.
Similar to my company which, at one time, touted that we had 4 key stakeholders that we had to satisfy: customers, employees, community and shareholders. By the time I left, it was down to one, the shareholders, which one could also view as a proxy for senior leadership whose compensation was tied to share price.
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Old 07-15-2020, 05:14 AM   #98
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We had many of the same. 6 Sigma was the longest lasting. After all the required to keep your job training, in the first year, I asked the instructor to explain how any of this was any different from doing the exact same thing than any competent engineer should do any way? He put it quite simply. A successful implemented project had a small percentage paid to you as a bonus. OK. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the audacious numbers we came up with that the company supposedly saved thanks to 6 Sigma. (Well, maybe this group would!). I remember we each got about $100 for one we did. And a nice jacket for another. All for simply exaggerating what we did, doing exactly the same thing we would have done anyway, but with imaginary savings thrown in. After 2 years, no more direct paybacks. After that, it became a percentage line item on our bonus calculation. It took 10 years or so for it to go away from being a bonus goal.

The saddest & most ironic part is that ALL the Black Belts that basically never did any actual work (once becoming a Black Belt) were either laid off or had to take serious demotions to stay employed. No one wanted them.

I will say, that there was one 6 Sigma outcome that yielded a direct benefit for us. It was a way to take obvious cost wasters, that existed as part of personal “empires” and have a legitimate, no backlash way to eliminate them. Those were low hanging fruit in the early days. The best one was the company had a fleet of POS company cars we took to go to the plants all the time. Nothing like a 5 hour drive each way, in a smelly POS, BOTL car with 100k miles on it to arrive exhausted in a foul mood. 6 Sigma dismantled the Transportation Director’s empire when that project showed that renting cars delivered by Enterprise would save money. He was gone, and we all drove new cars to the plants after that.
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Old 07-15-2020, 05:21 AM   #99
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That's because a good portion of any successful career involves acting ability. We all should take drama courses in college.

[QUOTE=Marita40;2424119]This is a very consoling thread. Sometimes you think you are alone in seeing all this B.S. because everyone but you seems sold on it. OTE]
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Old 07-15-2020, 05:48 AM   #100
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In our small consulting company, we didn't have any programs like Sigma whatever. We just sold work, completed projects, thrilled clients, and at the end of the year, split the big bonus pot!
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