Credibility LO14726
Fri, 22 Aug 97 14:11:03 -0700

Replying to LO14692 --

Another interesting comment from Peter.


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Subject: Credibility thoughts free associating
Author: PETER NAUS at HP-Australia,om1
Date: 8/21/97 2:14 AM

Hi Joe,

I think these thoughts are way off the subject - but I thought you
might be able to offer a way to understand something which puzzles me.
I think I know how to define the problem, but it's one of those darn
things that dances away at the last minute...

I really (REALLY) liked Lise's comment in the last jotting about the
disciplines of credibility. Normally, I aver the "six steps to useful
management..." or "How to make Sun Tzu work for you - 5 easy lessons.."
etc. ad infinitum. But these comments by Lise made me think about the
actual interaction between folks.

I mean, (bear with me here :) it takes two to tango, right? So maybe
we have to stop seeing a relationship's aspects (credibility,
trustworthiness, respect, need, and so on) as two-dimensional "snapshots".
Then we base our future actions on our understanding of the context right
THEN. This results in pinball management - get an idea : fixate, get
information from somewhere else : panic, get back to the original stimulus
- whoa! it's changed : reverse course, get Performance Evaluation, jump
for joy.....

To put it another way... In aeronautical terms, where the visual cue
to a pilot during landing approach is slavishly followed by the pilot,
rather than just using it as a guide for skills and feeling and
intuition, it's called "following the meatball". The resultant
flightpath looks a lot like a self-correcting error-feedback loop.
(I've only really flown a plane once, but "FA/18 Hornet 3.0" is a
_damn_ good substitute!). The trouble is, it's deadly. If you can't
judge in advance which way the ball bounces, you end up looking like a
git. (I see this a LOT in HP - it's a little frightening, when these
guys do my Performance Evaluation!!!)

Dave hit it on the head when he mentioned the improvement focus -
what the customer gets for free, the customer then demands for free
(demands is a strong word, but it'll do 8). So that ties in with
continual improvement, and it becomes a dynamic thing - the customer
pulls, and/or the vendor pushes, and when they get it right - wow!

So (free associating a bit here, sorry to drag it out like this :) the
relationship becomes subject to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle :
We can know a particle's (relationship's) position (current state), or
we can know a particle's velocity (direction and magnitude of change in
the relationship), but not both; and the act of measurement itself
modifies the state of the system (relationship - it ties back, I
think). We can also see where we've been, but that's not so useful in a
real relationship, I think, even though it may be used often.

So we really want to know how well we are doing something, and we ask
the customer to fill in a quick survey. The customer agrees. We get a
snapshot of the relationship. But then we want to know the direction,
or heading - up (we're doing good) or down (all customers are bastards
:) - and so we ask the customer again, in a few months. And again, a
few months later. And again - but, wait a minute! We don't have a
customer/vendor relationship any more - the customer is so peeved, they
buy their Deluxe Widgets elsewhere.

One alternative to encourage feedback is to offer a (small) definite
reward, or a chance to win a product (which we probably no longer make
- but you knew I was a curmudgeon, didn't you?). So how does the reward
affect the outcome? Offer me a (old model) 95LX and I'll tear the
survey into little bits and set fire to them; offer me a (brand new)
320LX and I'll fly to your door and tell you what - tell you what?
What your estimation is? Or what you think I want to hear? And somehow,
the centre of gravity of the relationship has moved, and we're not
really sure why - so we'll need to survey the customer.....

I know this is a bit ranting, but can you see what I'm trying to get
at? If you can, please let me know. I haven't got a clue. My brain

I don't know if you've covered such a topic before, so I hope this is
thought-provoking in a way you like to have your thoughts provoked.

Thanks for the shoulder. I'm off now.


PC (puzzled & conflicted) Pete


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