Ranking.. Even here.. LO17373

Scott Simmerman (SquareWheels@compuserve.com)
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 12:04:43 -0500

Replying to LO17349 --

John Constantine, in LO17349, said:

>In shorthand, managers don't know what they are doing, only that they are
> a) what they are told, or
> b) what they are prompted to do from previous experience.

And it really rings true with me. Along with these:

"Put a good person in a bad system and the bad system wins, no contest."

"It's relatively simple. If we're not getting more, better faster than
they are getting more, better faster, than we're getting less better
or more worse."
Tom Peters

"How long can we go mean and lean before we become gaunt and dead."

"Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex intelligent
behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple stupid
Dee Hock

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world."
adapted from John Le Carre

After a recent "purchasing experience" with the local Best Buy and having
sent a 3-page detailed letter to the President of the company, I received
an email response a month later from a clerk in "consumer affairs." I
sent her the entire message, including all the information about how the
store ignored my multiple requests to inter-store the camcorder I had paid
for 6 weeks before, not followed up with promised updates (store manager),

She responded to me a day later saying that she had contacted (the same)
store about how to resolve the problem -- like THAT was going to make a
difference. She said that "store policy" did not allow for certain
things. I suggested that "store policy" was the most significant cause of
the problem and that it could not be resolved by the same thinking that
caused it in the first place."

I agree with what John has said. But I will also add that HOW an
organization calculates its "performance figures" is also an important
determiner of management behavior. Should "unresolved customer
complaints" be important, some behaviors would change.

In the email to "Dawn," I also conveniently included Novell's expected
response times to create a somewhat apparent "performance gap." Best Buy
would apparently measure their response time in weeks or months as opposed
to Novell's hourly measures.

My letters to their President were done to:

1) Correct what I feel was an injustice (that has still not been resolved)

2) To provide the most senior person with a detailed report of a
customer's shopping experience, with sufficient information for corrective

(Should anyone want the detailed version of this report, I would be most
pleased to send a copy. The webpage will eventually get the entire thing,
once things are resolved.)

But our whole discussion of systems, measures, appraisals and the like are
all gummed up in many organizations like Best Buy. The long-term goal
should be learning and improvement. But often we simply engage in useless
information transfer, where little gets resolved or changed at great
long-term cost to people, organizations, and reputations.

So, apologies to some, because this note is part of my resolution
conversation with Best Buy -- maybe when they can compare themselves to
outside organizations can they begin to see their performance levels as a
long-term problem for them.

It is also part of an effort to contribute to the list with a real
situation. And it makes me feel better to occasionally vent on a
perceived injustice and, as Dee Hock said, "Complex rules and regulations
giving rise to simple stupid behaviors."

For the Fun of It!

Scott J. Simmerman SquareWheels@compuserve.com Performance Management Company -- We support consultants and trainers worldwide with products like -- -- The Search for the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine -- <http://www.Squarewheels.com>

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