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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Problems and solutions, or, venting on Wednesday morning (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

George Ledo
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I've been noticing for years that some people, when confronted with a problem, seem to love to spend time talking about the problem, but don't appear to like talking about the solution. I've seen this behavior at countless meetings and one-on-ones, as well as at informal conversations. It's not the same as venting (which is what I'm doing now) -- it's more like "this is a problem, and I want to take up your time listening to every little thing I see as an issue."

I guess it wouldn't bother me as much as it does, except that very often it's darn near impossible to break in and start talking about a solution. In a number of cases, it seemed like the talker wasn't happy about the idea of looking for a solution, like he or she just wanted to keep talking about the problem.

When I was in school, like most of us, I had to take home a bunch of "problems" every day -- math, science, grammar, whatever -- and come back the next day with "solutions." When I was in field artillery, the process of working out the direction, elevation, and charge to hit a given target was referred to as "finding a solution." Even in design, we talk about "design problems" and "design solutions." So, to me, a "problem" is just something that calls for a "solution." But I guess not everyone sees it that way.

At the same time, I've noticed since I was a kid that some people seem to consider a problem as a situation that can have no solution. It's just the way it is, and it's always someone else's fault. So talking about a solution is pointless. I'm guessing divorce lawyers love this one.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
ClintonMagus
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My corporation has become like that. We used to be able to solve problems on our own and proceed to the next issue, but now we are required to present possible solutions, have them all shot down, and be told to start over. Now we don't even present ideas.

I would rather try something and have it only be marginally successful than to try nothing at all until you feel certain it will be 100 percent correct.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
Michael Baker
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I'm an old fart who loves to gripe about the weather. Possible solutions are either wait until it changes, or shut up and get over it.

Everything else in my life is centered around finding solutions to problem... many of which are not mine. I guess that's a problem I have. Smile
~michael baker
The Magic Company
MagicSanta
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George you know why. Most corporations follow the same patterns. You likely have SPC or at least TQM and the dreamers Six Sigma. ISO comes in but isn't really an issue. Some managers completely buy into ant 'new' idea even if it is lofical like continiuos improvement.

My old company had an issue involving distribution out Asia via Sfo ato US and Canadian customers. I created the distribution system used by my company and some other semiconductor companies, if anyone could fix something it was me. I was called by the pc mgr who told me what was up and that she needed me at the meeting. Isent an email, problem solved, went up to the meetin where I explained what was up and that I took care of it. The director had a fit because I didn't collect data or have a team etc! I ignored them and carried on but, dang it, the wanted data and teams cuz they were told to.

People today are scared to own their job,it is safer in a pack. I was a good manager because I made decisions when the needed to be made, usually was right, and established procedures andd changed then when needed ala ISO. Now those traits seem to be bad.
MagicSanta
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Hey, here is a fun one. In the fab the tech was breaking x number of wafers a month to a loss of $120k a month. The supv, an idiot, did an SPC TQM project for a six months to track the damage and then six months after implimenting the change in handling the wafers thus saving the damage.

Problem; the tech had to carry wafers across the room with tweezers and kept dropping them

Resolution; move the wafers on a tray

I was the only one who called the supv that for two years we lost over $2 million because they wanted to measure the loss rather than doing what the engineer said and use a tray. I thought the supv she should have been fired for it rather than saving they saved S120K.
ClintonMagus
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This sounds made up, but I promise you, it isn't. On a conference call yesterday, one person compained that there was a beat-up tricycle that had been thrown over the fence into the yard of one of our facilities two weeks ago. For fifteen minutes, one of my counterparts argued with another department's director about how it hadn't been removed because it was outside the job description of the union contractors who were cleaning up following a minor construction project. Following a fifteen-minute discussion, I asked him, "Why can't you pick it up yourself so we can move on with this call?!?!?!"

Now THERE'S a creative solution!
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
George Ledo
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Yep, it's sad but common sense has gone out of the equation at a lot of businesses. TQM yadda yadda yadda. But man, the consultants and writers are sure making a bundle!

It would certainly appear that a lot of employees (and managers) nowadays are afraid to make decisions because they're afraid to be wrong.

It's so funny... right now I'm reading "The Supreme Commander" by Stephen Ambrose, which is about Eisenhower's years in North Africa and Europe during WWII. Those commanders had to make so many decisions, huge decisions, on which the lives of not only the Allies but Europe and the free world ultimately depended, and they often had to make them on incomplete information. Sure they had people researching the weather, and they had spies, and so on and on, but still they had to do the best they could and move forward. The exact timing of the Normandy invasion was a case in point.

I keep thinking that if those guys had to deal with today's crap, we'd still be sitting in England waiting for the perfect weather to cross the Channel.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
MagicSanta
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Clinton, if that was a union job and touched the trike you would have heard it. I have seen stuff like that and you wonder how these people got hired. I tried being an ISO TQM. Consultant but around here they have no idea what an ISO is.

This was 20 years ago and I saw a teamster write up from UPS and it said:

"Driver found a box leaking and upon opening the carton a human heas was found. After playing with the head for several minutes tossing the head a steward filed a complaint that dock workers did not have to handle body parts"

They PLAYED with it! It turned out that the head was legal and going to a lab in San Francisco. Thank goodness playing with heads is in the contract.
ClintonMagus
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I was once in New York City with a high school and college all-star symphonic band. The highlight of our trip was to be a concert at Rockefeller Center, but we didn't get to play because the "chair setter-uppers union" was on strike. We weren't permitted to set the chairs up ourselves.

None of this has anything to do with your original question...
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
MagicSanta
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At a trade show in Chicago a marketing guy plugged his lap top in and a union electrician ran over having a fit so our guy unplugged it and they threatened to throw us out for the second violation. We had to fill out a request to plug in yhe cor and got charged $150.

People are afraid to make a mistake ans those cowards just exist.bad employees are kept because managers don't want to show they hired the wrong guy. It happens, heck our QA manager, who did a great job, started as a janitor. One of my clerks during a reception concealed her education so she could get a job for me. I got her into marketing and last I heard she was a sales manager. Sometimes you hit gold, other times mud and you get rid of the mud. Remember the peter principle.
Michael Baker
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Labor racketeering in Chicago is well-known. I'm guessing your trade show was at McCormick Place?
~michael baker
The Magic Company
MagicSanta
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Sounds right.
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2012-08-08 23:19, MagicSanta wrote:
bad employees are kept because managers don't want to show they hired the wrong guy.

I do believe I'm seeing this more and more by the day.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
MagicSanta
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I was going to fire a kid and my manager did it. Turned out to be the CEOs kid, very common last name and no one out the English father together withh this train wreck of a kid. The manager mysteriously got laid off and the ceo thanked me for at least trying to get the kid in line. If we knew who his dad was the manager would have kept him, I still would have let him go. Kid was nuts.
Jonathan Townsend
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There's a book that describes some of this topic Games People Play.
Ain't it Awful that some people find that kind of attention useful?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
MagicSanta
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You talking about the book from the 70s?
Dreadnought
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Quote:
This sounds made up, but I promise you, it isn't. On a conference call yesterday, one person compained that there was a beat-up tricycle that had been thrown over the fence into the yard of one of our facilities two weeks ago. For fifteen minutes, one of my counterparts argued with another department's director about how it hadn't been removed because it was outside the job description of the union contractors who were cleaning up following a minor construction project. Following a fifteen-minute discussion, I asked him, "Why can't you pick it up yourself so we can move on with this call?!?!?!"

Now THERE'S a creative solution!


In the Army, as I am sure it is the same in all the branches, there is a thing called an implied task. When you see something that needs to be done, whether it is your job or not, you do it, be that picking up a cigarette butt in the quad or moving a platoon to weak spot in a defensive position.

Quote:
Yep, it's sad but common sense has gone out of the equation at a lot of businesses. TQM yadda yadda yadda. But man, the consultants and writers are sure making a bundle!

It would certainly appear that a lot of employees (and managers) nowadays are afraid to make decisions because they're afraid to be wrong.

It's so funny... right now I'm reading "The Supreme Commander" by Stephen Ambrose, which is about Eisenhower's years in North Africa and Europe during WWII. Those commanders had to make so many decisions, huge decisions, on which the lives of not only the Allies but Europe and the free world ultimately depended, and they often had to make them on incomplete information. Sure they had people researching the weather, and they had spies, and so on and on, but still they had to do the best they could and move forward. The exact timing of the Normandy invasion was a case in point.

I keep thinking that if those guys had to deal with today's crap, we'd still be sitting in England waiting for the perfect weather to cross the Channel.


I was having a discussion with a friend the other day. I do the background checks and interviews for his company. I told him, "I would hire a man with no college who was a military veteran, an nco and graduate of a military leadership course over a person with a PhD in Business Management from Harvard School of Business." He asked why. I told him, "Because the leadership training is much better, they are taught to improvise, adapt, overcome and survive and to employ people to the best of their ability according to the individual's strengths and weaknesses in conjunction with the needs of the unit and the task at hand. Your business school graduate is not trained that way." I also told him, "If you would hire a person who was a military logistics officer, especially Navy or Air Force, your over seas shipping problems would cease."

Peace and Godspeed.
Peace

"Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum..."

Scott

Would you do anything for the person you love?
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2012-08-10 01:11, Dreadnought wrote:
I was having a discussion with a friend the other day. I do the background checks and interviews for his company. I told him, "I would hire a man with no college who was a military veteran, an nco and graduate of a military leadership course over a person with a PhD in Business Management from Harvard School of Business."

I think that's the key right there - the difference between management and leadership. Management courses don't teach leadership; they tend to focus on theory and practices and charts and numbers and such, but in the long run the people who get the job done are interchangeable. Taking personal ownership of the job doesn't seem to be part of the process. I've been trying to get people for years to think about those "implied tasks" you mentioned, but most of the time it's like getting a cat to put its toys away: it just doesn't sink in.

Interestingly enough, the Harvard Business Review put out a publication last year titled "Leadership Lessons from the Military." I meant to buy it back then and then forgot all about it.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
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Quote:
On 2012-08-09 23:36, MagicSanta wrote:
You talking about the book from the 70s?


Yup, have you read it? Been in paperback, in libraries... for a while now.

Transational analysis, it's all about what's in it for you (and them).
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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