Posts Tagged ‘business’

Workable Management Principles

28 July 2019

What would happen if we tried to apply workable management principles (developed by L. Ron Hubbard for the Church) to business, government or our personal lives?

I have been studying a series of courses that teach me how to do just that. But I won’t go into that material too deeply, as you really need to study those courses to get the full meaning out of them. But I have returned to this theme several times, and there is no end to that in sight, as people really do need to think about how to change things so they work better.

Ideal size of a group – fractal organizing structure

In the ideal organization, every part of it is built on the same basic template: Thetan – Mind – Body – Product. The ideal production group is maybe five people or a few more. One takes the role of In-Charge (Thetan), another works on record-keeping (Mind), one or two handle most of the physical work (Body), with another making sure the Product is the correct one for that group.

A part of this concept is that the group members only have to deal with their own senior. They are friends; they get along with each other. And if anyone above their level has a problem with what they are doing, that guy has to take it up with the In-Charge. This helps limit overwhelm due to altitude (how much more powerful someone is compared to someone else).

It’s not that the workers never hear from the head honcho. He can give speeches like General Patton in that movie. But the Captain isn’t supposed to walk into a unit’s tent or barracks and directly discipline or give orders to one of the men; that’s the Sargeant’s job. Same should go for a business organization, a family or a government. So how come everyone has to turn their tax forms directly into the IRS?

This is a form of intimidation, isn’t it? That’s all that sort of management system accomplishes. And they probably do it on purpose. Big centralized organizations tend to be nervous on the subject of control. They know that people don’t really want to just willingly cooperate with the whole setup. After all, they (at the top) know it wasn’t set up to benefit the guys at the bottom. Well, that would have to change in a real organization.


The Little Prince’s businessman (above) wouldn’t like this next idea either (or would he)?

How are you going to spend your money?

A sensible financial management system puts a trained executive between a production group and its income. The group has to plan how it is going to spend its earnings and inform this executive, who needs to be convinced that the proposed spending will help the group to produce and expand. Only then will that executive release those funds. They work together at it; it’s not like that guy wants to harm anyone (his statistic is the size of the payroll). He just wants to make sure the group is handling its finances in an ethical manner.

Now, government supposedly does this. But they don’t use a strictly trained executive, they use the legislators. Well, that’s like asking the kids how much of Dad’s pay they want to spend on pizza and cookies. So, it doesn’t work. I don’t know if you could get it to work in government. The Founding Fathers had a good idea, but they were trying to solve a different problem than we have now. As it turns out, you don’t need a monarch to have a despotism, and a democracy won’t guarantee the continued freedom of its people, either.

The U.S. system is good, but it’s not the best we can do.

The biggest gap is in understanding the criminal element and what to do about them.

Police as ethics officers

Ethics is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to improving the management of any group or activity. Everyone should know about Ethics, but someone has to make sure it gets applied properly, that honest and productive people are protected and that the real criminals of the world get put out of business. And that’s really what most people who sign up for police work hope they can accomplish. The only reason it doesn’t happen is that not enough people – and particularly the police – know about Ethics. So this is an educational job, as is much of the work that needs to be done to improve conditions.

We have some Forces here and there – some in Colombia, some in South Africa – learning this data and having success with it. They are happy about the results they are getting. That trend just needs to grow.

And maybe some day even Saint-Exupéry‘s stodgy old “businessman” can breath a sigh of relief and see a way back towards happiness.

Accomplishing Things Together

14 July 2019

Mankind has evolved myriad ways to get things done in groups.

This subject impacts all of the social sciences including particularly government, business management, and community organization.

In these contexts it is often studied in amazement: How have we managed to accomplish so much against such great odds? And so those studies have for the most part resulted in theories of how and why we managed to survive as a cooperative species, or in careful listings of what worked for Boeing, or General Electric, or China.

Those studies seldom evolved any system of understanding or set of rules that was workable enough to be compelling or gain wide support. Except for Hubbard’s studies.

Extent of human experience

When Hubbard consulted the extent of human experience, he found a track so deep and vast that for most those discoveries were simply unbelievable. But in this vastness he was able to locate certain basics about how people operate and how they learn to coexist.

And so he was able to identify patterns and “laws” that can be adapted to and remain workable in almost any imaginable situation.

The basic production group

The most workable pattern for group production is one mirrored all around us and throughout history. We see this pattern in the family (particularly when both parents are present), in the village and tribe, in the production team of modern business, and in performing groups such as the one illustrated below.

sekar jaya berkeley 1980

Gamelan Sekar Jaya early rehearsal in Berkeley 1980

I have mentioned this pattern in other articles. It features an “in-charge” or supervisor, often assisted by a deputy. Ideally, these two only have to work directly with a handful of other people. In the photo above, we see that the teacher (back to us) is showing one of the gendèr players a particular melody. The other players can be individually instructed, but will tend to rely on one of the better players in their group as a sub-teacher. Similarly, a more experienced drummer teaches a newer drummer, and a more experienced dancer will teach the newer dancers, though all under the watchful eye of the overall teacher. And so they eventually learn how to play an entire piece together, then another and another. And so they can at some point go out and perform a concert with a paying audience (as we did many times).

Extension to larger groups

Hubbard found that the best way to build larger groups was by using this same basic pattern. This is actually a truly ancient law. As such, it should come naturally to us; and yet we violate it all the time.

When we try to stretch this basic pattern into a very large group, like a major company or a nation, we run into one of its limitations: distance between associated group members. This has always been a challenge for people, and I suppose always will. Though I could mention all sorts of handlings that have been dreamed up – for both real and imaginary groups – the common factor in all of them seems to be to establish a strong and reliable line of communication between the central location and its remote offices.

Traditionally this was accomplished by assigning one or more people from the remote area to function as delegates, ambassadors, or traveling executives. They would then meet periodically as a council, committee, coordinating body (or some similar concept) at the central location. This was one reason (as far as I’m concerned) why representative governments developed in the years before we had more advanced communication technologies. These councils continue today as a kind of tradition; for now it’s probably just as well that they do.

Organizations like businesses have a tendency to send central people out to the remote location to “fix” situations and for other reasons. This is more typical of a top-down approach to organizing people, but that doesn’t make it unworkable. It’s just that the basic friendliness that exists when people work together in the same room or house or office or factory can break down or be neglected over longer distances. Then the corrective measure will come as a shock or be seen as an attack, rather than as a management necessity (which it usually is). So it is very important for any central office to have one person (or a small group) assigned to each remote office – no more than five or ten remote offices per person – who will then maintain a strong and friendly relationship between him or herself and each remote office.

Common mistakes

It is very important for the members of any actual group to feel that they are working together for a common purpose. For some businesses, that purpose might be to make money. And while that is needful, it is seldom sufficient motivation for most people. Most people want to feel that they are doing something that contributes to the greater community, and pushes up the chances of survival for the entire community, as well as the specific business or organization they work in. I have seen too much neglect and falseness in this respect.

Why would people err in this direction?

Lost or insufficient technology. This is the age in which certain of our technologies have raced ahead, while others have lagged behind, or been neglected or lost.

Thus we can connect two people using a complex radio relay system, but cannot guarantee them that their personal details will remain private or that the information they receive on that network will be accurate.

We can develop a myriad of new drugs for treating various conditions, but seem unable to cure people of those conditions.

We can revive numerous downtown areas, but we can’t seem to make those areas affordable for the people who work there.

In fact, there are many good technologies that would help us handle these problems that are available but not widely known about. That leads us to our other common mistake.

Letting criminals onto our communication lines. This one is always destructive, and sometimes completely fatal. It is a point abundantly supported by Hubbard’s research. And it circles back around to the first mistake: Lack of an effective technology for spotting criminals that is widely known and in use.

Though we have had ways of doing this for centuries, our results were less than perfect. It is Hubbard’s work that has pushed this subject up to a new level. And it was a criminal reaction to this advance that has been suppressing it from wider use. Where communities go ahead and learn it and use it, crime goes down and happiness goes up.

And where communities and businesses and governments gain a better control over the criminal element, beneficial technologies go into wider use, while harmful technologies decline.

Can governments be made to work?

Government is one of our biggest challenges because we give our governments the toughest jobs.

I looked over our own Constitution today (the original document for the most part) to see if I could draw a straight line from it to a more workable system. My results were inconclusive.

In a nation Law takes the place of what is usually called Policy in business. Yet how could either a business or a nation get along well if its rules of operation were constantly changing?

The only business policies we normally hear about as consumers are written by lawyers. The more basic policies get set by Boards of Directors, and you seldom hear about those. My church relies on a large volume of policy developed by our Founder over many years which is now, for the most part, unchangeable. That gives our organization stability and predictability.

Nations have their Constitutions as basic policy. Yet in all cases I know of, these have been eroded. In a lot of ways, they weren’t really comprehensive enough. And with changeable laws having to stand in for gaps in policy, nations have been rendered less stable than most of us would like.

Traditional representative government has become less workable for a number of reasons. Chief among them, as I see it, was the lack of workable data on how to detect and handle criminals. And so the justice systems of many countries have become unworkable, if not corrupt. And criminal influence in the other branches of government was allowed to occur. This must be repaired. This whole issue is barely mentioned in our own Constitution.

Furthermore, there is no mention in our Constitution of the relationship between the U.S. President and his Cabinet with the State Governors and their cabinets. This led to vital communication lines never being formally established, and extensive Federal offices existing in all major cities and state capitals, though those should all be the domains of the various states.

Further, the need for extensive duplication of laws due to the absence of enough detail in the founding documents has led to huge wastes of effort as states try to regulate things better left to the federal level, and vice versa. This has recently become a real issue in the field of drug abuse, where some states have legalized marijuana, while others have kept it illegal. At the federal level it is still an illegal substance, so a huge “crime” network still exists to produce the drug in “free” states and then transport it into areas where it remains illegal. If the Feds do not have sufficient resources to make such operations unprofitable, then the whole country basically gets more drugs at lower prices courtesy of the states that have legalized them.

Reversely, the Feds have tried to “assist” states in their educational efforts. But this is much more properly a state issue, since “illegal trafficking” of students across state borders is certainly a very minor problem.

While arguments can be made that the U.S. would do better if it operated more like a business (top-down) it is in fact not legally set up to do so, and should probably rely much more on friendly communication lines between federal and state levels than it currently does.

Further, while it would be a huge change of operating basis at this point, it would be much more appropriate for the U.S. government to treat the states as franchises, and let the states, counties, cities and towns worry about any and all ordinary contact with individual citizens – particularly in the case of taxation – and devise a way to get regular tax payments (tithes, royalties) directly from the state treasuries rather than operating the enormous and invasive system of taxation and welfare that requires direct contact with every individual in the entire country. This is a stupendously inefficient, as well as dangerous, system. It should be ended as soon as possible.

Maintaining a true group

Maintaining a true group means maintaining friendly relations between every adjacent level of that group.

Individuals should have no cause to directly deal with the Federal government except if they violate federal laws. Even the issuance of passports could probably be done by states, as are drivers licenses and ID cards. And if the basic rules of organization were followed, all those activities would probably be more pleasant experiences.

People have a lot to learn about themselves and about working in groups. And they should learn these things. It would help us all enormously.