management (3)

Organization Analysis and Work Orientation

Following is a white paper that tea party members and leaders can use to hone their organizational and leadership skills.  I hope you find it helpful.

Executive and management skills are often viewed exclusively as talents, things that some people just do naturally.  But they are skills and anyone can increase their abilities to lead, manage and produce with a little effort.  All organizational and individual efforts require 3 fundamental orientations, or viewpoints from which to view and engage the activity to a successful result.  The skill with which one is able to apply these approaches to any endeavor determines your level of success.  You use these tools well in all areas where you are very successful, and not so well in areas where you are frustrated.

You can use this logic model to evaluate and improve your performance in any area of life and to provide guidance and leadership to others.

Three Fundamental Orientations

–        Task Oriented: A task is an action or series of actions.  It is production.  Workers are most comfortable with this work style, from assembly workers, to mechanics to pilots and doctors.  People who like to “do” things.

–        Process Oriented:  A process is the methodology of production; it is coordinating and managing resources as well as directing the flow of production, the way things are produced.  Managers are most comfortable with process oriented work.

–        Results Oriented:  A result is the end product of tasks executed to completion via an organized methodology.  It is identifying and naming the goals and establishing the vision.  Executives are most comfortable with results oriented work.

Orientation and Organization Analysis

Whenever an organization is experiencing frustration, discord, inefficiency or excessive emergencies, look for an imbalance in these three factors, and it will lead you to the source of the problem and help identify the solution to help increase efficiency, morale and results.

–        While most jobs are dominated by one of the 3 orientations, every job encompasses components of all three orientations.  Excellence requires the ability to use all 3 appropriately.

–        Most people have a favorite work orientation, with which they are most comfortable, but everyone can increase their ability to apply any of the 3 orientations to a given situation.  It is really just a point of view and anyone can change their point of view.

–        Using judgment and your existing expertise, you can use this analytic logic model to identify and improve any organizational sphere, from a single job to a large multi-group organization.

Some General Guidelines

New or young organizations tend to be weak in Executive and Management areas of Results and Process Orientations.  It is critical for the group to adopt and broadly publish vision and mission statements to identify the Results desired.  Next, it will be necessary to develop programs and processes.  Many tea parties have members who have considerable executive or management skills, but who do not have sufficient time to engage in a leadership role.  Work to identify those individuals and see if they can provide consulting advice and guidance to the leaders.  Always assess the skills of your membership and make every effort to help members find a role within the organization for which they are well suited.  People always prefer to do things that they do well, and are much more willing to participate in activities outside their zone of comfort if they are also utilized in areas where they are already strong.   You wouldn't use a sports car to move furniture, nor would you enter a moving van in a drag race.

More mature organizations can tend to get process heavy where people are changing too much for the sake of change.  Very mature organizations can lose sight of the vision, or once the initial vision is fulfilled to fail to generate a new vision and goal that builds on previous success.  The best example of this is the civil rights movement which has fallen so far as to start creating false civil rights violations to protest, and degenerated into race baiters from a once noble endeavor.

Examples of Misapplied Orientation

–        Worker responding to request with obstacles and reasons why it can’t be done:  Results orientation when task orientation is needed.  The worker wants the answers to the issues it is his job to address, but is delegating up, asking the supervisor to do his work.

–        Manager responding to request for necessary resources with demand for completion.  Results orientation when process orientation is needed.  If the worker does not have sufficient material, resources or authority to complete a task, it is the manager’s job to allocate the appropriate resources.

–        Manager practicing micro-management:  Task oriented when process orientation is needed.  The manager is only addressing the tasks, rather than assigning resources and directing overall process.

–        Executive engaging in debate over how a project should be executed:  Process orientation instead of results orientation.  The executive is doing the manager’s job instead of rejecting a proposal which is not defined clearly enough for an approval or rejection.

–        Worker delaying production until it can be perfected to an unrealistic or unnecessary level.  Process oriented when task orientation is needed.  Sometimes, the job just needs to be done.  The correct solution is to do the job and submit a report on problems with a recommendation for process improvement.

How Can I use this Information to become more effective

The best way to drill this information is to start with processes and tasks with which you are very familiar.  Select anything at which you are already very expert and break it down into Results (vision), Process (methodology) and Tasks (individual steps).

Make a cup of coffee:

Executive:  Vision of a steaming cup of hot coffee and the executive decision to obtain one.

Manager:  Ensure the necessary materials and supplies are available.

Task:  Prepare the coffee.

If you ask someone who is totally task oriented to get a cup of coffee, you might not get one.

If they only know the Corey coffee maker they can only get a cup of coffee if you have the equipment they are already familiar with.

A person who is totally task oriented will do the following:

  1. Put the coffee pack into the coffee maker drip container.
  2. Pour cold water into the water cavity of the coffee maker.
  3. Put a cup or pot onto the hotplate beneath the drip container.
  4. Push the Start button.

Someone who is totally task oriented and does not understand the process will be unable to make coffee if he/she doesn’t have one of the familiar tools, coffee maker, coffee pack, electricity.  But someone who truly understands what it takes to make a good cup of coffee will not be stopped by a lack of materials.

Some things are essential.  In order to make a good cup of coffee, you need coffee grounds, water, a fireproof container and sufficient heat to boil the water, a means of filtering out the grounds.

You can boil water in a pan, pour in the grounds and let it steep then filter it through a loose weave cloth into a cup or pot.  And, you can do this with a camp fire and a pan, or you can get an espresso maker and go all high tech.

And someone who is really stumped with missing resources/supplies or broken equipment, will simply  get in the car and drive to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks or 7/11 and buy a cup.

There are a lot of ways to solve the problem, and the better versed a person is in the nature of coffee and availability of materials and resources, the greater the certainty that he will actually obtain the result.

In the areas where you are highly expert, you shift from Results Oriented, to Process Oriented to Task Oriented fluidly as necessary, without even thinking about it.  It has become second nature.  To learn these orientations, for 1-2 weeks, stop what you are doing 5-6 times a day and identify which orientation you are using at any given time.

Following are a set of drills to work on for 2 weeks each.  The assumption is that you will not be focusing your attention on this for more than a few minutes a few times a day.  A little attention a few times a day over a period of weeks will give you far more skill than drilling it intensively examining everything that you do against this logic.  Over-analysis of your own behavior will have you second guessing yourself and undermine the very skills and abilities the drill is supposed to enhance.

Week 1-2

Applying this logic to areas where you are already expert, will increase your ability with the subject matter.  You should feel confident that you can always identify which work orientation you are using at any given time.

Determine which orientation you enjoy the most.  Start paying attention to opportunities to utilize the orientations you don’t like as much.  The more familiar and comfortable you are with all 3, the more effective you will become at any endeavor.

Week 3-4

Start observing others’ activities and behavior.  What orientation are they employing in their various activities? Before you can even consider identifying which orientation they should use, you must first become proficient in identifying which IS being used.

Again, do not over apply this information lest you become hyper-critical.  Everyone is doing their best most of the time.  You are observing periodically throughout the day not constantly.  The idea is to develop a skill, not a habit.

Week 5-6

Start paying specific attention to problem areas and identify which orientation is being used, and which would solve the problem.  Now you can start troubleshooting activities based on this information.

When people tell you their problems, start applying this logic.  Is there a vision or an end result?  Does the person know what the result would look like if the problem were solved?  Has the person identified the proper resources and materials to achieve the result?  What needs to actually happen to produce the result?

If nothing else, using this methodology for problem solving will enable you to rapidly identify the person who revels in his/her unsolvable problems.  As you start breaking it down with the appropriate questions, the person who is savoring and enjoying their problem will start to obstruct and refuse to participate in identifying the solution.  You can breathe a sigh of relief…this is not a person in distress who needs your aid.  This is a person who uses problems to get attention or to delegate their personal responsibility to you, or society, etc.  You don’t have to worry about them, they are already in 7th heaven, and you can go about your more productive business with a clear conscience and light heart.

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Spree Killers, the Second Amendment, and Those Damned Guns
This is not about guns or freedom of speech.
It is about the impossibility of forcing psychiatric therapy on someone who is obviously disturbed but who has (and will insist upon using) the right to continue being mentally messed up, without interference from police, physicians, or other protectors and defenders of the public.
This is a 'lawyer disease' - a social problem created by the same profession that refused to let gays be subjected to contact tracing (thus accelerating the spread of AIDS) and now are refusing to allow meaningful tort reform (thus accelerating the CYA ordering by doctors of tests and procedures that cost about 150 Billion (with a B) dollars annually).
Shakespeare was a bit harsh but right about the problems created by lawyers, but nobody listened. Were he alive today he might have some words about the ACLU and even the ACRU as well.
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Another Recall? Toyota’s Vaunted Ad Campaign

Featuring Safety Emphasis . . . BOGUS AGAIN!

Rajjpuut has predicted and now been proven correct three times on Toyota’s total management incompetence. The mainstream media has not followed the story correctly, and of course, believing this is a recent Toyota aberration, has not emphasized the true underlying problems and causes: Toyota’s culture of internal and external lies; and acute mismanagement.

In recent times a braking problem was covered up by insisting that extra thick floor mats were the problem; then roughly 3/4 of a year later they acknowledged they had a real braking problem; followed by a real steering problem; and now a real engine problem that manifests as stalling when the engine operates at high speeds. For this new problem, Toyota is once again returning to its resource of last resort: new car recalls.

But in fact, Toyota has had a slightly different braking problem, which they’ve flat-out denied since roughly 1998. Rajjpuut first became aware of the Toyota problem when several instances of customers wrecking their garages and cars and parking lot accoutrements and even killing by-standers were reported in ’98 and '99. Toyota, denied the problem but angry customer letters continued for at least five years attesting to its continuing reality.

Where does all this Rajjpuut clairvoyance come from? Actually, it’s nothing of the sort. Trained long ago in Kepner-Tregoe** management techniques as all Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas employees were at that time, all the facts since ’98 have pointed to a corporate Toyota culture that was in denial and which really didn’t understand the simplest item in any effective manager’s arsenal: distinguishing real problems and real causes from B.S. Let’s look at the recent braking problem . . . .

Toyota has pretty much acted like their problems are all in the past, all of it. Their new ad campaign emphasizing customer security and safety is totally bogus, or in management language: completely specious. Their P-R ad campaign sounds nice but is fundamentally flawed, did you ever once hear them state the exact nature of the problem; or their exact “fix” for the problem; or the exact way that their “fix” operates? Unless these things occur and, in the case of public relations disasters like Toyota’s been suffering, unless those things occur and then are publicly acknowledged and explained, count on it, the problem is not only NOT FIXED, it has most probably not even been discovered yet.

In the face of all this Toyota denial, Rajjpuut has the last three times ventured the educated guess that Toyota’s problems are NOT mechanical as the company insists, but rather tied into their cars’ computer oversight systems. Could Rajjpuut be wrong? Damn straight, amigo! Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that mechanical problems are relatively easy to discover and fix . . . (and again, reminding you that Toyota has NOT stated the exact nature of the problem; the exact “fix” for the problem; or the exact way that their “fix” operates) Rajjpuut still suggests that computer problems (perhaps caused by lack of shielding for stray external signals) lie at the heart of both the braking and steering problems. While it’s possible that such a transient-caused computer problem might also tie in to the new engine-stalling problem, there are ten thousand potential causes for such a stall (for example, vapor lock! as well as “random over-ride” by some other <perhaps safety-oriented> system) and much less is known thus far about the engine problem than has been reported about the other situations.

Rajjpuut suggests that Toyota invites the Kepner-Tregoe folks to examine the four problem areas they’ve experienced as well as their whole operation top to bottom and to give Toyota managers at every level in every division much-needed K-T training before their cars kill more people.

Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,


**Kepner-Tregoe management strategies are almost chesslike but based upon these simple ideas:

1. Any manager's primary job is to stay aware of their area, something called SA or "Situational Analysis"
2. From this awareness, the manager notices CHANGES in his area and becomes aware of the need for PA, "Problem analysis"; DA, "Decision Analysis"; and most importantly for PPA, "Potential Problem Analysis".
3. Specific definitions of problems, decisions and potential problems must be met so that managers don't find themselves continually working at cross-purposes to reality (for example, at least 75% of the time, Rajjpuut has noticed in other companies and places that people were immediately jumping to the conclusion that they had a problem and then willy-nilly trying to solve their "problem" with, naturally disastrous results a la the Obama administration)
4. Unlike fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants management styles in which 95% of effort is involved with "fire-fighting," one nasty surprise after another, K-T managers tend to spend 80-90% of their time making decisions, training, and avoiding potential problems
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