14 December, 2010

How To Really Change Organizations And Companies

When the companies you work for, the organizations you belong to and support with your financial gifts don't accomplish the things they say they want to accomplish, 2 things are true: (1) The system is working as designed and (2) Somebody wants it that way. Systems do what they are designed to do. They can do nothing else. If you wish to get a different outcome or a different product you have to actually make changes to the system. If you don't change the system, you can't change the product of that system.

All outcomes are the result of a system that produced them. A system that is designed to make widgets will not make cars or parkas unless the system is reconfigured to produce cars or parkas. A system that is designed to shut down puppy mills will not cause more puppy mills to open.

Some of my church-going readers belong to churches that say they exist to "make disciples" or "win souls to Christ" and yet these churches aren't making disciples or winning souls. To my church-going friends I say don't write a check to drop in the offering plate, write a letter explaining that you will not be providing further financial support until the system  that doesn't make disciples or win souls is redesigned so that it does make disciples or win souls.

If you have been donating money to an organization that is supposed to help so-called "older workers" find employment, I strongly advise you to ask that org for proof of the efficacy of their work on behalf of "older workers". If they cannot prove that your financial support hasn't been squandered, instead of sending more money send a letter explaining why you won't be sending more money. That organization already knows it's squandering your donations and it will continue to do so until donors withhold funds and demand change to the system.

Until recently I was involved with a "task force" made up of representatives of various orgs that have received taxpayer and private funds to encourage companies to hire so-called older workers yet none of these task force members could name a local company they had teamed with to employ these older workers. These "older worker" programs are jobs programs, alright, but not for older workers. These programs have systems that are designed to produce jobs for overpaid bureaucrats and they will never produce jobs for so-called older workers until the systems are redesigned to produce employment opportunities for older workers, not bureaucrats.

Most religious, membership and non-profit orgs really exist to provide jobs for the people at the top. If you are sending money to such an organization, withhold your funding immediately and tell them why.

More importantly, tell your friends not to send money to organizations that don't do what they claim they want to do. Systems produce what they are designed to produce and they will never produce anything but what they are designed to produce unless the system itself is changed.

Let's say you are a city government and you have outsourced job creation to some membership organization that can't prove it has produced even one job with the money you've paid them. Cut them  off. Tell them they can't have any more taxpayer dollars until they have a system that produces jobs instead of excuses.

Do you send money to an organization that doesn't accomplish what it says it wants to accomplish? If so, don't send a check, send a letter telling them you will resume your financial support when they make the systemic changes needed to produce a different outcome.

Do you own or are you managing a company that isn't getting the desired results? You will not get improvements in quality, sales, profits or innovation until you are willing to make changes to the systems that are failing to produce the desired results.

A system that produces jobs for overpaid executives will not suddenly or accidentally start producing jobs for laid-off plant workers. A system that produces widgets might produce widgets of varying quality and might occasionally produce defective widgets that cannot be sold, but a system that produces widgets will never produce iPads or blue jeans unless the system is reconfigured to produce iPads or blue jeans.

If you are a donor, don't just demand change, demand change to the system.

If you are a company owner, it does no good to fire your management and hire new managers unless your new managers are systems thinkers who will make changes to the system that is producing the disappointing results.

For more on how systems produce what they are designed to produce, see my
21 JULY, 2010 post in the blog archives.

Due to reader complaints and inability / unwillingness to understand my "no pseudonymous or anonymous comments" policy, Higginbotham At Large no longer publishes any reader comments at all. I was simply spending too much time moderating reader comments and I had to either allow comments to be published without moderation or I had to disallow comments altogether. I chose to disallow comments. Send your hate mail directly to JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com. Pseudonymous emails will be given the attention they deserve: they will not be read.

11 December, 2010

Why Higginbotham At Large Will No Longer Publish Reader Comments

I'm making way too many people mad with my requirement that they provide a real name - not a pseudonym or a CB handle - and some actual contact info so a few minutes ago I went into my Blogger settings and made a major change: only "members" of this blog may post comments to it. Since I am the only member, that means I am, in effect, no longer publishing comments. 

Not only am I making way too many people mad at me because I have been enforcing a "no anonymous or pseudonymous comments" policy but I'm spending way too much time explaining and defending this unpopular policy so the easiest thing for me to do is to simply stop publishing reader comments.

Most of the time my "no pseudonymous" comments wasn't much of an issue because most of my blog posts didn't seem to engender much reader comment. I think there were only three times in the history of Higginbotham At Large when my blog attracted much attention. The first time was about 18 months ago when I wrote a post in defense of gay marriage. The next time was during the run-up to the recent special election for Robert C Byrd's US Senate seat when the Mountain Partiers were sending my a lot of profanity-laced anonymous and pseudonymous comments because I said their candidate, Jesse Johnson, should drop out of the race and tell his supporters to hold their noses and vote for Dino Joe so Florida wouldn't have three US Senators with the election of John Raese. 

Right now I'm getting a lot of pseudonymous comments from members of a Yahoo atheist group who object to my 9 December post about what I called "hillbilly religion" and West Virginia PBS's gospel music programming. I had no idea that atheists like gospel music so much, but apparently they do. And for some reason they don't understand the meaning of the word "pseudonymous" and I'm just spending way too much time explaining the meaning of pseudonymity. 

Where did people get the idea that anybody cares about the opinions of people who won't sign their names to their hate mail? People who hide behind pseudonymity are attempting to escape accountability and consequences for their words and actions. If you've ever sent a letter to your local newspaper you know that newspapers don't print letters that are unaccompanied by a real name and some contact info.

Anyway, Higginbotham At Large apologizes to the Yahoo atheists. Send your hate mail to JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com - but sign your name or I won't read it. 

09 December, 2010

Open Letter To West Virginia Public Broadcasting

I’m shocked, puzzled, offended and even embarrassed at how much gospel music programming WVPBS has been airing lately.

Isn’t WVPB still under authority of EBA? And what, exactly, is the educational value of Bill Gaither and a bunch of his gospel music friends or the Statler Brothers ?

And even though some of WVPB receives private donations from viewers and listeners, doesn’t most of WVPB’s operating revenue still come from taxpayers?
Not only does gospel music programming appeal to and promote just one religion, gospel music programming of this sort promotes and appeals to a subset within that one Christian religion while it offends and alienates and disenfranchises everyone not of that subset of the Christian religion.

And finally, I am embarrassed at what visitors to our state must think when, after a long day of travel or work they turn on the hotel TV, tune to a PBS station hoping to find NOVA or Frontline or one of PBS’s fine shows only to find the most public of public airwaves being used to promote hillbilly religion while offending and disenfranchising taxpayers who are not practitioners of that hillbilly religion.

01 December, 2010

Don't Try To Eat Your Bellacino's Grinder Or Advertise Your 6th Avenue Grill During AMC's Walking Dead

When I lived near a Mancino’s franchise owned and operated by Theresa Hager in Lexington, KY, Sunday night TV meant spot-welding the TV tuner to AMC and settling in with a bottle of pop and a steak and cheese grinder from Mancino’s. I was a regular customer of Ms. Hager’s Leestown Rd Mancino’s and I hung with her even after she allowed her 15-year-old employee to attack me and call Barack Obama a “socialist” on election day 2008 when I entered Mancino’s wearing my “I voted” sticker and was asked for whom I voted. When I said “Obama” all hell broke loose in the restaurant where the TV which was usually tuned to Fox News regularly tormented me.

Incidentally, I recently found a pretty good but not great grinder at Bellacino’s in Barboursville where I was tormented by country music that was too loud and, well, too country. More on Bellacino’s later.

Anyway, Sunday night TV is no longer best enjoyed with a great sandwich – or food of any kind, for that matter. At least not this season. Not until Breaking Bad comes back this spring. You see, AMC’s current Sunday night show, Walking Dead, will ruin your appetite so even if I could find a good grinder in The Kanawha Valley I couldn’t eat it while watching AMC on Sunday night because I Walking Dead is just too gross.

And it’s been done. It’s derivative of Will Smith’s gross zombie movie, I Am Legend

Walking Dead is the second recent AMC programming mistake; the other one was the cancellation of Rubicon after just one season.

Now, back to my search for a great grinder. When I found out that members of the same family that started Mancino’s founded the Bellacino’s franchise, I went in search of a grinder worthy of being enjoyed on Sunday night while watching Breaking Bad. I almost found it. I say “almost” because the grinders I bought at Bellacino’s in Barboursville and Kanawha City were much better than the grinders I found at Larobi’s and Husson’s but not as good as the grinders I used to get at Mancino’s in Lexington.

I have a suggestion for Todd Forney, Suzanne Stevens and Shawn Stevens, owners of the Bellacino’s franchises in Kanawha City and Barboursville: take a drive down to Lexington, KY and get a steak and cheese grinder from Mancino’s on Leestown Rd. Forney used to work in Lexington so he should have no trouble finding the place.

By the way, I had lunch at 6th Avenue Grill in St. Albans yesterday and I offer owners Guy and Robin Turturice and John and Amy Sowards the same advice I offer Forney, Stevens and Stevens: take a drive down to Lexington, KY, and order a Mancino’s grinder. Figure out how they make it. Bring it to St. Albans. It’ll be a hit.

Oh, and if you own a food business, don’t even think about buying ad time during AMC’s Walking Dead. Believe me, unless you are in the janitorial business or some other business where your job is to clean up messes, you don’t want your brand anywhere near the Walking Dead brand.