Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Solution Series: Managing Our Way Out Of Dysfunction - Part I



This is a new series that I will kick off with this post. The theme is not new. I stated previously that the Black community presently has a "Human Resource Management" problem that is showing up as a crime problem, an academic problem and a health status problem.

It is clear to me that many of the same management constructs that are present within the business world which work to deliver certain "directed outcomes" are applicable to addressing many of the problems in our community. At the end of the day - the key point is not the suggestion that these constructs are used to generate "profits". Instead the point is that they are used to guide PEOPLE.

These techniques:
  • Provide a framework for the development of a clear agenda that is in line with some specific goals.
  • The propagation of this agenda to the masses of people attached to the unit via educational outreach.
  • The allocation of resources necessary to carry out the agenda
  • The measurement and analysis tools necessary to provide feedback as to the course and heading
  • The corrective actions necessary to put the people back on track
It is my view that we simply have too many Black people who are in fact managers in the business realm for our community to presently be at the point where these same tactics are not implemented to address these critical problems at a more wholesale level.

It is my personal opinion that those who are beholden to power have not been inclined to allow new ideas to supplant those of their own. For the past several decades it has been far more profitable for their own interests to continue to exploit old "racist scarecrows" that have been planted throughout the Black community rather than construct a more sound internal scaffolding for our people to organically build upon. This is not to say that their methods were not valid per the external threat that we faced and the justice system that looked the other way. One would be hard pressed, however, to argue that these conditions exist today.

PROPORTIONALITY

I have stated several times my habit of listening to people and then constructing a mapping of the various arguments, tricks and excuses they make use of to retain their entrenched position. My notion of the "Proportionality Filter" is used to make a determination if the "threat" that they have put forth as to why a certain unfavorable result that has been obtained by some element within the Black community in fact stands as a valid reason for the shortcoming.

To bottom line it for you - some people are contented that after going through their own mind all of the reasons why a certain condition exists - they span the gap between their understanding and the real world by inserting in some sort of CONSPIRACY THEORY as a means of pacifying their own self that things occurred the way that they did because of the insertion of this hidden hand that they point to.

This present exercise is my attempt to educate you into more effectively scrutinizing their antics. Again - applying my business background in the process.

In a recent customer engagement in which the operatives from a large company through up various points of objections to our proposal I noted to the members of my sales team that if we don't all commit to a certain FRAMEWORK for the analysis of the problem at hand "they win". They will remain entrenched upon their view that the piecemeal solution from our competitors is in fact going to save them some money. Each of these players have their own provincial interest that they are clinging to. They have been throwing out counter claims that have not been evaluated with respect to a disciplined process of consideration. If we don't set standard terms for the evaluation of the entire problem set - these others win because their own job is to disassemble our proposal.

The diagram above is a model of an aircraft in flight. (Sorry for the ugly air plane. I was sitting in an airport and didn't have Internet access to grab some clip art).

For this hunk of metal and jet fuel to fly some group of engineers and scientists in the past had to document all of the real world forces that would bear down upon this vessel. These forces had the goal of keeping this craft grounded and/or having the craft spin out of control and crash to the ground. In any event - if these engineers did not have a disciplined structure for the analysis of these forces - the defacto result would occur - the craft would go back to the ground - either never having flown or smashed into millions of different pieces.

When I hear the claims about the various forces present today which are purportedly holding Black people back - I see the need to get these same people to go through the exercise of attempting to identify and qualify these forces. You see - the more ambiguous that they are allowed to remain - the more that they will demand that "Black people remain UNIFIED" - tucking our individual thoughts and criticisms about their agenda for the sake of there being a BIGGER THREAT who seeks to kill us all (or at least return us to slavery if we don't remain vigilant against their threats).

In this unstructured analysis you can be sure of two things:
  • They are going to over represent the threat that streams from these EXTERNAL terrorists to our cause
  • Since they are in power over the resources that they purport to protect - they are going to UNDER REPRESENT the force that their own incompetence plays at perpetuating the circumstances that we face


The power of persuasion held by the "confidence man" cannot be mistaken. Don't think that just because certain truths seem obvious that the masses will rise up in revolt against them. Instead they must be provided with tools that will allow them to do their own analysis of what they are being asked to support. Better outcomes will inherently be produced if, for no other reason, BAD IDEAS will be pushed to the side. Absent this the people will simply keep "Trying Harder" to make bad ideas work.

The diagram immediately above seeks to craft a proportional representation of the forces that are bearing down. (Not - these are totally fabricated numbers only done to make a point). The fact that an attempt was made to first document the presence of these forces is a significant milestone. To have successful flight, however, the relative proportion of these forces had to be established.

What good is it to have an aircraft with the most powerful engines ever built and thus it has thrust yet the control surfaces on the wings are not sufficient enough to allow the captain to steer the air craft to its intended destination? We know that there will be some dramatic outcome via the speed that they are able to travel - but it won't be a good outcome. They will instead either land in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.

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