Monday, August 1, 2016

H/R Guide II



Judging from comments, some must have found the original post “interesting”. Hoped to amuse people.

On a serious note, I would like to expand on my management practices. In one of my college classes, the textbook author discussed, “The Industrial Law of Effect”. This was in the 1960’s and I have long since forgotten the author and book title.  The author may have been inspired by the classic, Law of Effect.


As modified, the author said that in any organization, the employees will intuitively learn what management’s dominant desire is, not expressed desire,  and give it to them. As an illustration, a bank teller is rude to a customer knowing management’s  dominant desire was for the teller’s till balance exactly each day. Rude to a customer? Tsk, tsk. Till not balance? Look for another job. I’ve forgotten a lot from those classes but that has stuck with me over the years.

Tank’s variation. You better damn well know what you want in very specific terms or you will have a bunch of unhappy and unproductive employees. In the case of the skylight firm, I wanted a quality product produced on time with minimum waste and rework. On a personal level, I didn’t expect, or want, anyone to kiss my ass.

As stated, I hired and promoted on ability. My usual crew had many people others wouldn’t hire. Within the day to day operation, I wouldn’t stand for cliques. Every employee’s dignity was to be respected. Should I walk by the break room and see employees being shunned or ignored (not included in the lunch group) you can believe the foremen/women would soon have an unpleasant closed door meeting in my office. That policy extended to the occasional “temp”. They may be with us for a short time but their impressions, as communicated to their social circles, would persist for weeks or longer.

One example of how this worked. We had an order for 10,000 residential DIY type skylights from Pay n Pac Stores (since acquired by Lowe’s). We had exactly three returned as defective and it was clear they had been dropped.

The skylight company owner was an absentee type from “Cali” who was involved with “the industry”. In other words he was financing art films and the like. Soon he sold out to a large company whose main business was suspended ceiling systems. Their management soon started trying to make my square peg operation fit their round holes. Never understood that. If you have highly productive square pegs, make some square holes. Worse, everything they did was fucked up and needed reworked. As an example, they provided a ceiling system for an Alaska State Ferry without ever insuring the ceiling panels met USCG requirements. I had to pull my crew off our work and spend six weeks redoing the ferry during winter layup in Seattle. Oh yah, the ferry was also the winter hotel for ferry employees. My folks did a great job to the point the ferry employees invited them to their Christmas party. Super party. Several Seattle Bondsmen had a good week.

I could see the writing on the wall. Got a chance to work the season putting in modular condos in Kodiak so we parted ways. Other than the usual brown bottle flu, the Kodiak job went well. The old military P’s. Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

Once had a boss that taught me many valuable lessons. He was an asshole’s asshole but when you put your ass on the line every day you earned his respect. One lesson. “ We have procedures for 90% of our business. This is so we don’t reinvent the wheel every week. The way we handle the other 10% is the difference between a profitable business and a bureaucracy.  As long as I’m running this place, it will never be a bureaucracy”. He was a recovering Boeing engineer with a Harvard MBA.


Over the years my methods didn’t make me many friends. What I can look back with some satisfaction is the respect given to me by several individuals whose accomplishments in business far over shadow mine. Always, I prefer to be respected more than liked.

8 comments:

  1. Respect is earned... As you did...

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  2. A "Recovering Boeing Engineer".

    yuk-yuk!

    Boeing isn't nearly as bad as Western Electric was. As part of The Bell System, WECO had a "BSP" (Bell System Practices) document for everything in the plant.

    And by everything, I mean everything.

    There was not only a BSP for the floor wax the janitors used, but also one for how to apply it.

    There was a BSP for what to use, and how to use it, to clean the restrooms.

    During my short tenure at WECO I got to meet a couple of old "Engineers" who were some of the people responsible for writing these documents.

    They would have been *perfect* Democrats and Hillary supporters.

    If they would have been allowed to write a BSP on how to wipe your a$$, they would have generated a several hundred page document, spelling out not only how to do it, but what to use, when to use it, how much to use, blah, blah, blah.....

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    Replies
    1. Had a customer I sold several vehicles. He was forced to retire from "the phone company". A few weeks later, he and two other "retired" had formed their own consulting company, were back working their old jobs, making three times the money and none of the drones could touch them. Seems they were among the few that actually could make things work.

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    2. Oh, yeah.....BTDT!

      After I was laid off from Boeing, I was one of the VERY few people that the new owners of that facility called back after they came out of Chapter 11.

      I knew four of the "American Controlled" systems cold, and could not only keep them running, but was able to get them back online after they'd been improperly shut down a year earlier.

      And I did it on the cheap....

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    3. And I did it on the cheap....

      Hope you did it on the cheap for you and charged them what it was worth. My customer and associates didn't do anything until they had 1) Negotiated the price and 2) had a purchase order in hand. At one point my customer paid cash for a Ford F-250 Extra Cab with all the options and a 460 engine.

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    4. I would have if I'd been called back as a contractor.

      Unfortunately, I was an employee, so my hourly rate stayed the same if I was frantically fixing something, or drinking coffee.

      Long story about going back there. One of these days I suppose I'll do a post about it.

      Bottom line:

      NEVER trust the Russians in a business deal!

      They promised us things, and then weaseled out of them.

      Really a bad experience....

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    5. Disliked dealing with Eastern European immigrants in general and Russians in particular. Liars one and all. Did have a good experience with a Siberian (don't call me a Russian) fisherman with a large processing vessel. Straight shooters and didn't waste time.

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