COB-89: new milestones achieved

Edvard Munch, Vampire

Adjusted profits are 23% higher than benchmark expected profits quarter-on-quarter, and 11% higher than last quarter, as measured in quarts extracted.  Seasonally normalized, composite asset sales have risen 17% and have exceeded expected guidance.  That makes for the seventeenth consecutive year that all performance milestones have exceeded guidance forecasts.  Concerns that the staff appears to be anemic and may not be as productive in the future are unfounded as long as our health-care plan continues to fully fund transfusions.  The strategic plan length has been increased by 19%, while the costs of counting revenues have decreased 56%.  The newly hired group of 7 SVPs (“Super Suckers”) has already reduced line staff by 6 FTEs through targeted attrition.  All revenue has been deferred to next year, simplifying the adjustment of this year’s fiscal results.  Management’s in-house auditor has certified the corporation’s debt burden to be acceptable.  No long-term effects are forecast from the seizure of furniture from corporate headquarters last February.  New touch-screen input devices make the loss of fingers during the cold spell immaterial.  Management remains optimistic about the future of the business as long as employee turnover exceeds garlic imports.

In other bureaucratic issues this month, Jerry Pournelle deserves respect as a bureaucratic authority.  He explains:

I certainly started keeping a day book well before most, and long before the term “blog” or Web Log was invented. BIX, the Byte information exchange, preceded the Web by a lot, and I also had a daily journal on GE Genie. Both of those would have been considered blogs if there had been any such term. All that was long before the World Wide Web.

In short, he’s been doing the same thing for a long time.  That’s impressive.  Pournelle has formulated the Iron Law of Bureaucracy.  The Iron Law of Bureaucracy, stated simply, says that there are two kinds of people: false bureaucrats and true bureaucrats.  False bureaucrats foolishly pursue the organization’s goals.  True bureaucrats diligently seek to perpetuate the organization.  Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy declares the world is the best of all possible worlds:

in every case the second group {true bureaucrats} will gain and keep control of the organization.  It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Set up a meeting to celebrate the good news about your organization’s future!

Unfortunately, some history professors are failing in knowledge of the Iron Law of Bureaucracy.  Consider what Larry Cebula says to his students:

In a way it is the greatest compliment a student can give. I ask them what they want to do with their history degree. They get all passionate and earnest and vulnerable as they answer, “I want your job. I am going to be a college professor!” Then they turn their smiling faces towards me, expectantly awaiting my validation and encouragement of their dreams. And I swallow hard, and I tell them…. No, my esteemed student, you are not going to be a history professor. It isn’t going to happen. The sooner you accept this the better.

That’s typical of dinosaur positivist historians out of date with theory.  Scholarly theory has unlimited potential for growth.  It’s also has low cost to produce.  History students should be encouraged to provide life-long support for the history-student production organization.

Scott Kirsner in the Harvard Business Review blog network describes 11 ways big companies can successfully undermine innovation.  Many big-company leaders fail to appreciate the full magnitude of the risks of innovation in their organizations.  But with thorough, hands-on, detail-oriented management, these risks can be minimized.  Some of Kirsner’s ideas are simple to implement:

Seeking more influence and power, the company’s Chief Information Officer has altered his title, becoming Chief Innovation Officer.

That’s a good start, but staff renaming is also necessary.  The Chief Innovation Officer should move promptly to rename her typist an Innovation Service Specialist.

That’s all for this month’s Carnival of Bureaucrats.  Enjoy previous bureaucratic carnivals here.  Nominations of posts to be considered for inclusion in next month’s carnival should be submitted using Form 376: Application for Bureaucratic Recognition.

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