Conspiritorial LO teams LO7477

Archie Kregear (
Fri, 17 May 1996 15:08:15 -0700

[Arbritrarily linked to LO7400 for the web pages. ...your host] --

First, I must apologize for not responding on this sooner. I feel like I
failed the group in starting a thread and then abandoning it. This was
partially my choice in that I wanted to see a few days responses before
jumping back in and then my schedule has eaten up my time. The task of
responding also became larger than I could accomplish in a short period of
time. Please forgive me.

[Host's Note: No problem, Archie. Glad to have this from you. Actually
there may well be an advantage in letting things simmer for a while.
...Rick ]

From: Conspiritorial LO teams LO7219, Tobin Quereau

It may well be the case, but I wonder if characterizing all of the
"appointed leaders or managers" as being "not correct or honorable" and
"incompetant" is entirely accurate. The concern that I have is that such a
broad assumption and description would, in my opinion, be likely to
generate equally broad and demeaning attitudes and responses from the very
people you would like to work with more effectively. In other words, if I
am, in your opinion, neither honorable nor competant, what incentive would
I have to try and work with you to solve problems. I think I would need
something more solid to base our interaction on.
I suppose that you are correct here. However as I think through this, the
arguement becomes circular. If you were honorable and competant manager in
this company, you would want to work with me and thus I would want to work
with you. And since those who were "neither honorable nor competant" had
any incentive, they did not want to work with me. (Circular arguements get
my head spinning).
Tobin Quereau:
What do you mean by "internal political reasons" and are they always
suspect and to be sidestepped if at all possible? How are you determining
the reaction of the senior managers is primarily for internal political
reasons? Are there some times when this is not the case?
Of course there is some cooperation, but each of the upper managers had as
an ultimate motive of looking out for themselves (not always a bad idea) but
did so at the expense of the long term success of the company. (At least in
my point of view).
I wrote:
> An example: A couple years ago there were times when I have needed to ship
> a part to a customer on a rush basis. This required the signature of the
> Director of Material Operations who did not want me to succeed in this
> company. He routinely held all requests I made for 2 to 5 days before he
> signed them.

Tobin Quereau:
Did the Director hold everyone's requests for that period of time, or just
yours? Had you addressed the need for "rush" approval on occasions with
the Director to see what procedure could be arranged if any? Is your
assertion that the Director of Material Operations "did not want me to
succeed in this company" an example of what you call internal political
reasons? If this is accepted as true, what do you think contributed to the
situation where this person would not want you to succeed? How would that
be helpful to this person or to the operation of the company?
This particular director did that which made himself look good in the eyes
of the LOB president at the time. If it suited him to hold a request, then
that is what he did. If it did not suit him, he of course acted upon it.
The assumption that is normally made is that everyone in a company is
working towards the same end. If I am looking to be promoted, then I can
make another individual miss his measurements and I my mistakes are more
easily overlooked and I am in a better position for promotion. Also, the
measurements that are being set for various departments can be in conflict.
Part delivery times can be in conflict with controling shipping costs. It's
much cheaper to ship UPS ground than Fed. Ex.
Tobin Quereau:
Do you feel
uneasy about having to misrepresent what you are doing to your own
supervisor in order to "get the job done"? In what ways is that different
than engaging in actions for "internal political reasons"?
Yes, this type of underground activity did make me feel uneasy. The reasons
that it needed to be done also made me feel uneasy. (See injustice thread)
At what point do we stand up and take the risk of doing what should be
done. These are not actions that were done on the spur of the moment, they
were done after years of building frustration in getting tasks accomplished.
There may be an entire discussion on the steps to take before one has the
right to break the rules in any situation. Was I justified in what I did?
>From the other responses... they are not convicting me. But, you only have
my side of the story, and I am still here getting a paycheck, all of the
Managers I have referred to are not.
Tobin Quereau:
I wouldn't call any group that operates by conspiracy an "LO" team.
Conspiracies are what I would hope an organizational learning approach
would eradicate.
Forgive me for taking the liberty here. Calling our "underground" a LO
really is incorrect.
Tobin Quereau:
In what ways do you think that by working to keep senior
management in the dark you are helping the company to succeed? Is there
some confusion about which issues should be resolved at your levels and
which are appropriate for senior management to be involved with? Do you
assume senior managers automatically want control over "everything"?

I guess what I am feeling overall is some confusion over the openness and
directness with which you describe these situations with us on the list
and the secrecy and indirectness which you felt were required in the
situations you described. Were you unable to discuss these issues with
managers as openly? This is certainly a good example of how difficult it
can be when basic levels of trust and ability to communicate between
people is damaged.
Senior management was never kept in the dark as to what needed to occur.
Their inactivity did not allieviate the need. One of the issues that must
be stated here is that there were no clear goals, objectives, job
descriptions (still not), and certainly no clear mission statement until a
year ago. How have I been measured, generally speaking, only subjectively
in how well I have been able make the director I work for look good.
Fortunetly or unfortunetly, I became fairly good at giving a supportive
perception to upper management. I am writing from hindsight here and many
things are a lot clearer as individuals, once in confidence with now absent
managers, tell a few stories.
>From Conspiritorial LO teams LO7220
Michael Erickson wrote:

The learning organization concepts exploit Honesty and Working
together, I think they are Value base, and add weight to my belief that it
is the foundational values held by the people in an organization that
makes it or breaks it in the long term. As a full participant in the
"system support underground" - I'm happy to see others participating. I
think thats how a full blown Learning Org will develop.
Thanks for the vote of confidence!

More response after the weekend. I promise!

Archie Kregear


Archie Kregear <>

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