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We are decades into the greatest technological age mankind has ever seen.  During these days the advancements continue to astonish us and make our lives better.  It should always be your goal to determine how best to utilize the current and newest technologies to advance your company’s interests.

As every business strives to move toward a paperless environment more and more computerized systems must be invented and implemented.  These systems have become necessary to the way we do business today.  They also present unique obstacles as well.

The systems your company uses should do everything possible to take advantage of available technology.  These advancements will allow your employees to become more efficient and more valuable to the company.  This value can be perceived as good and bad.  Thankfully the Isometric Principles of Business kick in to bring things back into balance.

The more advanced your systems become the more training your employees will require in order to use them.  Due to the nature of our ever-advancing society you company’s systems will continually be upgraded, requiring your employees to undergo constant training.  Through the beauty of Isometrics this training, along with the hiccups associated with implementing and troubleshooting new systems, effectively negate the improved efficiency of your employees and maintaining the Isometric balance.

Once these new systems have undergone their initial design they must go through testing.  It is widely accepted that the testing phase is a mere formality. Testing is normally believed to be the stage in which suggestions are made by various users and potential problems and issues are uncovered.  These are common misconceptions which should be encouraged at all costs.

During testing the testers will claim to discover problems with the new systems which they claim will decrease or hinder its usefulness.  Even if these claims are suspected to be true they should be overlooked.  The adversity the new users will be confronted with once the systems are implemented will only help to strengthen them and improve their skills.  Adversity breeds inventiveness.  Your employees will use this inventiveness in an effort to use the systems to accomplish anything useful.

No amount of negative feedback should change implementation plans in the least; if anything the “go date” can and should be moved up.  A move of this nature will help keep everyone on their toes.  Remember that every time a new system or software is put into play, millions of dollars have most likely been spent in the development.  It is often believed that the only way any of this money can be recouped is after the new software is put into action.  If this is truly the case then the sooner everyone is using it the sooner that money will be recouped.

New systems and software will be implemented on (or before, if possible) their published deadlines no matter what.  Send out daily or even hourly, if possible, updates to keep everyone aprised of progress.  Problems become opportunities.  Issues become unrealized advancements.  Stumbling blocks become chasms of possibility.  Within the last month of a multimillion dollar rollout, move the deadline up a week.  This gives everyone a chance to “show their stuff.”

After implementation feel free to send out questionnaires on a monthly basis.  The perceived purpose of these “fact finding” messages will be to gather input and opinions on the new software.  The real purpose will be to collect information on the users themselves.  Keep track of the naysayers and their complaints.  This is useful information that can later be used to “thin the herd.”  A few days after each questionnaire send out a summary of the results.  Feel free to invent data that, over time, shows that all of the users have slowly come around to the point where they love the new software and have no more complaints.  No one will question your presentation of this data.

Remember, the rollout of new software and new systems is not to be taken delicately.  There is often a lot of money and manpower riding on these new implementations.  It is your job as the employer to ensure that everyone perceives the value of these tools.  Those that are steadfast in their objections can be taken care of later.

During the current economic climate it is often necessary to relieve employees of their employment. While often a delicate process the removal of employees from your service should not just happen as necessity dictates. The laying off of your workers can also be used as a motivational and disciplinary tool.

The techniques we divulge below can be used in any location in the United States; they are, however, most useful in “at will” states. If you happen to be in a state that does not employ “at will”, make sure you have good lawyers standing by. Lucky enough to be in an “at will” state? The good news is you can let anyone go at any time for no reason whatsoever! And you should, too.

We cannot stress enough that employees are so similar to herd beasts that the two are nearly indistinguishable. They flock together, cannot think for themselves and need to be guided every step of the way. With herd animals you can use the practice of culling to remove the weaker animals, thus strengthening the herd. You play the part of nature in an effort to improve the species and heighten the value of your stock. It is typically frowned upon to kill those employed by you but there are other ways to strengthen your “herd”.

The only acceptable version of culling in the workplace is laying off employees. A company should never wait until business turns sour before laying off its workers. The art of the layoff can be use to great effect in keeping the “herd” in line.

During the difficult times a company will often be forced to remove the lowest class of its workers in a misguided attempt at keeping itself strong. The misconception is that by retaining only the apparently useful workers your department or company will remain strong. As with most misconceptions, thinking in this fashion is incorrect. Departments and companies can remain strong during the good times and the bad by firing employees indiscriminately and seemingly at random.

All employees are expected to work the requisite number of hours each week. In reality we all know this just doesn’t happen. Any given individual will typically perform anywhere between 10 and 20 hours of actual work in a given week. These numbers can be boosted significantly by implementing the random firing.

Here’s how it works:

Choose an employee that is well-liked by his or her peers who is also known to be a fairly good worker. Fire that employee. The results will be evident immediately and they will be dramatic. The key to these effective results is to avoid disclosing exactly why the person was let go. This lack of actual information is instrumental in the rest of the herd imagining the reasons for the termination. They will dream up any and every possible reason and apply it to their own work ethic. The result: all of the remaining employees will work harder to ensure they do not fall prey to the same imagined circumstances.

It is in this way that you can keep your “herd” properly motivated.  Encourage turnover and a proper mix of individuals by occasionally hiring “fresh meat” solely for the purpose of firing an existing employee at a later date.  Another principle we cannot stress enough:  always keep them guessing.

Culling your herd in this fashion will ensure you have the strongest blend of workers to provide you with the greatest results.  After a few seemingly random firings the productivity of your personnel will increase in an astonishing manner.  Always remember the visual representation of the Isometric Principles of Business:  two hands pushing against each other.  You, as manaagement, are one hand and your employees are the other.  Neither should have the advantage.  As you strengthen your workforce through culling your position as manager will likewise become stronger.

Remember that the visual representation of the Isometric Principles of Business is the two hands pushing against each other, neither gaining ground over the other. While this is the perfect form of the IPOB it is nearly impossible to achieve. A vast majority of the time, in real life, one of the “hands” in your business will indeed prevail.

Marketing research in certain areas of the mobile equipment industry has led to the realization that the optimum business model involves a multi-brand company selling three brands of its equipment.  These three brands would be set up as follows:

  1. An option-packed brand with quality that is perceived as being higher than the other two.
  2. A mid-grade brand without all the optional bells and whistles as the first brand.
  3. A “plain jane”, economy brand presented with limited options.

This three-brand business model does not lend itself to the appropriate level of Isometrics.  The three separate brands target the different needs of different companies and there is limited overlap and thus limited self-competition.  It cannot be stressed enough that this self-competition is what is needed to simultaneously drive a company to its knees and make it thrive in the marketplace.

The true Isometric business model involves two brands under the umbrella of one parent company.  These two brands could be built within the same factories.  They could be identical except for brand related badging but would have to be marketed separately in order to maintain the appropriate level of competition.

The two brand model also requires that the brands vie for the same customers.  Indeed, the brands should make every effort to outbid each other at any opportunity that should arise.  We cannot state enough that it is just this type of competition that drives a company to succeed.

You might now be asking yourself how a company is supposed to set itself up in this Isometric business model.  The easiest way to achieve this is for a parent company to acquire two competing manufacturers of the same type of product; in this case that product is mobile equipment.  This, however, is just the beginning.

Most likely the two brands that have been acquired are already well established in their own rights.  Their customer bases probably overlap at certain points but they also have their own specialized niches in the industry.  The key is to coax the two brands to synergize their products to the point they become indistinguishable from one another if it were not for their identifying badging.

Granted, this synergization would be a slow process; possibly on the order of decades.  There will also invariably be one brand that gives up more in the way of specialized equipment and ideas to the other.  In the end it will all come together as the two can compete on equal footing.  Once they are completely synergized the true self-defeating competition can really begin.

The competition begins to exhibit Isometric perfection when one of the brands is willing to underbid the other in an effort to gain the advantage.  At the point where the underbidder is able to secure the rights to sell equipment to a longtime customer of its sister brand the Isometric Principles have truly been achieved.  At first it may seem almost asinine for one of the brands to sell an identical product to a longtime customer of its internal competitor for so much less than that customer previously paid.  These circumstances are definitely not asinine; they are nearly sublime.

Even though the one brand has outbid the other the parent company has still maintaned the business it had previously.  The same equipment supplied in the past will still be supplied in the future.  In short, there has been no drop in the required output of the manufacturing plants and the losing brand has learned a valuable lesson.

The lesson?   Self-defeating competition has once again strengthened a company in ways that no external competitor ever could.  The one “hand” has seemingly gained the advantage at this juncture.  This advantage cannot hold for long before the other “hand” will prevail.  When viewed in the long term neither hand truly prevails and thus the image of them pressing against each other holds true.  Isometric Principles of Business work, and they work very, very well.condron.us

As we have stated previously employees, like sheep,  must be led where you want them to go.  Left unchecked, they will only lead themselves into trouble.  In order to lead your employees in the right direction you must dole out information much like food is portioned out to a dog.  Employees provided with unlimited access to information will habitually gorge themselves on this knowledge which will lead to independent thought and rebellion.  Finally, remember that employees should never be physically abused in such a way that the abuse can be documented and proven.  This is the point where the “animal” analogy ends.  Mental and emotional abuse is acceptable in legally ambiguous circumstances.

What actions must be taken if employee actions are to be rigidly directed?   Just like we said previously, information control equals employee control.  When broken down like this it becomes almost self-evident:

Knowledge is power

Power corrupts

Therefore

Knowledge corrupts

It is in the best interests of the employees and the company to give the “worker bees” as little knowledge and information as possible.  These actions will obviously help to keep them from being corrupted.  Employee corruption has a direct impact on every aspect of business, especially upper-level management bonuses and profit sharing.

You are now probably asking yourself how best to control the flow of knowledge and information within your company.  There are several ways.  Two of the most effective are disinformation and vague-ification.  Let’s explore these techniques further.

Disinformation

Let’s face it, companies are in a constant war with their employees.  If you give your workers an inch, they will take a mile.  You must therefore NEVER give them that inch.  Or you must convince them they have been given an inch when, in fact, you have taken the mile from them without their knowledge.  Wars are won with psychological warfare.  One of the key components of psy-ops is the spreading of disinformation.  Just be sure none of the disinformation that is being spread around can be traced back to the true source.  If the employees on the receiving end happen to put it in writing the consequences will fall on their heads.

Rumor-mongering, as a subset of disinformation, can be a powerful weapon in the eternal battle between employer and employee.  Your company must be fully prepared to initiate rumors both internally and externally.  The beauty of rumors is that they can either be completely true or contain little to no factual information at all.  The choice is yours.  Just remember to spice it up.  For every three rumors that are false feel free to start one that is 80% truth.  Once again, this will keep the employees on their toes.

Should you choose not to take on the responsibilities of active rumor-mongering remember that passive mongering can be just as effective.  Rumors have a way of starting themselves as the employees’ imaginations begin to run wild.  Passive rumor-mongering is the art of deciding which of these independently-initiated rumors to confirm and which to dispel.  Remember, an unconfirmed rumor, which turns out to be true, makes the next one that much more believable.  As with active mongering, you should never fall into a set routine of confirmation or dispelling.  I cannot stress enough that the employees must be kept on their toes.

Vague-ification

Every company has an employee handbook.  It is almost as if there are laws that require employees be notified of their “rights” and the rules they must follow within a company.  At least we know that having employees work for a company is their privilege, not their right.

The beauty of the information age is that these handbooks no longer need to be printed such that each employee has a company-issued hard copy.  The handbooks can now be posted on company intranet sites and can be revised as necessary at a moment’s notice.  As with dating, never let them anticipate your next move.

Even though the intranet-based handbook can be altered or updated immediately it should never contain any clear or concise information.  Every rule and guideline should be written with the intent that it would take 500 lawyers 500 years sitting in front of 500 typewriters to decipher the convoluted logic.  The handbook must also contain verbiage directing employees to contact human resource personnel for clarification.  Each company should then ensure that any employees inquisitive enough to seek out help from HR are met with what seem to be the most incompetent and confused “help.”  It is your choice whether you actually hire incompetent HR personnel or just good actors.  It is imperative that any employee interacting with Human Resource personnel never know the difference between the two.

It cannot be impressed upon you enough that the flow of information is vital to the functioning of any company or entity.  If that flow is vital, control of it is even more important.  Since you are not legally allowed to strangle employees your only recourse is to strangle the flow of information upon which they rely.  Without all of the information they crave the employees must submit to company rule and guidance.  Through the methods mentioned above your company can Isometrically lead itself into the future and prosperity.

Until next time, keep the faith.

Isometric Principles Of Business – Taking mediocrity to the extreme.

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The ultimate double feature that exemplifies the very essences of the Isometric Principles of Business would have to include the movies Office Space and Falling Down.

Office Space is like an upper. Sure, it’s a little depressing to see that what happens in your office apparently is not an isolated incident. But it’s also amusing to see your office life depicted in such a humorous fashion. Everyone who has worked in the corporate environment can identify with several of the characters in the film. You may even recognize some of your coworkers or, at the very least, some of their habits portrayed in the characters. Honestly, who hasn’t wanted to beat the living hell out of a fax machine or photocopier?  What about your computer?  Surely we can all also relate to Tom Smykowski.  He’s the guy who hates his job and attempts to commit suicide by CO poisoning in his garage.  His wife opens the door and Tom ends up backing his car into the street where he gets hit by a truck and essentially wins the lottery through a lawsuit.  We’ve all had bad days, like Tom.  We won’t go into a synopsis of the movie. Suffice it to say that if you have never seen Office Space you should do so now.

Falling Down, however, is the be-all-end-all of downers. Falling Down is like the cinematic version of the novel “On The Beach” by Nevil Shute (aside from the actual film versions of that novel). If you have never read “On The Beach” I would recommend that you stay as far away from it as possible. Much like Falling Down it will depress you to the point that you start hiding your ammunition and sharp knives just in case you get a wild hair to end it all. Falling down is arguably Michael Douglas’s most disturbing bit of acting. We have all had bad days.  Most of us have never had as bad a day as Douglas in this film but we can all relate to circumstances sprialling out of our control. Much like Office Space, in Falling Down you will witness many similarities between what Douglas’s character goes through and events in your own life as he gets stuck in the most absurd of conversations with the most asinine of people.  Who hasn’t wanted to smack the crap out of the manager at the burger joint down the street.  We know we would love to launch a shoulder-fired rocket at the road construction equipment that has increased our commute time by 15 minutes.

Heed our advice: take a well day off from work and acquire these two movies. You won’t be disappointed with the movies but by the end you might be disappointed with your life.

More advice: Watch Falling Down first. Use the Buddy System and watch it with someone who has enough compassion for you to make you watch Office Space immediately after. We don’t want any more blood on our hands. condron.us

As has been stated previously the Isometric Principles Of Business are based on the idea that a company can and will be its own worst enemy. If competition in the industry is what drives companies to thrive then who better to compete with a company than itself? The essence of the IPOB is the vision of the two hands pushing against each other. Neither hand is stronger than the other and neither will prevail. Our company seems to work in this fashion constantly. We know our own secrets and weaknesses and consistently use them against ourselves.

Why “isometric” you ask? Let’s look at the word. Isometric is derived from some Latin words that aren’t important because they come from a dead language. If you break it down you get: iso = equal or unchanging; metric = measure or distance. Therefore the word literally means “equal measure” or “unchanging distance.”

Now, the naysayers would claim that it would have made more sense to name our concept “Isokinetic Principles of Business” due to the fact that the aforementioned hands are immovable and unchanging. Or perhaps they would have picked “Isotonic Principles of Business” because the hands are of equal strength. These same people are having trouble grasping one of the core principles of our new found corporate religion – most of the decisions made by the leaders in a company do not make sense to those not “in the know.”

The previously mentioned naysayers (you know who you are) might also point out that our motto “Where the immovable force meets the irresistible object” is incorrect. They would point out that a force does not move – it causes the object upon which it acts to move. They would also state that an object cannot be irresistible. The force should be irresistible and the object immovable. To this we say: If the Isometric Principles of Business made sense to everyone, then every company in the world would be employing them and succeeding through the art of self-competition. Obviously this is not yet the case or every company you see would be thriving beyond belief and the current economic crisis would have been averted.

If you take nothing else from the Isometric Principles Of Business at least remember that in order for any entity to thrive it must seek out and engage its greatest competitor. What competitor knows an entity’s innermost secrets and greatest weaknesses better than that entity itself. If a company cannot bring itself to an appropriate level of self-competition, that company is doomed to failure.

Isometric Principles Of Business – making logic take a backseat to doublespeak and ambiguity. condron.us

We like to think of our company as the model for the Isometric Principles Of Business. Due in part to the competing (though identical) brands of product that we produce, the two halves of our company are constantly striving to gain the advantage over the other. This competition assuredly does nothing but Isometrically strengthen the company as a whole. Unfortunately there are a great many sections of the company that support both brands equally. These departments have no opposite against which to compete. How, may you ask, do these departments stay strong and vital? The answer is to NEVER allow the employees within these departments to become too comfortable or sedentary. At any given time there must be Change For The Sake Of Change.

This Change should come at, what seems to the employees involved, the most inconvenient of times. What the employees can never be allowed to understand is that the Change is always well-timed and purposeful. They must be given a reason for the change but can never know the true reason. By their very nature, employees are like sheep or cattle. They are stupid and must be herded and led around by the noses. They must also always be watched for signs of inquisitiveness and complacency.

Our most recent bout with Change came just the other day. Due to the worsening economic conditions there have been many proposals on how to cut costs and save money. What should be told to the employees is that the most obvious solution is to populate usable office space as densely as possible. This will leave some areas unused and unneeded whereas they can then be sealed off. Upon sealing off these areas they will no longer require electricity for lights, heat or air conditioning.

The employees must be convinced that the pennies saved during the shut down of unused office areas will definitely make an impact on the bottom line if those areas remain closed long enough. There will invariably be some employees who speculate that the pennies saved by shutting these areas down will take years to offset the cost of the time involved in moving other employees around. Any employee suspected of this type of speculation must be labeled an Independent Thinker. ITs should be tracked and watched as they will often incite others to think for themselves, which should be avoided at all costs. These same employees, however, must never know or be allowed to deduce the true reasons for the consolidation.

True Reason #1: The Herd Animal – As was mentioned earlier, employees are very similar to sheep and cattle. The more closely they are packed into an area, the better and harder they work. The close quarters also lend just enough distraction to alleviate the fear that they will think too much for themselves while not distracting them too much from what they believe are their vital duties.

True Reason #2: Fear Of Dismissal – Employees who remain in one physical location too long may develop a Sense Of Permanence. This SOP can lead to the realization that their seniority or skills may protect them against mass layoffs (the Isometric Business equivalent to cullings in the animal world). By shutting down some office areas, relocating those employees and shuffling other employees around you eliminate, or at the very least, lower their SOP. The lower an employee’s SOP, the harder they are willing to work to maintain their job.

What this all amounts to is keeping your workers on their toes. It is a well-known fact that employees work better when under pressure. As with canning vegetables, it is important to know how long to keep the pressure on and when to relieve it. Employees, like cattle, are much more comfortable in close quarters. You just have to be careful not to spook them. One good backfire and you’ve got yourself a stampede. Just remember, best way to stop a stampede is to kill the cow that started it.

Until next time, keep the comments coming. Also, feel free to share your Isometric Principles as comments to this blog or feel free to email us at Isometric.Principles.Of.Business@gmail.com. condron.us