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Never, in the history of the world, has an entity been more enamored of acronyms than the military. The Corporate world comes in a close second place. It seems as if someone in the distant past performed a time-management study and discovered enough phrases in the corporate world used with enough frequency that there would be a significant time and cost savings by using their acronyms instead of the actual phrases. Little did they know that, to most people on the outside and more than a few on the inside, these acronyms make any normal conversation sound like a foreign language. Any time saved by the use of the acronyms as opposed to the phrases they represent is more than wasted by the need to explain or look up the meanings of these acronyms as they are used. Time-management studies performed just for the sake of themselves, intended confusion and the use of acronyms simply because they can be used are all key prinicples of Isometrics.

Let’s start with a couple of the acronyms that might be commonly used across the corporate world but are definitely well used in our neck of the Isometric woods.

AOP: Annual Operating Plan – the schedule of events and responsibilities that details the actions to be taken in order to accomplish the goals and objectives laid out for the coming year. Common usage: “We have had to downgrade the AOP again this year due to our incredibly inaccurate forecasts.”

COE: Centers Of Excellence – these are the departments that house the employees with the most knowledge in their field.  There can be a Finance COE, a Manufacturing COE, IT COE or a HR COE.  Common usage:  “We should have renamed the Finance COE the Finance COA (Center Of Arrogance).”

Now let’s discuss a company-specific acronym that just didn’t seem to be very well thought out.

PAP: Projected Annual Production – the manufacturing production schedule for the current year detailing the number of units to be manufactured per year/month/day. Common usage: “As unpleasant as we all know it can be, we are going to have to go in for another PAP.  This one just did not turn out good enough because it was based on our AOP.”

The PAP? Honestly? Did no one see this one at its inception? Granted, it is an acronym for a legitimate measure, but couldn’t someone have thought up something better? Annual Production Plan…Annual Unit Plan…Annual Manufacturing Plan. They’re not great but at least they don’t sound like a semi-invasive, exploratory procedure. The ultimate beauty of the PAP is that it fits perfectly in the Isometric world. Employees can hold serious conversations, repeating “PAP” over and over, while secretly laughing on the inside.

Finally let’s take a look at a few acronyms we think would be more fitting with the Isometric Business world.

SHIT: Screeching Halt Inventory Technology – the latest and greatest inventory control techniques which are incorrectly utilized and generally make situations worse than they were before implementation. Common usage: “Congratulations. The annual inventory is way off this year. This SHIT has finally done us in.”

NUTS: Negatively Utilized Technology Status – the degree of damage done to a company’s bottom line and employee morale when it acquires or promotes new technology ineffectively. Common usage: “We need to get this inefficient software released on time in order to ensure our NUTS is bigger than it was last year.”

DAMN: Daily Approximate Mandatory Notification. The DAMN is the number of unnecessary notifications, through email, memos or postings on the company intranet, which each employee must receive each day. Common usage: “I keep getting all of these DAMN emails that don’t mean anything” or “Did you see all of the DAMN postings on the bulletin board?”

CRAP: Caffeinated Ratio of Active Personnel – the number of personnel versus the total who require caffeine to perform their jobs adequately or maintain enough sanity to avoid committing either suicide or murder in the workplace. Any given company generally runs at a high CRAP level and still makes enough profit to benefit its investors and members of the Board of Directors. There is, however, a theoretical CRAP limit above which a company should not try to operate or it will run the risk of self destruction; this is also known as a CRAP storm.

PENIS: Production Employees of Nominal Intelligence and Savvy – these are your run-of-the-mill employees that are used to fill what would otherwise be empty seats. The PENISes are generally the first to be cut, after the troublemakers, when the economy and business turn sour. On a human level it still hurts to cut a PENIS, regardless of its worth, but you must remember that these PENISes were not really useful members of your organization to begin with.

GIMPS: Global Initiative for Marketing Product Specialists – these are the individuals with intimate knowledge of company product.  Customers can obtain detailed information from the GIMPS.  GIMPS can also issue quotes to customers who request special products be installed on the equipment.  Common usage:  “This quote I just got from the GIMPS is at least twice as expensive as their competitor” or “I couldn’t get a quote out of the GIMPS because they require a minimum order of 12 pieces of equipment.”  Also:  “Even though the GIMPS are handicapped by management and cannot issue me a reasonable quote, they really know their stuff.”

Finally, one of my personal favorites. One of our main competitors created a system (named the System of Active Stability) several years ago to stabilize its equipment during use. Due to the nature of our equipment, there are certain conditions under which it could be misused, rendering it highly vulnerable to tipping. Internally a few of the employees at our company wanted to create a similar system which we would have called:

ASS: Active Stability System

We even had the perfect marketing tagline if such a system were to be developed and produced: “You’ll feel safer when you’re riding on your ASS!!” Hey, if the Big Ass Fan Company could get away with it, why couldn’t we.

Just remember, the language of the Isometric Business world may not always make sense. In fact, if you work in a truly Isometric company at least some of the language shouldn’t make sense to anyone. This is usually in the best interest of the company and is a form of defense against corporate espionage. Embrace the use of acronyms. Without them everyone might understand what is going on and we all know that road can lead to disaster.

As always, please feel free to leave comments here at the blog or send us an email at Isometric.Principles.Of.Business@gmail.com.  We would love to hear more examples of Isometric Principles being utilized in your company.

Isometric Principles Of Business – Allowing you to better understand the corporate world…hook, line and sinker.

Picture, if you will, two hands pressed against each other. Palm toward palm. They look like what you would call “prayer hands.” Look closer. They don’t look relaxed enough to be used for prayer. They look strained. In fact, they look as if they are under tremendous pressure. Is it two people pushing against each other? It could be except for the fact that the hands look so similar. Zoom out a little bit. These hands are connected to arms that are wearing a business suit. The suit jacket sleeves look identical. Zoom out further. These hands belong to the same person. It looks like this person is pressing his own hands against themselves and straining as hard as he can. He’s having a pushing contest with himself and getting nowhere. Neither hand is giving ground. All he is doing is succeeding in wasting his own energy without achieving anything  useful.

You have just witnessed the essence of the Isometric Principles of Business. We have all seen some of these principles placed in effect by the companies we work for and have all seen the results or lack thereof. With luck you will never see more than one or two of these principles used in your company at any given time. We, however, can testify that we have seen them ALL used, sometimes concurrently or even simultaneously, in the company within the mobile equipment industry which employs us and several thousand other people worldwide. We dedicate this blog to that company. It has made us the cynical SOBs that we are today.

The IPOB group is determined to further the belief that a single company can and will be its own worst enemy in the business world. We will enlighten others with the instances we have witnessed where a company has done everything in its power (and beyond) to blindly bring itself to its knees.

Although this blog has been created by those working for a specific mobile-equipment manufacturer  we strongly believe the principles outlined in the as-yet unreleased book “The Isometric Principles of Business” can be used by any company in any industry.