Thursday, June 8, 2017

Executive You Need DODAT

Executive, do you need DODAT?
DODAT stands for Distributive On Demand Administrative Tasking

By Samuel Orrin Sewell

There is an inherent problem in the workplace with all people. We all have instinctual trouble staying focused that’s why we have sayings like: “keep your eye on the ball” that applies to many things, beyond the world of golf. When it comes to Air Traffic control, in spite of the fact that there are many things going on in the control tower, these professionals need to pay attention to the aircraft they are controlling, regardless of the other activity around them. This is particularly true in control centers and pilots must focus on being aviators rather than the scenery.

As if not keeping your eye on the ball is not enough of a problem, when a primary objective goal is necessitated by a boss, it creates other inefficiency in the workplace. 

A common trait amongst all of the critters on the planet is resisting being restrained or controlled.

Why does the dog always strain at the lease? Why is your cat always trying to escape? Of course this behavior also shows up in humans. People instinctively workout their childhood agenda with anyone they identify as being reminiscent of a parent or authority figure and they subconsciously try to escape or avoid the supervision of a supervisor or manager. DODAT provides a solution for these behaviors in the workplace.

There are certain personality types that are more likely to not keep their eye on the ball and at the same time resist instruction from others.

The personality types, known as the SJs, have a tendency to be distracted by all of the other things which “need” to be accomplished. The way to keep them on track is to give them only one task, the most immediate, or Primary Objective, at a time.

In order to tie together focus and resistance I give you examples:
Some children will climb over the restraining rail on their crib and you will find them in bed with you even though they are supposed to be in their crib. Other babies will simply cry and beg to be let out of the crib. Behavioral scientists have studied this behavior in toddlers by constructing a fence in a room placing a favorite toy, bottle or mother on the other side of the fence. Some children will plaintively cry and extend their arms toward the parent begging to be on the other side of the fence. Other children will attack the fence, attempt to dismantle the fence or climb over the fence. When those children grow up, most of the adults management will want to hire are those that comply with the restraints although subconsciously resisting them. Subconscious emotions do not remain unexpressed they simply show up in the behaviors of the individual. Psychologists call this behavior “acting out.”

The children who resist the restraints are not hired by companies many but times they start companies or provide creative solutions as troubleshooters for problems to the companies where they are employed. They subscribe to the philosophy “if the gate is locked, jump over the fence!” The child with the initiative to jump the fence will become the employee who is able to work under pressure and devise “work arounds” which are solutions that stall other employees.

However, those children who accept the restraints imposed upon them have not lost their rebellious nature; it is simply sublimated and shows up as sabotaging the goal of any goals of an authority figure. Psychologists call this passive aggressive behavior, an outward appearance of compliance where subconscious rebellion is the actual outcome. The rebellious nature of humans is almost impossible to remove, if they do not overtly resist by climbing over the “blocked fence” they will subconsciously resist with passive aggressive behavior. Subconscious rebellion is a real problem for management.
It is important for supervisors and managers to modify this trait manifesting in human behavior. Here is how management can detect those persons that are prone to subconscious behavior, and provide a solution to correct that behavior because these are the same people that make valuable employees.
There are several versions of diagnostic testing to help management personnel make enlightened decisions about their employees. However, I have never seen any of those inventories address the issue of how to manage “worker bees.” Human Resources deliberately select employees who are worker bees. That policy is effective because certain personality types make the best employees in many positions.
Two of those personality type indicators are also frequently used by psychotherapists.

1.   Myers-Briggs Personality Types, and
2.   Keirsey Temperament Sorter.

While these two inventories are practically identical, neither of these inventories identifies the personality traits that make the best employees as worker bees. The “worker bees” designation for good employees is my personal name for them.

The most dependable and efficient personality types that human resources managers would prefer to select for many positions are the ISTJ personality type or the ESTJ personality type.

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfiller
I stands for Introverted.
S stands for Sensing.
T stands for Thinkers.
J stands for Judger.

Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible, and dependable. Well-developed powers of concentration. Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. Well-organized and hard working, they work steadily towards identified goals. They can usually accomplish any task once they have set their mind to it. And since they are introverts they do not waste company time with idle chat. Once bonded to an institution or a supervisor, they are very loyal.
The second most valuable employee is an ESTJ

ESTJ - The Guardian
E stands for Extroverted.
S stands for Sensing.
T stands for Thinkers.
J stands for Judger.
Practical, traditional, and organized. Likely to be athletic. Not interested in theory or abstraction unless they see the practical application. Have clear visions of the way things should be. Loyal and hard-working. Like to be in charge. Exceptionally capable in organizing and running activities. "Good citizens" who value security and peaceful living. But this personality is an extrovert so they may spend company time in social interaction.
Wouldn’t you know, these exemplary employees have endemic flaws? All 16 personality types have virtues and flaws endemic to their personalities.( A complete description of the 16 personality traits can be found at this link. )

The ISTJ and ESTJ, while they are both good workers, can have behavioral problems that detract from the efficiency of a business. The DODAT Program modifies these problems.

Frequently these behavior problems cause employees to do anything except achieve management’s goals. They are frequently passive aggressive meaning, outward compliance and inner avoidance.
You’ll notice that the types in the examples below are SJs; the most numerous personality types. The SJs up 52% of all humanity; even though there are 16 distinctive personality types. This is a favorable statistic if what supervisors and management are looking for is “worker bees.” Yes the SJs are most dependable efficient employees with good work ethics.
Here are four examples of the personality flaws of these two exemplary employees.

1.   There is a sign at the escalator that says do not walk up the steps. People on the escalator have different behavior when the escalator stalls. The SJs, being outwardly compliant with the rule displayed in the sign, will actually stand still on the escalator waiting for it to start because they are “forbidden” to walk up the steps. SJs are so devoted to rules that they are likely to report the people who walked up the stairs to the safety officer in the organization. This tendency to follow the rules is usually a good thing but occasionally the rules need to be improvised. Sometimes managers and supervisors are also SJs and they may chastise or punish the non SJ employee who breaks the rules to solve a problem.

People with a different personality type will understandably use the steps on the escalator to reach the next floor, disregarding the forbidding message at the entrance to the escalator. SJs will comply with rules even if the rule does not offer a solution to a unique problem. SJs are incapable of adjusting to anything outside the box or deviations from company policy. “Work arounds are essential to any organization, and your valued SJ employees cannot do work arounds.”  

2.   The United States Marine Corp is well known for the rules it imposes on Marines. However another instruction to Marines is “always follow orders unless the orders don’t work; then improvise, adapt and overcome.” The reason the instruction to improvise is necessary is because SJs, by their very nature, are attracted to the Marine Corp. Generally not being able to improvise to make an appropriate response that is not covered by a company manual brings an SJ employee to a noncompliant stand still because they do not know how to improvise.

3.   A trucking dispatcher confronted by a situation that is not covered by the company manual will continue to perform his preferred, first come first served value system, and is not capable of adapting or improvising a solution. A trucker in the heat of Texas delivering frozen foods is low on fuel and has no personal finances available to purchase fuel, and he has misplaced his voucher for the truck stop gas pump. He contacts the trucking the company dispatcher and asks them to solve the problem. The memo for taking care of that problem is sent to the dispatcher’s inbox, and does not get immediate attention because previous, less urgent tasks are handled in chronological order, disregarding the new, urgent request. There is no policy available to this dispatcher that would cause the dispatcher to improvise with the obvious solutions, and thousands of dollars of frozen foods could be spoiled. As the trucker is also an SJ, and does not know how to improvise his own solution, he drinks a dozen cups of coffee waiting for someone else to implement the obvious solution.

SJs are so fond of complying with rules, even if the rules are obviously dysfunctional, they will comply anyway. In fact they are so fond of rules they make up rules for other people, and if other people violate the rules derived from the company manual or rules they themselves have made up, they get angry and judgmental.

4.   Another example of that rule oriented SJ behavior actually happened to me when I was in the Navy. Junior officers in the Navy are frequently assigned to be OFFICER OF THE DAY. You wear an arm band stating OD, to designate your position. Your task is to drive a pickup truck that also says OD on the side, and visit all of the duty stations on your base, just keeping an eye on things. Occasionally you are assigned other minor tasks. I was ordered to pick up two enlisted men from their barracks who had violated some petty rule and were now doing additional duty. Their assignment was to groom the landscape in front of the operations department. I transported these petty violators to the tool shed on the base and instructed them to acquire a hoe, shovel and rake to do their job. They returned to the pickup with a hoe and rake, but no shovel. When I asked them why they didn’t have a shovel: “Sir,” they said, “they wouldn’t give us a shovel.” So as the Officer of the Day, I walked into the tool shed and I said “my men requested a shovel and didn’t get one.” The sailor at the counter, being an SJ, said “I’m sorry Sir, but I’m not in charge of shovels.” I pointed to the rack of tools, and said “there’s a shovel right there.” He replied, “I’m sorry Sir I’m not in charge of shovels.” So I responded in a rather irritated voice, “well who is in charge of shovels?” “Well he’s out to lunch Sir.” Since I am not an SJ, I walked over and grabbed a shovel, and walked back to my pickup truck. I delivered the two sailors to do their additional duty to the operations department, and continued on my rounds to inspect the rest of the naval base.

A few hours later, I returned to the operations department, picked up my offending sailors, took them to their barracks, and returned the lawn equipment to the tool shed. The person in charge of shovels was an SJ, and since I violated a rule he reported me to his superior. The officer in charge of the tool shed was also an SJ with a need to punish violators of the rules, so he reported me to the Captain of the base. Navy Policy requires that anyone who has violated a rule must stand a Captains’ Mast. In my low ranking position, Captains are almost godlike, so I was understandably intimidated by being ordered to Captains’ Mast. I reported to the Captain to answer to my violation of the rules, and was relieved to find out this wasn’t an official Captains’ Mast, but merely a reporting to the Captain. When the Captain, who was not an SJ, understood the situation he stated, so what you did was improvise to get the job done. Well done, you are dismissed.

"Beware of those in whom the will to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzsche

SJs are so dedicated to performing their job that if their job is arranging deck chairs, that they will continue to arrange decks chairs, rather than help launch the life boats on the sinking Titanic.

Here are two examples of how this psychological trait is manifested in large corporations.

When General Motors adopted a new management style which had to do with authoritative management styles, it increased absenteeism, far more loss of quality control and actual sabotage on the assembly line. General Motors corrected this problem by putting their workers in charge of the quality of their own work, and to this day, if you disassemble your General Motors automobile, you will find the names of the workers who built your car inscribed in the metal in much the same way that an artist will sign his name to his creation. They now owned their tasks rather than having their tasks imposed upon them.

IBM had a management style that was very organized; very strict. The IBM people all had the same hair cut, dressed in the same suits, and they were very much like a military organization. Frequently IBM employees were mistaken as FBI Agents J
That kind of rigidness was obvious to all the employees.

The noncompliant/creative people whom they kept in the basement didn’t dress the same way, had long hair and smoked a different kind of cigarette, were ordered to conform to company dress code and appearance codes.

The noncompliant people went to another noncompliant position in other companies.
Steve Jobs stole much of IBM’s market share when he created Apple Computer, which is staffed by creative noncompliant people.

IBM lost its ability to create cutting edge products when it disregarded the value of the personality types. It’s important that managers distinguish these traits to ensure compliant and noncompliant employees are placed in a position where they can become an asset to the company. The reason there are 16 personality types is that the human community needs all 16 types in order to operate effectively.

However, would you really want a non SJ who was not committed to adhering to the manual to be in charge of management of the escalator, creating chaos in the tool shed, or have free reign expending company funds to pay for gasoline? Nor would you want a non SJ to design the bridge over which you are driving.

So SJs are valuable and absolutely essential to any business, but they need to be monitored and managed or chaos will also infect your company.

The effect of policies and rules implemented by SJs can severely cripple any organization. It would behoove companies do a policy review every five years to eliminate unnecessary or redundant policies that are obsolete and frequently restrict implementation of a new policy.

Unfortunately most governments have no such policy, and that is why our citizens are burdened with impediments to progress in every sphere.
Subconscious behavior frequently shows up in an employees’ work. Sabotage behavior is subconscious, outwardly compliant, subconsciously sabotaging the projects on which they are working. A manager should give the employee only those tasks management wants to achieve. By narrowing the scope of work, the employee can consciously comply, rather than delaying management’s goal because it is not specific. When they don’t have a specific goal, they revert to their subconscious level and sabotage management goals.
There is a universal behavioral problem with SJ subordinates. They are subconsciously doing anything they can to delay, or not comply with, any authority figure. However, the DODAT Program only gives one option. Rather than allow the employee’s subconscious to deviate from the priority task, and do busy work to satisfy their internal demand to prove they are a valued employee, the DODAT Program helps the SJs focus on the task management has selected.

Here is how the DODAT Program is applied in a business

Distributive, in an administrative environment as applied by DODAT, means many take tasks from a pool of tasks. In most organizations a task is somehow delivered to a single person, somewhat irrespective of workload and interest level. In its worst application, the standard task delivery system allows workers to pick and choose their work, order work by their level of interest, and ignore work they do not want to do.

Under DODAT, a worker takes a task from the server in a priority level set by management. They cannot take more tasks than they can handle in short bursts. They also cannot pick and choose what task to take and who requested the task. Task accountability is absolute as the task itself, the person acting upon the task; and the ultimate conclusion of the task is recorded and can be monitored for timeliness and accuracy.

Further to the reporting system, end requestor and transaction reference number can track tasks, which arrive through the system. This allows for drill down data to be analyzed by the originator and other parties to the transaction. By creating baseline transaction averages, users who originate more tasks per transaction quickly become apparent, and remedial action can be assessed for end users over the statistical norm. In most organizations these quantifications are generally subjective; under DODAT they are empirically validated.

On Demand in an administrative environment means the worker requests a task on his or her own volition. The concept is the same as Lean Manufacturing employed in the Toyota Operating System and Kanban

When an SJ primary personality [Phlegmatic under Myers-Briggs, or Guardian under Keirsey] which represents about 52% of the population, has more tasks in their visible queue, they get overwhelmed. They will actually slow down precisely at the moment they should be speeding up. Their primary actuator is “no trouble” which sets their internal prioritization logic to first-in, first-out, and may conflict with management goals of the most important (also read effective) utilization of their time. In fact their time is spent in conflict with their internal values.

What makes Distributive Workforce Deployment so powerful is that workers are not required to prioritize; tasks are presented in a preordained order by management. Workers do not pick and choose more pleasing tasks and task originators; instead workers pull the next available task, never seeing all available work.

Distributive also optimizes workflow in that personnel from other parts of the company can back-fill in peak periods. Our internal reports show a peak of end-user originated tasks (containing our first and second level priorities) peak between 9AM and 1PM, occasionally overriding the capabilities of our main support group. In those times if tasks sit too long, other company personnel resources are temporarily recruited to assist in clearing the overage.

The distributing mechanism actually times, and alarms time sensitive tasks, and only distributes work beyond the main queue upon business rules set by management. This alternate distribution serves another purpose as well, as it illustrates labor force shortages, not only at that instance, but also in a macro sense, through analyzing longer time periods and time-of-day and day-of-week staffing needs. It also keeps management in touch with the daily work by giving them a sense of “what goes on out there.” This information is used frequently in management meetings to apply new procedures in spot troublesome systems.

DODAT has the capability of having as many priority levels as needed. In its current application we have identified four primary priority levels:
1.   Work which needs an immediate response
2.   Work which needs to be done before non-time-sensitive work
3.   Non-time-sensitive (in any immediate sense) work
4.   Optional time-permitting work

You could add other variations, or use a scoring system; the premise is the same. Management sets the priorities. In a properly incented compensation system, the optional time permitting work will get done, if there is no incentive to clear all other tasks and open up this work for compensation, that work will never get done unless management intervenes creating a management time drain or worse, having to make an additional hire to be assigned this work, which is the usual management response and highly unproductive.

Administrative Tasking simply defines the scope of which tasks are being put through the system. It does not address the informational output, which as discussed above, provides previously uninterruptable throughout analysis and origination. The concept is so simple that it confounded two doctorate level patent attorneys and support staff until a simple meeting interruption defined the problem, the results, and the consequences of past management practices.

What DODAT really does, at the end of the day, is to make an expiring commodity, human time, more efficient, visible and accountable. It does so for the most part in silence and satisfaction of the originator, employee, and end-user of a task. Once tasks can be quantified, tasks that could be fully automated or shifted to less expensive methodologies manifest themselves into dollars and cents, multiplied by frequency.

DODAT thrives in a high-paced environment heavy with administrative functions. It performs best in a properly incented workforce, with more focus on individual compensation than team compensation. It has been successfully employed in both a W2 environment and an independent contractor environment. By far the independent contractor environment outperformed the salaried or hourly wage W2 environment, due to its completely variable pay-for-performance aspect.

BIO –Samuel Orrin Sewell served on the faculty of an accredited Christian college where he researched and created the Marketing and Management Science Curriculum. Now he is a psychotherapist in private practice, and also provides management training for business and religious organizations. Sam can be reached at Best Self USA, 239-591-4565. The clinic web page is at: http://bestselfusa.

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