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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The “Q” Corollary

Everyone, we shall presume, is familiar with the following simple, widely known and well-worn enigmatic, rhetorical impossible to answer question:

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Well we decided, simply because of a lack of anything better to do at this time, to rephrase the question into an updated version and context:

Which came first, the circle or the square?

We have concluded that the answers to this question are indicative of today’s business management concepts and practices but nonetheless, the answers are not new. Precisely because of obvious correlations we believe that we may have the correct answer to this question.

Believe it or not, we discovered that by trying to solve the circle-square puzzle allowed us to also discover a simple common denominator for all business management concepts, precepts, practices and malpractices which so far have appeared to have eluded all the other self-appointed business management theory experts.  

Now do we have your attention?

If you are pressed for time and do not wish to read through the following paragraphs of beedle-tweep which imprecisely but somewhat concisely and accurately details how we proactively stumbled upon our amazing findings, then by all means feel free to skip over to the last paragraph of this mildly exciting but not-so-rivetting chapter. 

Really, you will not miss very much that you probably already do not know, need to know, want to know or have to know, because we don’t know whether or not we are even in the know, if you know what we mean, but if you don’t know then we don’t know either whether or not you don’t need to know.

If however, you are either stuck in traffic on the highway or you have missed your connecting flight at the airport and you now have some valuable time to waste that you did not plan on wasting, then read on and waste some of your time by reading through our long-worded short-form synopsis instead of just simply wasting your time with nothing else to do. 

After all, do you really want to spend your next hour or two checking your watch every thirty seconds to see if you may have been five minutes late for the next place you think you should have been at and could have been at but will not be at by now?

Below is our “Q” Corollary and what follows is our supporting argument.

The "Q" Corollary

“If goods and/or services can truly be called true quality, then they cannot be improved. If however, any goods or services can be improved, then they were never true quality to begin with.”

Professor Piep N. Tockmoer

One of the big illusions (lies if you want this stuff straight and undiluted) that gained prominence in the 1980’s, which successfully flourished through the 1990’s and was still going strong into the 2000’s, is this quasi-committed but truly wishy-washy drive that organizations claimed they strove for; and that was to improve quality.

The word “quality” is simply another word that has become an English language casualty through no fault of its own. The word has been so badly used, abused, over-used, misused, misdefined, misconstrued and finally undefined so that the word “quality” does not mean anything. The word “quality” has at long last been disqualified to mean what it is supposed to mean. 

The word “quality” has been slandered to death!

The word “quality” should file suit for defamation of character! 

Let us at least give the word a “quality” burial. Even we are doing it, but then again, we do not claim to offer a quality product, service or concept simply because we do not. At least we know where we stand, or would rather not stand when we visit the source of our fresh farmer’s market marketing research.

Marketing Management Expert
Professor Piep N. Tockmoer’s argument is that management experts (self-proclaimed of course, for who else would bestow this designation) most of whom were probably displaced prickly pencil pushers or downsized fussy form fillers who, no longer part of a mediocre decisive wishy-washy decision making team, would have you believe that organizations start with a good quality product or service and improve it ever upwards. 

This "Quality Drive" concept is absolute and unmitigated bunk! You should spread this stuff on your lawns and gardens next spring. This corporate beedle-tweep will even keep the grass greener on your side of the fence. So too shall flowery but incomprehensive mission statements and blurred vision drivels of organizations. In fact, if you really do not understand muddled, murky mission statements and variable poor-vision verbiage, then you are quite all right. The overwhelming confusion you feel when you choke on mission statements that you are compelled to memorize simply means that you are reacting normally and have not lost your ability to reason. It is simply beyond reason. The nausea should pass but unfortunately the cause of your nausea will not pass quick enough.

Cost versus True Quality
Most organizations, corporations, conglomerates, bureaucracies, etc. are mediocre at best and they thrive on mediocrity. The product they produce is mediocre and the service they provide is mediocre. The equilibrium which management starts with and works with is a mediocre level of mediocrity. Worse yet, government bureaucracies do not even attain mediocrity. Any level above equilibrium would cost more to achieve. Any level less than equilibrium would cost more to correct. Therefore, completely contrary to what management tells you, true quality goes completely against the ultimate result that management truly strives to achieve.

Call mediocrity what it truly is, which is mediocrity, and no one will subscribe to what they already know is true. No one will willing buy mediocrity. (Governments of all levels are excepted) 

If however, you give this dead horse a not-so-fresh coat of a “quality” paint, stand it up and call it a quality item, then you are guaranteed to discover that marketing management experts somewhere will flog this dead horse quality nonsense with a quality bucket containing quality prairie shag and will attain a certain degree of success in doing so. 

Hence we introduce the merry-go-round; it looks good but in fact goes nowhere. 

Good for those persons who invented it because that was the task those people were paid for. Too bad though because invariably we all end up paying for it in the end, in the rear end that is.

For those of you who skipped over the beedle-tweep, this is almost the last paragraph of this discourse. We can safely and factually state this to you because only a few paragraphs follow this one, unless of course, you have skipped over this paragraph also and are now in the middle of the next case and not even on the same page. We can’t help you with that.

Again we ask, “Which came first, the circle or the square?”

The answer to this question should have been readily apparent to any genuine average little guy out there who subliminally understands his or her organization’s management’s genuine interpretations and explanations of “new and improved” concepts that have come and gone.

Of course the square came first. If not, then it would have been impossible for marketing management to cut the corners, jack up the prices, gallfully call it new and improved and shove it on the uninformed. Hence we introduce the circle.

You cannot cut corners on a circle.

So too we once thought, until the square-wheel was introduced. Now you understand why the familiar seems to be become smaller but at a higher price.

Once again we ask, “Which came first, the circle or the square?” 

It doesn't matter. 

Those guys in the above illustration were trying to figure it out also. We can see that organizations, groups, committees, work-teams, governments, etc. have not changed since the beginning of time...and neither has the usual end result.



Inspired and written in 1999 with thanks from:

some of real life's real experiences in the real business world.

b.) observing first hand what happens to familiar products and services over time.

coping with various organizations' dysfunctional procedures.

d.) dealing with idiotic government bureaucracy...and as little as possible.

The Oddblock Station Agent