Business as usual, at length
Following along with the derivation of the paradigm of the A→B process will acclimate you in part for the transforming experience. The more you learn what to expect on the A→B process, the more likely you will make the right choice for yourself. When the flying monkeys appear, for example, you’ll have your pepper spray at the ready.
In these increasingly irrational, precedented, self-destructive times of human society, populated with people spastic on angst and cognitive dissonance, the starting block for the adventure in mutation is wherever on the globe you happen to be. This seething mass of organizational dysfunction comprises a society called, appropriately enough, Plan A. You don’t have to market Plan A to the masses. The telltales of Plan A are everywhere.
Plan A is constructed on the psychological bedrock of the sanctification of and the implementation of business as usual. It is an inelastic system that contains the seeds of its demise. Apply standard practice and the seeds are sown. Plan A citizens have been described as old women of both sexes.
Some ingredients necessary to cook up a Plan A did not exist during the primitive ages of Homo sapiens. For small bands of humans, like Bedouin clans, “business as usual” was a glove-fit survival strategy. It was not long after the first cities formed, however, that written records of Establishment dysfunction started to appear. The walls of Jericho, like the passageways of the pyramids, were adorned with graffiti by the building workforce complaining about their dysfunctional Establishment. The scribes of Mesopotamia prepared thousands of cuneiform tablets, still being unearthed, ranting about dysfunctional administrations, tales which were concealed from their overlords by their then-private guild language. The endless cycle of the rise and fall of civilizations, enlightened or savage, makes the empirical case. What else could be the common denominator factor in Plan As other than terrible choices and the influence of natural law? Did cavemen have slaves?
Empirical evidence authenticates that Plan As are manmade artifacts turned by the lathe of business as usual. A function of group size and architecture, what works to keep the hunting band effective is crippled by the operational habits of big business. Any social system in too-big-to-fail mode is already in ICU on oxygen. The willful withholding of intelligence, appropriate selection, punished by Nature, not man, keeps Plan A alive while it wrecks the neighborhood.
The ubiquity of Plan A does suggest a blueprint of Nature – a map on how it went from zero to dominate social life on planet Earth. Anyone who wants to adopt the way of life in Plan B and benefit from its payoffs should first understand the mechanisms of action that make Plan A, well Plan A. The reason is simple. Going to Plan B from Plan A is a reallocation, refinement, and repositioning of what reptile-brain, caveman-you already possess. You don’t need to gain special knowledge. What you need to thrive in Plan B is a reconfiguration and amplification of the understanding, experience, and smarts you already have. Everything you need to animate your transformation is right there in your cerebral toolshed – in the drawer marked instincts.
Plan B is not a place, an Eden or a Shangri-La, where mystical supernatural powers keep things copacetic behind the scenes, like Disneyworld, while you hang out being pampered. Plan B is not architecture, an art form, a tattoo. A Plan B is a group of people following an explicit system of behavior towards each other that renders their society prosperous and immortal. In the society of Plan B, you are encouraged to do your part to preserve its felicitous way of life and are given the discretion to do it your way.
Everything starts in Plan A
Plan Bs do not appear by magic ready for occupancy. Everyone begins in Plan A and ends up in Plan B by a transmutation process. The paradigm that takes keystones from Plan A and deposits them in Plan B, enlightened and intact is paramount. Only the minds of the keystones mutate. Everything material stays the same.
The mechanisms of action of Plan A are illuminated by scrutable connections back to the mathematical physics running the universe. Plan A is the yardstick by which the size of the initial benefit package of the transposition, a windfall, is measured. Just understanding the craziness going on relieves a good portion of your paradox-driven angst. Understanding Plan An dynamics does not tell you how to do something about it, but it does sharpen your senses to notice its intrusions.
In building the algorithms of the paradigm, no use is made of empiricism, precedent, judgment, or stories. When your strategy of action is fully rooted in natural law, Nature’s indifference becomes an ally. Its corollaries work 100% of the time.
Initialization includes defining the functioning of Plan A in terms that can be used to examine and evaluate Plan B for quantitative comparisons. It provides an objective basis for a before and after measurement of the A→B process benefit package contents. The transposition delivers a huge windfall both in the financial$ and the humanitarian parameters, such as morale and turnover. The definitive proof of transposition value is the quantitative measure of actualized benefits against forecasts and self-sustaining continuation of the windfalls (Argyris).
The organizational behaviors that compile into ubiquitous patterns and the patterns that compile into ubiquitous sets that distinguish Plan A from Plan B are familiar to all. What will be featured herein is how the behaviors exhibited in real-time are the resultant vectors of two measurable forces – human choice and natural law. Humans choose at the crossroads, then Nature channels. You can choose to jump, or not, but you cannot choose to hover. Volition doesn’t work on controlling gravity.
What you will learn about social system dynamics is that early-on pathway choices are constricted by Nature’s omnipresent force fields into channels so narrow that, for all practical purposes, little room is left for alternatives. In a Plan A, personality traits are inactive ingredients. In a mature Plan A, behavioral patterns are completely predictable.
In Plan B, personalities are prominent in their creative contributions towards increasing productivity. Like all individuals in autonomy mode, prediction of their behavior is low batting average. Raising productivity is a highly creative act that sits on a foundation of mutual trust.
A disastrous mistake and a common one is to assume that the character profiles of organizational potentates have a bearing on choices being made for operations. The fact this fallacious assumption is wildly popular does not make it valid. It is the natural law that channels the choices being made in organizational functioning, not personality profiles. Nature compresses human behavior by setting strict limits to each role in the hierarchy – top to bottom. In the operational reality, managing at the natural limits by tall organizations begets Plan A. With the intelligent reallocation of the prerogatives on nature’s keyboard, always within Her limits, Plan Bs can rise.
When Plan A is latched in, all task action decisions are bowed by natural law to perpetuate Plan A. There are independent mechanisms of action that reinforce Plan A against disturbance, well-meaning or not. It does not take any form of physical or mental effort to maintain a Plan A. When the collective migrates from producer to parasite mode, as it must, its members have to be fed from the pantries of productive society. No handout, no survival.
In Plan B, “the chosen tier,” the productivity gatekeepers, the productivity protagonists, the front-line supervisors, the revenue crew, the keystones have free rein to husband Plan B – increase productivity. In exchange for autonomy, they have proudly taken personal responsibility for delivering fit outcomes.
In Plan A, no one is ever responsible for outcomes. If anyone claims responsibility and is not functionally positioned to deliver on the promise, such as a potentate, it is inauthentic. Excused from responsibility for consequences by role is why the perpetrators of the most destructive organizational crimes against society, e.g. 2008 Wall St., are never prosecuted.
In Plan B, productivity protagonists know that to better productivity, the workforce must be at-one with the whole system of production, local and particular. Intimacy with system behavior can only be derived from the freedom to explore and test. To be constraint-free requires social system “permission” for rational action and forbearance for solution-candidate failures (Turing). These conditions don’t occur in Plan A.
In the current version of business ethics in use, one side , the foreman, has all the obligations and the other side, the autocrats have all the entitlements. This is compatible neither with the ethics of interdependence nor with a universal code of ethics. It corrodes the bond of trust that ties superior to subordinate. Peter Drucker, 1977
Rise and fall: the history of Plan A
There are copious precedents for every sort of Plan A going on today. The graffiti of the workers on construction projects began when Establishments first had workforces to do their bidding. The library from the early Levant to circa 1930 CE about Plan As is over 5 gigabytes of .pdfs. You may have a copy of the collection on a thumb drive to peruse on your own.
The striking feature of Plan A, to us, is the regularity and monotony of its scenarios. There is little variation in how organizations orchestrate their collapse. One scandal is just like any other, like politicians. Only the names change. History records the exploits of those orchestrating the fall of civilizations. The reason there is no history of collapse avoidance is that it never happened. Billions of humans, no heroes.
In Plan B, by contrast, workforce creativity is a constant buffer against monotony. Anytime productivity is going up, it is always unpredictable, exciting change for everyone. Since change is incessant and innovation is the mother of beneficial change, the cycle of inventing, trial, flop, and rework of ideas never ends. Immortal, there is no collapse. Tolerance for error and failure of its novel productivity schemes is a Plan B trademark you will not find in Plan A.
Collectively, the history of Plan A-building shows how the organization takes honest citizens who want to do good work and make a contribution to society and bends them to act against their proclivities. In Plan B, productivity sabotage is picked up as errors for correction, not as saboteur handiwork. In Plan A, you are expected to live among neurotic, inhumane actions and act like you don’t notice them. In time, the brain rewires itself to accept paradox as logical normal. Do schizophrenic people make good problem solvers?
After thousands of years of trying, it has become clear in this matter that an approach to remedy Plan A based upon prior strategies or native judgment is destined to fail. The $350 Trillion wasted in the last 75 years to mitigate organizational dysfunction proves that stipulation for you. The size of Plan A’s wreckage pile has never made any difference to the working assumptions of its perpetrators. One of our workaday maxims applies: “Never underestimate the ability of the people to ignore hard evidence that conflicts with their acculturalization.” Head-in-sand as a problem solver?
While the vast record of humanity speaks for itself regarding the ubiquity and persistence of Plan A, it does not contain a theory of Plan A’s cause – its mechanisms of action and how they became animated. Nowhere in the tonnage of empirical evidence of social dysfunction and carnage is a hint of why.
Since it is ubiquitous, society today wants us to believe that the norm of highly irrational, counterproductive organizational activity is a logical manifestation of divine will, of predestination. “We’ve always done it this way.” “Pay no attention to the men behind the curtains,” is the palace directive. With no Toto, we obey.
In the sphere of organizational dysfunction, any theory of action that hits its mark, no exceptions, is self-corroborating. When your tests have failed to falsify your theory, you will be bombarded by unsolicited examples jumping out of the operational reality to grab your attention. The patterns of behavior associated with and unique to Plan A are everywhere. Remember, be sure of one pattern in the set and the others will be there with the same surety.
Forecasting the vector of Plan A is easy because, as previously discussed, all Plan As decay and dissolve in the same way. It is a collective effort with no individual perpetrator responsible for the outcome. No one ever goes to jail for complicity in inflicting stakeholder damage. Crimes of obedience implement the crimes of command. This zero-responsibility condition of Plan A is why it cannot self-remedy. In Plan B, responsibility for prosperity continuation is singular and exact.
Today, as you well know, we have a society drowning in significant unsolved issues whose salvation is delegated to an Establishment that engineered the mess and is thereby unable to take authentic responsibility for a successful resolution (Gödel). The masses habitually clamor for a “true” leader to be placed in supreme command over a “government” that has over 25 levels of hierarchy. It’s hard to determine which is more clueless about the mechanisms of social action – the tsar who is fed by fiction-filled informants or the population who thinks that charisma can defy the 2½ rule. Suddenly, the mystery of the unnecessary fall of civilizations is no more.
The sociotechnical platform for deriving Plan A is the reference for explaining Plan B. For the empirical-evidence route, the affirmation that Plan A is manmade and impervious to disturbance is overwhelming. The empirical record includes cases where Plan As were transformed into Plan Bs, to be sure, but none lasted long enough to establish a theory of action and do the testing to validate it. No one ever figured out how to establish a Plan B on demand.
Empirically, the A→B process is transmuting individuals from one way of life to another that is different in the Yin/Yang principle. The mutation starts in the way of life where they are, one that has proven to be hostile to initiative and discretion – its tyranny spanning millions of applications for the last two centuries. The A→B process ends in a way of life that proved its high value to society for a millennium prior, in various applications. There is nothing untested, novel, or uncertain about Plan A or Plan B. In this universe, no third state is possible. It is the generic transposition connecting the two unprecedented realms.
The striking feature of man’s history is that most of what the sciences know today about organizational dysfunction that is practical was identified and well understood more than a century ago. The steps to the Plan A that follow each other in tandem by inherent necessity are universal. Among the authors that objectively described Plan A and its mechanisms of action are three USA presidents, a prime minister of Canada, a secretary of commerce, titans of industry, labor union pioneers, Senators, a governor, members of Parliament, German generals, professionals, university presidents, philosophers, and two Supreme Court Justices. A century ago, descriptions and discussions about Plan A and what to do about it were prominent in the literature and journals of the time. The issue of organizational dysfunction was new and raging. People who had experienced the rational times knew something was very wrong. They noticed that every time industry expanded, whether automobiles, railroads, steel, coal, telephones, shipping, labor unrest reached new heights.
History clarifies that Plan A has been known for what it is by all levels of society for a long time. It also documents that the forces creating and maintaining Plan A have endured unchanged over generations, wars, and the specter of extinction. The record is convincing that every remedy tried for the last two centuries was a failure. That is, the failed attempts at remedy had nothing to do with the people, their determination, or the local particulars. Empiricism dramatically narrowed the possibilities of remedy.
History also highlighted that any attempt to fix Plan A that involves a role for management is doomed. Even if management wanted to make Plan B work, it couldn’t. Bluntly put, there is no such thing as healthy management-labor relations. It is not a case of steering potentate-slave relationships but keeping zero-sum out of the arena of workforce interaction with management altogether.
Starkermann provides a mathematical-physics explanation, using control theory, why management of a tall organization cannot command operational betterment through a management-labor relationship. It cannot know enough, timely enough to devise a fix that keeps on working. Above the 2½ rule, any direct force applied by management, skilled incompetence, makes things worse.
The empirical record also shows that the Establishment was able to conceal the work of the frontier champions, 1882 to 1922, from any post-WWII scholar in the related fields of inquiry. Documentation from the 1940s to the present rarely includes references to the heroes. The discoveries about organizational behavior documented as novel to the authors are all heavily precedented during the era were telling it like it is was still considered a social-contract duty. How ironic that the captains of industry prevailed over the champions of Plan B and sealed the doom of their empires in the process.
The quoted excerpts from champion-era documentation cover all the pieces and parts of Plan A and much of what makes Plan B click. For the paradigm of transposition from Plan A to Plan B, the start and finish transposition stations, no precedent has yet been found. Those who think this approach is preposterous, are encouraged to examine and evaluate implementation sites to discredit the paradigm. Is it not your duty to do so for yourself, your family, and your society?
So, what are some distinguishing aspects of the A-B transposition?
- Every keystone possesses the identical hierarchical role as assigned by natural law.
- Management plays no role. The separation of the workforce from arbitrary authority is absolute.
- The payoffs from psychological mutation appear immediately.
- In fair exchange for unconditional autonomy, the revenue crew takes responsibility for viability husbandry, for increasing productivity. Legitimate responsibility for fitness has someone answering the phone.
The socio-technology of Plan A
For the sake of effectiveness and efficiency in knowledge development, a derivation of Plan A starts by placing it in context, up a level in abstraction. Plan A is a name brand of social system within a society of interconnected, like social systems. While there is great variety within the individuals of a collective, when it comes to group behavior, the collective itself exhibits no variety at all. A Plan A aims to be especially competent at eliminating variation in individual behavior to act as one in the service of potentate whim.
Since Plan A is taken for granted as the de facto operating template of societies around the globe, it comes as an unwelcome surprise that Plan A is not the only stable, natural, instinct-compatible, form of social organization. As a species, Homo sapiens has two viable options and, at all times, is free to choose between them – one or the other. Taking a top-down view of Plan A, systems-engineering think begins with its dynamical classification.
Fitting mathematical physics to the great historical record of human society shows that Plan As exhibit the dynamical properties of an “attractor.” It takes the properties of an attractor, like a Black Hole, to survive millennia of generations, various conditions, and disturbances and remain intact. To prove this law-reality congruency to yourself, observe what happens when your organization gets whacked with a large disturbance, perhaps a merger. The behaviors of crisis response are transient and return inside the carapace by the pull of Plan A doctrine. It is the configuration and strategy of the Greek phalanx. It has its place and a contribution to make.
Since each social system is unity and Plan A cannot account for all of the observed behaviors of a human collective, there must be another attractor within the total operational domain of human society. To form a unity of social system functionality sets up a Yin/Yang configuration with two complementary and opposite behavior ensembles, each highly stable, with you the agent of either.
Plan A and Plan B are in a joint restriction, mutually exclusive, Hyde and Jekyll – one or the other. Natural law forbids a third attractor in this universe. Numerous experiments with mixtures, via dynamic simulations, exhibit explosive instability. GIGO has no amalgams.
Attractors can be nested in certain ways. Most Plan As have a Plan B or two functioning in a corporate enclave, known as a “silo.” Notice the oppositely colored dots in the classic Yin/Yang symbol. Plan Bs are often nested within other Plan Bs and they can exist adjacent to Plan As indefinitely. A Plan B cannot harbor a Plan A in any form within itself for long because its dysfunction is caught as contamination and assaulted as an error. There is no gain to be concerned about “bad” people in Plan B. That’s why so much goes into error detection. Saboteurs soon get frustrated with this error-centered exposure, “You can’t cheat an honest man,” and exile themselves back to a Plan A where their subreption and deception are emulated and graded.
Attractors feed on native instincts to draw in uncharacteristic behaviors to conform to a central ideology. In Plan B, the free-range instincts feature viability husbandry (productivity), workmanship (quality), and the square deal. In Plan A, the instinct unleashed for the top brass is domination. It is the authority vested in the anointed few to dictate how the workforce under them is to live. In Plan B, it’s all about freely-taken responsibility for beneficial outcomes. In Plan A, it’s all about the social power structure in domination mode.
In Plan A, life goes along on well-trodden paths of tradition and custom. Having taken the route of least intellectual exertion, it reacts to disturbances with a staff of firefighters trained for the role. Crisis over, things resume exactly where they left off. The hindsight-based strategy is never shaped by experience-driven lessons learned. In Plan A, all maintenance efforts are crisis-driven and temporary. Plan A is the fruit of deliberate intellectual lethargy.
In Plan B, proactive attention to viability continuance is a constant. Lessons learned shape foresight and spotlight better loss prevention measures. Plan B is the cerebral Olympics, a relay race of sapient heroes that has no finish line. In Plan B the expenditure of effort for viability assurance is continuous.
Native instincts spring-loaded on hot-standby is the reason you can, with an interventionist, transmute your Plan An existence into an authentic Plan B so swiftly. Unmistakable benefits from the A→B process begin to manifest before the journey of transformation is half completed. You can observe transposition “episodes” going on in different places around the USA yourself and witness individual keystones scaling up and over the attractor divider. Attaining psychological success is a special, heartwarming occasion.
Google Co-Founder and CEO Larry Page is exhibit one. ‘Page has been described as “obsessed with making Google work like a smaller company.” In 2001, when Google grew to about 400 people, Page decided that middle managers were creating complexity and friction — symptoms of John Greathouse’s “Big Dumb Company Disease.” So he got rid of all of them. More than 100 engineers reported to a single overwhelmed executive. Frustration and confusion was rampant. Without those middle managers, it was nearly impossible for people to do their work and for executives to grasp and influence what was happening in the company. Page learned the hard way that a hierarchy can be too flat and that middle managers are often a necessary complexity.’
One test of Nature’s Yin/Yang power that can be run in safety is multiplicity. Assign a problem to be solved to a group of two. Add a member and gauge the change in the productivity of the democratic threesome. Add a fourth member and again note the change in productivity. When you add the fifth member, you will observe the onset of group instability and a level of productivity below the 4-person group. Phase change. The 5-man democracy fails, as it must, sending productivity to hell while the group spontaneously selects a leader. The reconfiguration of the group into a hierarchy, forced by multiplicity (control theory), produces a step change in group behavior from Yang to Yin. There is a new administrative overhead to bear that may or may not be offset by productivity increases.
To track an attractor, all it takes is to monitor productivity over time. In a Plan A, productivity only gets worse. The defensive routines of Plan A will cover up the actual decay, but there is always a day of reckoning when the treasury runs dry. Do whatever it takes to truthfully quantify productivity and believe the meter readings. In Plan B, productivity only gets better. There will be bumps as candidates for improvement are tested in the crucible of reality, but the trend line will be up.
The index of productivity is so reliable, you can detect big-time deception in the works. When your measurements show productivity going down and the official propaganda of the firm is optimal performance and revenues, it is proof positive that collapse is getting near. There will be no graceful degradation. Think implosion. Forewarned is forearmed.
Once you are familiar with the prime movers driving Plan A mortality, you know which of your instincts, impulses, and reflexes to freeze-dry for storage. Yes, your genetic endowment has equipped you with everything it takes for citizenship in either Plan A or Plan B. But, dual citizenship is possible only under special conditions. The big impediment to reaching Plan B is your social conditioning. You were enculturated to be obedient, go with the flow, and follow orders. You witnessed the monstrous treatment of the non-compliant.
Thanks to high-octane brainwashing, you have acquired a prejudice towards resignation and conformance. Mimic your peers, however, and your passport and membership card are automatically stamped “Plan A.” Note that crime syndicates in Salerno become Plan As in no way different than the bureaucracies of organized religion in the Vatican. These predictable outcomes attest to the commanding influence of natural law force fields as collectives act out their options as channeled by natural law.
The attractor concept helps explain why the organization fights off attempts to “fix” its dysfunction. The people fear societal instability and they are right. Those who sustain Plan A are getting something valued back in return that is not supplied in Plan B. Since that “value” cannot be viability-enhancing, material prosperity, the payoff must be social-psychological.
At this time, we conclude Plan As are created and sustained for the compelling purpose of feeding the psychological dispositions of the potentates – the instincts of domination. This banquet for the emotional success of head shed dominion, is unsustainable. It renders collectives mortal. Command from the top, perpetually clueless about what matters to organizational viability, leads to the withdrawal of efficiency in creating value by the workforce. Our ancestors called this reflexive defense Ca’ canny.
Since Plan Bs produce more essentials than they consume, they can be immortal. Like 1938 DC-3s and 1954 Chevys in Havana. Just replace worn-out parts with equivalent ones – as you go. The paradigm that makes Plan B distinct from Plan A, in so many ways, does not get obsolete. Plan Bn neighborhoods are always increasing productivity, keeping change as a norm. Better, faster, cheaper, is how Plan B’s workforce feeds the treasury.
No effort is made to establish the case for making the transposition to Plan B on the amount of damage being inflicted by Plan A. History has no example where the size of the pile of wreckage sustained led to an effective remedy. In a half-century of testing, no one was ever found bereft of experience with organizational dysfunction. No one in a room full of his peers would dare to claim otherwise. The historical record of “Ain’t it awful,” blood relative of a stakeholder protest, is huge for any “age” of mankind.
Everyone has matching stories. Protests about the unwarranted injury may strengthen the social bond among harmed stakeholders, but they serve more as an uncomfortable excuse for avoiding remedy. “We’re no worse than the others” and “It could have been worse” is the end-game theme. The focus here is on the derivations of the mechanisms of action that distinguish Plan A from Plan B. The more you know about Plan A, the more you know about the particular requisites of eternal vigilance.
As a confidence builder, one of the tools of the paradigm, POSIWID, can be used to help you strengthen the empirical case. The self-destruction imperative of Plan A can be synthesized from a quantity of POSIWID observations. You note what goes in and the processing of the inputs. The deliverable speaks for itself. You take the outcome deposit and compare it to the stated purpose. Given the continuing process, POSIWID sets the actual purpose equal to what is being delivered and tracks the action. When the outcomes continue to match the POSIWID goal, it’s a lock. In Plan B, everyone acts towards the purpose he espouses. The “box” around the goal, task action, and product is transparent. Your examination and evaluation are welcomed.
The structure of Plan A behavior
Once you become comfortable with the idea of Plan A as an attractor, because that’s how it behaves, you can look for the particular functionalities of Plan A that all attractors require to, well, attract outliers. The mechanisms of action that animate Plan A comes in a set. Identify any one of them in service and you can be assured the others are operating as well. Unlike the situation with Plan A’s counterpart, Plan B, the mechanisms of action that drive organizational dysfunction lock into a mutually reinforcing static state. If any contributing player should deviate, the others automatically take up the slack.
One example of the self-healing nature of Plan A is the Nash Equilibrium (A Beautiful Mind), a natural law. The mathematical physics of John Nash’s Law, for which he received a Nobel Prize, shows that any part of a Plan A that attempts to break the mold of business as usual will be pressured by the other parts to return to its null position. It is the reason why the piecemeal approach to reversing organizational dysfunction is doomed from the start.
To understand how Plan A remains so “popular,” #1 around the world, is also to understand why Plan B is wrongly considered unobtainium. Start with the primitives of how collectives choose. Everyone gets a genetic inheritance at birth and years of social conditioning. Genes supplied us with a plethora of instincts, phobias, reflexes, and other knee-jerk reactions to events and perceptions. The express purpose of enculturation is to coerce you to suppress some of your instincts, like survival and productivity, and magnify others, like obedience to authority.
Foremost, social conditioning trains you to go with the flow. Don’t think for yourself, do as you’re told. “Yours is not to question why. Yours is but to do or die.” (Kipling) To be a member of society in good standing you have to sleepwalk through the paradoxes just like your peers. Since the other members in your collective received the same enculturation as you did, that pretty much is it for crushing individual variety.
There are more ways than one to get things stuck on Tar-Baby Plan A. Separate routes end up at the same place. Having the attribute of equifinality, each route to Plan A acts as a reinforcing rod. No effort, physical or mental, is required to hold on to Plan A. You are pummeled into emotional submission. The transposition to Plan B, in contrast, is on a single winding road up to the inflection point. Once the keystone gets his “zero entropy” message, he will choose routes to Plan B he thinks will best get him there. When the inflection event occurs, responsibility for a successful relocation switches from the interventionist to the individual keystone. Progress accelerates.
Using the Yin/Yang attractor axiom, it is easy to understand the opposite/complementary nature of Plan A/Plan B. Plan A can perpetuate itself without the maintenance of any kind. For its trip to hell, blind drift brain-off works just fine. Plan B, in contrast, requires incessant and intelligent husbandry to remain viable. Never-ending effort, physical and mental, keep the characteristics of Plan B up to date. It’s a jolt on the psyche to emerge from a situation that punishes independent thinking to one that depends on it.
Turnpikes to Plan A
For an autocrat who wants to fashion a Plan A, there are many options. Abuse the employees, for one, works just fine. Most people think that organizational dysfunction, obviously bad and lose-lose, must be the handiwork of intentionally bad people. After all, what reason could good people afloat have to sink their ship except divine destiny? So, the search goes on to find qualifying good people to put on the bridge, call them leaders, who will drive the floating concern away from Plan A towards Plan B. The fetish about attributing the cause of the damage to evil potentates thrives today still. What organized religion has ever had anything good to say about its pious, but impotent, bureaucracies?
The spotlight for this transposition is on those roads to the Plan A that good people build and on the psychological coercions from the organized society that drive them to do it. Three separate roadways to Plan A, which do not depend on the character of their builders, will be discussed as examples:
- The 2ndLaw
- Ideology deemed infallible
- Zero-sum labor-management relations
The 2nd Law
The unavoidable toll way everyone must travel throughout their lifetimes is owned and operated by Nature’s 2nd Law. When they do nothing about the accumulation of entropy, toll unpaid, aspiring freeloaders are shunted to Plan A. When you do the exacting work of extracting entropy buildups, paying the toll and rent of Plan B, as you go, you are there.
Because it is project-challenged, Plan A is functionally unable to attenuate entropy. Every time it tries, usually, in crisis mode, entropy increases at a faster rate. In Plan B, viability husbandry, aka entropy extraction and relocation, is the top priority activity. Nature has strict rules for extracting entropy and a blend of creativity and serious cognitive effort is Her directive #1. Avoiding entropy extraction, sooner or later, Plan A has to go parasitic to survive, like a government bureaucracy.
A second highway that gets you to Plan A also uses 2nd Law pavers. It starts with the hierarchy and its zeal for eliminating variations in human behavior to handle the multiplicity obstacle. To have its workforce act as one, operationalizing the whims of its Big Kahuna, the ideology of the concern is declared infallible. At first, it seems like a fair deal. After all, why change a way of operating that is bringing prosperity to the organization? Why indeed.
The problem with any infallible ideology is that it is inherently (read natural law-driven) unsustainable. Any way of life, good or evil, is constantly being degraded by the 2nd Law. That means every tick of the clock everywhere in the universe brings higher, never lower, disorder. In Plan A, entropy extraction, as a necessary chore, is ignored by its members as a threat to infallibility. How could infallibility need hygiene? In Plan A, the energy otherwise available for positive task action is spent in defensive routines. When infallibility is at stake, the utility function payoff is irrelevant. The 2nd Law is a nemesis of infallibility that cannot be defeated. When a conscious, deliberate, and intelligent activity to extract entropy as it accumulates is not performed, for any reason, say hello to Plan A. You’ve arrived.
As Nature will not let attempts at defiance of Her laws go unpunished, She will not intervene in how you leverage them. The 2nd Law allows you to reduce disorder locally by raising it faster globally. The mechanism for the “magic” of entropy extraction and relocation is a structure imposed on local disorder by work (force x distance). You do this disorder-extraction trick every time you make a bed. Book 3 will elaborate on entropy extraction and relocation concepts and toolsmith.
A particularly nasty road to Plan A is cemented in place by control theory. It gets built by the head shed when it attempts to defy the 2½ rule. As mentioned in Book 1, in any hierarchy of 4 or more tiers, ground-truth information about operations can rise no more than 2½ levels without morphing into fiction. That means the top tiers are functionally excluded from issuing direct orders, local and particular, that can increase productivity. If it issues commands, based on GIGO perforce, to the workforce anyways, because it has the authority to do so, productivity dissolves away.
So, here sits management, slowly learning that every time it meddles with the organizational profit-generator, the revenue crew, things get worse. It is face to face with the manifest limitations of the “unlimited” social power vested in them. Here’s 75% of the organization’s population, the workforce, outside of management’s span of control – for making things better. In due course, the head shed learns that the only tool in their workshed that influences anything down below is its financial control. Frustrated that its unlimited authority and discretion does not translate into control of organizational prosperity, management takes the only power it does have, financial, and leverages it to assuage its now-raging, but the unfulfilled instinct of domination. It attacks its revenue crew. The empirical dividers are filled with examples.
The challenge management has to face is to figure out how to use its iron grip on the treasury to dominate the people that populate its lower-level organization. That is, how can they use the one effective tool they have to feed their hunger for domination? Their answer, as history shows so clearly, was to engage labor in a zero-sum relationship. In effect, management exchanges organizational viability for direct control of how the non-management workforce lives. It can only affirm its domination by punishing its profit center. Huh?
Zero-sum gaming enters the scene whenever potentates acquire control of the chain of command. Holding all the financial cards is why management relishes zero-sum labor-management interaction. It is a tug of war full of emotion and competition – and rigged in management’s favor. Watch it navigate the organization over Plan A’s spillway, oblivious to the wreckage being generated. The fact that wage control makes productivity worse, known for two centuries, is deemed secondary to the satisfaction of their domination instinct. POSIWID (Purpose of the System is What it Does).
The Establishment spotlighted its dependency on financial control to get emotional payoffs during the 2016 political circus. One candidate, immune to financial influence, has shown the Establishment to be otherwise incompetent. While it is brilliant in raising money, it is clueless as to how to spend it to get what it thinks it wants.
The establishment’s influence on media bias, through its financial control, also became obvious to the public. Establishment powerlessness is no flaw in the people in leadership roles. Impotent to solve big problems is built-in to Nature’s limits to hierarchy. The head shed is given legal latitude to do whatever it wants, but the only thing it can do is harm stakeholders. Nature gave the exclusive power to deliver and sustain Plan B to the workforce. But, you already know that.
Your early assignment as a candidate keystone will be to falsify these concepts and claims. Find exceptions in the record. Audit an application site. Design and run tests to controvert the assertions of incontrovertibility. Your advantage is that in finding one exception you have discounted the claim of natural law connectivity. The platform of natural law can support no exceptions.
The signposts of Plan A
No one has any problem recognizing Plan A when they encounter it. The psychological signs are prominent and many. Most people can make the correct determination by visiting the facilities even when no employees are there. During business hours, Plan As are unmistakable. There are objective, quantitative ways to measure Plan A dysfunctionality as well. Gathering the facts will give you a big advantage. Facts may not always trump emotion, but they always drive it crazy.
No social system can hide its value system from a pragmatic assessment. In Plan A, all you have to check on is its productivity. The first thing to note is that all discussion and record-keeping in Plan A is about production – exclusively. The factors of productivity are unmeasured and undiscussable, especially turnover.
Productivity is production minus (operating costs plus waste plus loss plus turnover plus stakeholder damage). The factors of operating costs include supplies, power, water, disposal, and rent on facilities. The factors of waste include what ends up on the scrap heap. The factors of loss include safety, quality, and turnover – all expensive insults to native instincts. Stakeholder damage caused by dysfunctional operations is always material. The equation is not changed by politics or propaganda. In Plan A, no useful truthful accounting is made of these charges against production revenue.
When it comes to the effectiveness of what is produced, the mission, and the goal, accounting is even worse. Since the goal of the organization has never been defined in concrete terms, there is no way to measure what “effective” looks like. Management only measures what it values. Scratch productivity and effectiveness ledgers from the list of candidates. How can you intelligently husband viability when no one knows how the place works? Well, you can’t. When it comes to productivity factors, none improve by themselves. If the factors are not tracked, the 2nd Law drives them worse. Causes sink to effects. Effects point nowhere. Another example of enigma damage:
In Plan A, a check on the training scene will provide an x-ray of the organizational value system.
- What training does it do?
- How does it set the goals of training?
- How does it evaluate results against goals?
- Training format?
Social science research has provided firm “rules” for running training programs. The science of training used the limits of human learning to determine the parameters of program delivery. In the same way, Starkermann used the stability limit of the social system to mark boundaries, training science measured the line where learning stops and resentment begins. You’ve been there multiple times. By using the rule set as a reference standard, you can get an objective measure of the organizational value system.
The limits of human capacity, mental and physical, are non-negotiable, of course. If the format of training employed sprawls over these limits to what knowledge humans can ingest in a training situation, training becomes counterproductive. In formatting the transposition learning episodes, the rules established for productive, effective learning are accommodated. The requisite conditions are enumerated in the “stop-rule” list provided to the host. Experience shows management can be so jolted by the effectiveness of the transposition episodes, that some will deliberately break the rules to halt the proceedings.
Training practices are a dead giveaway about Plan A policies – POSIWID. The charisma of the trainer does not affect a mismatched situation. In standard business-as-usual, training is conducted, if at all, without an objective basis. No effort is made to align training with the need. Training is arranged for without explicit goals. The provisions of training are ridiculously outside of effectiveness limits. Measurements of training impact are never taken. Since the results of training are more often negative than positive, it begs the question – Why do it?”
Since training is so tangible and material, the organization cannot hide this paradox from POSIWID. No organization that values its revenue crew would do negative-results training. Ineffective training fools no one. It does not fool the students. It does not fool the faculty. It is a waste that tallies against production. When “good” training is done, such as the transposition, it shows up quickly on productivity measures.
When you find a training environment incongruent with knowledge-based criteria, you are assured that all the other patterns of organizational dysfunction are also active. That’s why the social system is called Plan A.
Convergent evidence from multiple disciplines and from studies across ages, sexes, and cultures, show that agonistic and aggressive forms of rank-pursuit involving the deployment of cost-infliction or benefit-withholding strategies continues to be a viable route to social status in humans. Norm-governed coalitionary behaviors and human-specific ecological factors strongly temper and modify the expression of dominance in our species, but the fundamental strategic calculus rooted in game theory, where individuals who are more willing and able to inflict costs in protracted conflicts have resources ceded to them and gain influence, continues to hold, and is required to explain empirically measured social asymmetries and fitness differentials across societies and contexts. Furthermore, developmental and comparative studies demonstrate that the cognitive, emotional and motivational mechanisms that constitute a “dominance psychology”, as well as multiple aspects of human dominance ethology, appear to be cross-culturally stable. This strongly indicates that dominance has played and continues to play a role in structuring our social environments and shaping our psychology.
A systems view of Plan A socio-technology
System Plan A has material pieces and parts of metal and flesh. It has a framework that holds these parts and pieces in place. The elements of Plan A are configured together in a dynamic system. Included is a subsystem that regulates its behavior by feedback to a set point. The system called Plan A is distinguished by how it acts through time, roster attributes, and disturbance. Understanding involves:
- Pertinent, significant natural laws
- Natural Law corollaries that clock organizations
- Doctrines of psychology
- Mechanisms of Action
The first four inputs get processed into concepts that form the transposition ideology – a paradigm that is incontrovertible. The fifth item is the experience-honed aids that help speed up the renovation process.
To understand what produces system Plan A behaviors, it is necessary to know the influence of natural law upon it. Since the system envelope of Plan A includes the humans that animate it, it is necessary to understand the influence of the dogmas of psychology in the arena. The action of the material system is natural-law rational.
The choices of action the human elements make in Plan A are irrational by material and humanitarian standards, but that is where the canons of the psychological sciences come in. In the husbandry of Plan B viability, actions of man and machine are natural-law rational – period. There is zero subjectivity in entropy extraction. Everything is in-your-face material.
Knowing the laws and doctrines that influence system behavior, leads to identifying and tracing the observable mechanisms of action that animate Plan A. Knowing the mechanisms of action (MoA) in play simplifies the task of quantifying Plan A (the before) before embarking on the transposition to Plan B (the after). The difference is why you go.
Toolsmith provides implements for making sense of the paradoxes and dichotomies. Job performance aids are invaluable for seeing through the Plan An fogs and defensive routines to get at the truth.
Following the discussion of Plan A socio-technology, a walkthrough of what we find to be the most common life cycle of a Plan A will be presented. This puts life into the interplay of Nature and men in groups. You will have no problems in recognizing the stations of the scenario. Book 4 presents details of the transposition, focusing on how their Plan As are transformed by the keystones into Plan Bs.
Natural laws prominent in Plan A
- The 2ndLaw
- Effectiveness, infallibility
- Entropy extraction
- Control theory
- 2½ Rule
- Shannon’s laws of communication
- What “done” looks like
- The Conservation laws
The 2nd Law
Much fuss has been made about the 2nd Law and for good reason. Its lightsaber action on degrading social systems is never off. Dealing with the incessant ravages of the 2nd Law is always first on the task-action agenda. Predicting the trajectory of any social system can be made with extreme reliability simply by noting how it handles 2nd Law entropy buildups. If productivity improvement is not the way of life, there’s no way that 2nd Law degradation is being neutralized. Business as usual cannot deal with novel challenges of any kind and entropy extraction is a creativity hog.
The 2nd Law is the major player in viability husbandry. Working at the atomic level, its insidious ravages on all things material are local and particular throughout the universe. It degrades the car and its driver with equal indifference. It is impossible to fool the 2nd Law, coming or going. That’s what makes the politics of infrastructure so unsavory to politicians. Lying to the public about neglected maintenance is a waste of time. They can see the degradation for themselves.
The effectiveness of any process is closely connected to the 2nd Law. Try and keep business as usual fixed and productivity goes down. Calling the operational dogmas infallible and then having to defend them as such makes for all sorts of contradictions and enigmas. There is no escape from this ridiculous relationship with infallibility. When productivity is not going up, it is going down. Keeping business as usual constant by edict destabilizes the organization.
Plan B elaborates on the work of entropy extraction. It is a central pillar of Plan B that keeps everything honest. Its effect on all things material is perforce measurable. Only the workforce, close to the action, can extract entropy. Anyone 2½ levels or more away from the production line is baggage.
As professor Starkermann often noted, control theory is a subject in the university’s engineering curriculum that no one is eager to take. It’s all about system dynamics. The mathematical physics of control is too recursive for a human brain to follow for more than a few cycles. Accordingly, all sorts of approximations and simplifications had to be invented to practice industrial control engineering. Like the 2nd Law, control theory equations feature the arrow of time. Computer horsepower has revolutionized the control designer’s workbench.
Control theory was used by Starkermann to calculate the 2½ rule, backbone of the telephone game. His models describe the progressive degradation in the quality of control information due to leak, lag, and friction. Starkermann’s work in the dynamic simulation of social systems, Starkermann.com, produced the tables of stability limits that led to the rule.
It is well known that the human brain has limits in its ability to remember, multi-process, and compute recursive equations, like Mandelbrot art. These limits show up in the 2½ rule and the ability to command and control towards a worthy target. By good fortune, it was discovered in 1960 that the technological limits in human processing approximated the limits of control engineering equipment then available for industrial application. This meant that the best strategy, hardware, and technology of industrial process control of 1960, clunky by today’s standards, was a good match for modeling human-human interaction. Accordingly, dynamic simulations of social systems made using the practical control techniques of the 1960s proved to be on-target. Rudolf Starkermann, who applied the control schemes to run his simulations, was extremely cautious in making claims of congruency. He didn’t have access to the proving grounds of reality that we exploit today. For the first decade of our collaboration, he held our testing antics in the social milieu in high skepticism.
Once the dynamic simulators were available for running experiments, it became obvious that Starkermann’s computer models were spot on. With the validation of model-man congruency, testing with the dynamic simulator exploded in all directions. To know how any two people in a group work together as a twosome is to know nothing about their behavior in a group.
The truth about the power gradient of the organization is appropriate subject matter for only one level in the hierarchy – the productivity protagonist level. To pass the truth of power, productivity, effectiveness, and stakeholder damage on to management will, in one stroke, affirm everything you ever learned about the “glue” that holds Plan As together. It is not a recommended experiment because it has no possible upside value, even if you weren’t smitten on the spot.
Shannon’s laws of communication
Formulated by the mathematician Claude Shannon, his law is a statement in information theory that expresses the maximum possible data speed that can be obtained in a data channel. His law instructs that the highest obtainable error-free data speed, expressed in bits per second (bps), is a function of the bandwidth and the signal-to-noise ratio. Shannon’s limits fit right into the box with the 2½ rule. When you are in an error-intolerant situation, like entropy extraction, errors in the message devastate goal-seeking.
Shannon also defined communication messages as errors if their transmittal did not obtain the action by the receiver intended by the sender. This ties into POSIWID. If your transmissions don’t result in entropy extraction, your intent, then your communication failed. That is why the first business of the transposition is to define what “done” looks like. Then, communications success has a reference benchmark.
The conservation laws
Everyone knows the man has limits in his ability to think and act. If his psychic internal energy is tied up in defensive routines and angst, the conservation of energy removes that energy from the supply available for productive work. The energy required for the transformation and the work of viability husbandry is obtained during the A→B process by venting off this accumulated angst. You can witness the blowdown event for yourself right after the second-way station of the A→B process.
Not everything in social system life is subject to the conservation laws. Subjective factors like creativity, trust, and confidence are not limited to the allocation of a fixed amount. It is important to distinguish which factors are conservation-law constrained and which are not. It is a trait of Plan A, and a counterproductive one, to treat the factors of productivity as zero-sum. They are not.
The mathematical physics of connectance is highly significant to Plan A because it is so prone to its paralytic action. The law of connectance shows that any (social) ecosystem of moderate or higher complexity with interconnected elements, goes catatonic in disturbances. Specifically, if 16% or more of the communication lines among system elements are activated at the same time, the system freezes up. Since Plan A has far more connections than Plan B, it is vulnerable to disturbances that Plan B can handle with ease. Crashes that get media attention are always caused by connection. Earthquakes and volcanism are triggers of connectance that often paralyze nations and their rescue efforts for days.
In Plan B, self-sufficient units do not need political channels. Disturbances are detected early when they are easy to neutralize within the unit.
It is tempting to rant on about Plan A. It’s the bulk of social history itself. There’s so much newsworthy Plan A material constantly gushing out of the media. Discussing Plan A doings is as popular and safe as the weather. If you’re upset about organizational dysfunction, you have hundreds of groups to join that will take you in with open arms. In the first phase of our grind on the A→B process, we were in many of those clubs and surrounded by friendly, supportive comrades. Several books we published on our work during that phase, including “Have Fun at Work,” and “Friends in High Places,” are still available on Amazon.
As we became more expert in Plan A criticism, it became more obvious that collective expertise in Plan A wasn’t making a dent in the consequences of Plan A. The criticism groups went on year after year and nothing changed. One can assume it is the powerlessness of these anti-Plan A groups that binds them together. Validation of that assumption arrived when the A→B process succeeded and all our memberships were immediately canceled, en masse.
Expertise in Plan A has value only to the extent it serves as a benchmark for detecting developing issues in Plan B. As you have learned, any functionality of Plan A taking root in Plan B signals collapse. As any functionality of Plan B in Plan A is immediately destroyed, like whistleblowers, Plan B must exercise due vigilance in catching the symptoms of Plan A early.
This point in the derivation of the A→B process has provided sufficient material on the mechanisms of action of Plan A. It’s time to transition out of Plan A and start designing /building the transposition to Plan B. To that end, design, there are objective concepts and toolsmith necessary to learn and use.
The importance of concepts and tools to the A→B process is such that you should at least be aware of their names and application. When you use them in design, you will become friends. The following section begins the transition process. Plan B is prosperous and immortal because it prevents and solves whatever fate slings at it. Poor Plan A, mired in unreality and fiction, is defenseless against the operational reality.
Corollaries and derivatives of Natural Law for the A→B process
To begin, the concepts and such will be introduced in short narrative form. This run will give you an overview of the design tools provided for the A→B process. The first batch:
Kurt Gödel collaborated with Einstein about his cause-effect-level theorem and worked up the mathematical proof while both were at Princeton. It is one of the most important laws impinging on the process of solving problems.
The Gödel theorem states that the efficient cause (Aristotle) of the problem is never at the same level where the damage caused by the activity manifests. The efficient cause is at least one level up in abstraction from the level where the cries of anguish emanate. Causes sink to manifest effects. There are corollaries of Gödel to the effect that a dysfunctional social system cannot be the instrument of its cure.
Plan As make it a rule that you can only discuss the cause of a publicly odious problem at the same level the problem is being perceived. Thus when Wall St. runs off with your retirement savings, it’s OK to blame it on perpetrator greed. Just don’t blame it on a rigged financial system that goes from forming a bubble to forming another bubble.
Since Gödel is a natural law, attempts at defiance are “naturally” punished. An example of such folly, quite significant today, is Establishment’s “regulatory” agency. Every social system established to force another social system(s) to obey its rules (controls) is attempting to defy Gödel and Turing at the same time. Does anyone notice that since Hammurabi invented the regulatory “fix,” no regulatory agency ever attained its chartered purpose? Did anyone announce to the Establishment there must be a common failure mode? Well, there is.
Regulatory agencies attempt to control outcomes by imposing a set of rules of action (Turning) at the level where damage from past actions manifested (Gödel). Held infallible, the rule set is attacked by the 2nd Law at several fronts. As events unfold and regulatory failure accumulates, the rules are incrementally “clarified” in a decades-long legal procedure. Never getting up to the level of cause, the engines of damage that begat the regulatory agency in the first place continue to exert their influence, unimpeded. The only thing it takes to take a regulatory institution from a noble quest of damage prevention and turn it into a public menace is time.
As the record of effectiveness worsens, regulatory agencies migrate from simple tyranny to arrogance. Protected by the civil laws that shield them from liability for the damages of rule compliance, the regulated are left to absorb the damage of their obedience. No artifact of the Establishment wreaks more havoc on the citizenry than constructing a regulatory agency – assurance that the damage will continue. The facts of the “safety” record, straight lines over time, attest to the futility of regulation and regulatory-based “training.”
That is why transposing from Plan A to Plan B is accompanied by a block change in the loss and accident record. Organizations with a decade of conventional safety programs will record more than a 50% step reduction in losses. The technology of safety only registers improvements when the sociology of productivity is established. It is never the other way around.
Plan B lives by Gödel because getting busy at the true initiators of the bumps of life is the only way the bumps are going to get smoothed out. In Plan A, those working on solving a problem are rarely equipped with knowledge of its actual cause. The solvers have to collide with efficient cause by trial and error and it takes forever. In Plan A, even searching for the true causes of wreckage is considered disloyal.
One of the steep hills in the transposition is learning how to catch yourself from looking for the cause near the crime. It pays to switch to Gödel mode, with the onset of any problem, as a habit. The herd can go over the cliff of ignorance without you.
Alan Turing worked out the mathematical proof of his theorem in 1945 and presented it to the scientific community in 1946. The fact that his theorem is central to organizational functioning and still ignored in practice, speaks volumes about the power of attractor Plan A. Like Gödel, Turing is central to Plan B husbandry.
Turing’s theorem states that for any system you can have obedience to rules or you can have intelligent, effective problem-solving. The system cannot have both. Rule-based behavior permits no feedback of results obtained from following the rules. To have obedience, sacrifice accomplishment. To achieve, do whatever works and screw the rules. In Plan A, neither good nor bad results matter. In Plan A, telling the truth of Turing to power will get you flogged. In Plan B, discussing the truth about power is an expression of faithfulness to the conditions of membership.
Allegiance to the rules is in a joint restriction with responsibility for fit outcomes. When management drives for conformance to the rules, it automatically assumes full responsibility for whatever results from obedience to the rules. When management delegates outcome responsibility at the same time it drives for compliance to corporate doctrine, it is attempting to defy natural law. The punishment Nature usually applies to this transgression is a large withholding of efficiency by the workforce. To be required to act contrary to what you know to be best is a crushing loss of freedom. For its treacherous action on the workforce, management is fed a caricature of reality that renders it impotent. Things rapidly degrade to zero-sum. The workforce loses. The head shed loses.
Plan As go to extremes in trying to defy Turing. They insist on conformance to their policies and discourage any attempts to bring intelligence into their problem-solving arenas. That’s why, exactly, the Establishment can’t solve the problems that require actionable-quality information and intelligent, Gödel-centered creativity.
In Plan B, the signs of Turing-think are everywhere. “Rules” of action are rewritten daily as feedback is intelligently applied to redesigning tasks. Keep the stuff that worked: throw the stuff that didn’t away: synthesize another version of the task. Repeat as necessary to attain effective outcomes. You know what working that process will get you in Plan A – fired.
Ross Ashby was a stalwart member of the General Systems Research community and took his turn as President. He was a member of England’s Ratio Club with Alan Turing. Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety (1932) is a derivative of the control theory. It states that to control a system, you must have as much variety in your control responses as the system to be controlled may exhibit. It is the law of competitive sports.
Requisite variety is ignored as a natural law in Plan A because it requires quality and quantity of information, local and particular, which is impossible to obtain in a useful time frame. Without full knowledge of system dynamics, e.g., the actual motives of labor, no control system can be devised that can guarantee full control, e.g., morale.
Ashby’s “The Purpose Of The System Is What It Does” (POSIWID) also derives from control theory. It was featured and promoted by an Ashby cohort, Stafford Beer. The principle underlying POSIWID is that all systems self-regulate towards a goal. They just don’t advertise what it is.
Implemented by an appropriate control system, process systems can be given your choice of a control target. Should the control system falter, for any reason, the system will spontaneously control itself towards a different target. So, when actual process performance centers on an outcome that does not coincide with the stated target, and nothing is done to change things because of the deviation, actual system performance becomes the purpose of the system – because that’s what it does.
POSIWID has frequent use in Plan A. It sees right through camouflage and cover-ups. Invariably, the efforts of the perpetrators to explain the discrepancy serve to confirm the fact that the stated goal is bogus. There is nothing rougher on morale than to find out you’ve been wasting your time striving towards the “wrong” goal. In project operations, it is rare when the stated goal turns out to be the “right” goal to address the real problem (Gödel).
This derivative of natural law combines mathematical physics with the dogma of psychology. Attempts to defy this principle, the pursuit of the impossible, are quite common in Plan A. Plan B is very sensitive to the responsibility-for-outcomes canon. It is an essential factor in entropy extraction that appears in the design. For anyone to freely and legitimately take responsibility for fit outcome performance, he must be the system designer. For goal-based design to succeed, the designer must have the leeway and discretion to learn about and do whatever it takes to attain the specified functionalities. Responsibility for performance is the soul of design. Cross-discipline lines? Of course.
The welded relationship of autonomy and fitness responsibility established by natural law, through Turing and Gödel, attains its huge significance in modern society because attempts to defy this fundamental principle of right living are so common. The fact this lawful marriage is never discussed does not mean people are unaware of the bond. Everyone is jolted when the authority demands you follow the rules and mitigate the disturbance – “Or we’ll get somebody who can!” The contradiction there is that if rule-based behavior could deal with the novelty and complexity of the intrusion, it wouldn’t even be on the work list.
Emulating a previous “solution” is not design. It is protocol-based behavior. An example is the shift of the medical empire from concern about outcomes to a focus on its duty for professional services – “Do no harm.” In society, following the protocols protect you from litigation. All the risks of outcomes, good or bad, are borne by the patient.
In contrast to the fields of medicine and education, civil engineering is fitness for application. The designer of that which is to be constructed, by law, is held responsible for fitness. Beginning with the Codes of Hammurabi, 1780 BCE, whatever damage occurred by building failure was forcibly inflicted on its designer, including death. Design engineers take fitness responsibility as totally appropriate and rational. The autonomy associated with that responsibility is so ingrained in our culture that the term “to engineer” is used pejoratively to mean doing whatever it takes, legal or not, to attain the goal. Cheating.
Compare the engineering design buyer protection plan to a regulatory agency charter. Having the authority to impose its codes, rules, and specifications by the force of law, the regulator takes zero responsibility for any damages that occur because its rules were followed. You will be fined if you don’t comply with the rules. But, if you do abide by the rules and doing so is the cause of the damage, you cannot sue the regulator. And, it takes ten years to change the rules. In Plan B husbandry, the duty of service is a second-tier obligation that follows responsibility for fitness, for performance. There is no other way to sustain Plan B prosperity.
The designer’s iron law: “Whoever picks the parts, owns system behavior,” was the theme of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead.” It is the duty of the system designer, a condition of his professional license, should anyone pull rank and meddle with part selection or configuration, to transfer full outcome responsibility over to the meddler. In Sweden, the throne meddled with the design of its dreadnaught warship, “Vasa.” The king commanded that another deck of cannons is added to the top, making it top-heavy and unstable. When launched, the Vasa immediately capsized and sank, killing everyone aboard. Centuries later, Sweden raised the Vasa out of the mud for its museum. When you visit the Vasa, you will find no mention of regal interference. Challenger and Columbia.
If the responsibility for attaining specified system performance is not authentic, it doesn’t exist in the real world at all. To be genuine, responsibility can rest only with the system designer and only when he has knowingly and freely taken responsibility for delivering the desired dynamics. Attempts to defy this law trigger CYA efforts and display in the rampant finger-pointing and buck-passing that attends denial of responsibility for stakeholder damage. Wall St. may claim ignorance of this responsibility/autonomy law, but when its manufactured bubbles burst, it sure knows how to use the law to deny responsibility in Congressional hearings! The bottom claims obedience to authority. The top claims it’s impossible for anyone to know what’s going on in an empire too big to fail. OK, got it. We lose our retirement savings.
The no-one’s responsible factor is handled in civil law by requiring a designer-of-record seal for every construction project. In the event of damage, the court simply notes who applied his professional seal to the design. In litigation, this responsibility is non-transferrable and irrevocable. After $100M was spent in legal fees, the presiding judge of the 1981 Hyatt Regency walkway collapse ended the litigation ordeal by declaring the engineer-of-record (EOR) responsible for the carnage – no excuses.
In Plan B, any designer of a more productive system who takes responsibility for delivering on his promise, is perforce, in fair exchange, given a bandwidth of discretion that encompasses the challenge and tolerance for trials and errors. Feeding on the instinct for workmanship, the record of success of this arrangement in practice is close to 100%. Participants who fear failing on the deal will invariably remove themselves early on.
By now you know that every qualified keystone is a responsibility-taking task designer. Every keystone is a man-in-the-middle, custodian of the Franceschi Fitting. Every keystone is legitimately, functionally, and authentically responsible for viability husbandry – increasing productivity. His role on the organizational chart (Starkermann) as productivity gatekeeper, as the protagonist, is within the 2½ rule. Where there is no equivalent level on the framework that supports the organization, it is necessary to create one before the transposition can begin. There are two empires in society today that have arranged their affairs so that no level in the hierarchy has responsibility for fit outcomes – education and medicine. Iatrogenic is a top cause of death in the USA and education is notoriously irresponsible in schooling your children.
This responsibility gap issue is never discussed and all attempts to close the gap have been attempts to defy Gödel. While there is no doubt the transposition would deliver the benefits package, the fuss that has to be made to establish a productivity-protagonist level triggers organizational trauma. The responsibility criterion is a stopping rule for the transposition. No outcome responsibility, no dice.
The fact of the matter is that education and medicine, criticized for centuries on this account, avoid change by having no level in its hierarchy outcome-responsible. This stand, easy to test, amounts to double insulation against correcting the cause of outrageous performance. The transposition paradigm is truly generic, universal. Given the requisites, it can’t miss. Try to defeat it.
The mathematical physics of GIGO doesn’t even require long division. Everyone knows what happens to the soup when sewer juice is added to the pot. Garbage in produces garbage out (GIGO). Any amount of garbage in produces all garbage out. The reason garbage is always getting into Plan A is that no proper benchmarks are set up for distinguishing trustworthy information from fiction. Even software for debugging code has to be debugged.
In Plan B, the price of avoiding GIGO failure, trustworthy benchmarks, and eternal vigilance, is considered an unavoidable tax. It is paid as routine. Keeping GIGO in check is why, exactly, responsibility is focused on the system designer. There are no half scores for keeping half of the garbage out. When you see fellow members tossing in the garbage, you have no incentive to clean up your information.
Attempts to defy GIGO are too habitual and routine to get much notice when they are executed. Getting at the truth is reserved for litigation over damages.
Law of optimality
The mathematical physics of this law plays a big role in designing for productivity. A good chunk of the energy in Plan A is spent to cover up attempts to defy optimality law. Another example of common-sense reality, the law of optimality states that whatever resources have been wasted in errors and ineffective strategies cannot be recovered by future efficiencies. When management fails to support productivity improvements, keeping the suboptimum degrading system in service, the money lost during the lag in remedial action is unrecoverable. Globally, the unjustifiable delay in boosting productivity costs $8T/annum.
Canons of Psychology that play leading roles
Of course, human psychology is a big hitter in how people choose to animate their social systems. No one can doubt that man is a social animal, one who places his “standing” in his collectives at or close to paramount in his totem-pole of values. When you consider the extreme actions and sacrifices man has taken to secure public esteem, the damage from operating a Plan A pales in comparison. To gain social esteem in one society, members will inflict, without remorse, genocide on a rival society. The tipoff of this proclivity is depersonalization. When one cabal gives rival cabals numbers or abstractions in place of names, at any scale, you can be certain the vector going forward is towards genocide. Depersonalization is the prelude to zero-sum combat. The equation of behavior we use for the transposition is: (Genetics + social conditioning) x circumstances = behavior.
Argyris on Plan A
The scholarship of Chris Argyris on organizational dysfunction, which went on for over 50 years, was unmatched during his tenure. Living amid various organizations, Argyris observed and ran tests to discredit his theories. He summarized the mechanisms of action that define Plan A in his Theory-in-use Model I:
- Be in unilateral control over others and remain so
- Win, do not lose (zero-sum)
- Suppress negative feelings
- Act rationally
To defend ideological infallibility, he codified the actions encouraged by Model I as follows:
- Avoid defining clear objectives and evaluating behavior in terms of achievement of the goal.
- Discourage inquiry and testing.
- Send mixed messages.
- Act as if the messages were not mixed.
- Make topic undiscussable.
- Act as if not doing any of the above.
- Be skillfully incompetent and oblivious to consequences.
- Intercept and contaminate feedback
Argyris on Plan B
Professor Argyris set the standard by which attainment of the transposition goal could be measured. He called it Theory of Use II. The toughest criterion, by far, is for Plan B to be self-sustaining. That means Plan B must have a self-regulating apparatus that does not need outside resources.
In 1960, Argyris, then a professor of Industrial Administration at Yale University, published “Understanding Organizational Behavior.” In his book, available on Amazon, Argyris proclaimed his goal and enumerated the criteria by which he will celebrate its attainment. In the 56 years since his manifesto for productive action was published, no scholar or practitioner in the field ever quarreled with or detracted from his lucid and logically-impeccable specification of the outcome. We adopted the Argyris declaration of goal and benchmark of Plan B attainment as the measure of mission realization. When the signals of paradigm success first appeared, our perceptual frameworks were ready to recognize them.
The paradigm is:
It will satisfy the following requisites:
- Upfront, causally transparent specification of objectives, prediction of outcomes, and the sequence of actions to produce them.
- Explicit premises, individually falsifiable.
- Structured in the form of concise causal statements of conditions under which the paradigm will hold.
- Falsifiable in whole and parts. Provisions for error detecting and error-correcting. Unconditional auditing.
- Effectiveness measurable by observable data.
- Robust ground-truth feedback process for continuous improvement.
- Final validation of effective application is measured productivity profile in the application, in situ.
- This leads to the consequences it predicts. Delivers promises in the operational reality.
- Proactively humanitarian. Responsible steward of the quality of life. No losers.
- Foresighted, preventative, creative.
- Propagation and amplification of effectiveness by reciprocity – the supreme validation.
- Congruent with reality. No magic, intuition, faith.
- Establishes and fosters a learning context.
- Unrestrained truth-seeking. A lack of defensive routines.
- Risk-taking tolerant. No change panic.
- Implementation protocols are teachable.
- High sensitivity to disturbances and highly effective in neutralizing disturbances.
- Causes no harm in implementation. (Warfield’s dictum). Rational demands of its elements.
- There is only pass/fail on productivity benchmarking. Partial scores count as zero.
- High explanatory power, with minimal concepts and premises.
- Authentic, genuine, trust, instinctive, happy, intimate, collaborative. In other words, natural.
- Fast delivery of benefits.
- All actionable knowledge developed has the traceable pedigree to natural-law fundamentals and primitives.
- Aligned with and compelled by genetically endowed instincts.
- Provides tools for rapid, reliable status assessment.
- Incontrovertible from any perspective.
Paradox accumulating as angst
Plan A is a social system drowning in the paradoxes it brings on itself by deliberate, willful ignorance. Living with contradictions brings cognitive dissonance and when no relief is forthcoming for that well-studied malady, contradictions accumulate in the form of angst. Individuals emotionally suffocating on angst are easy to spot and Plan As (and roadways) are filled with them. Untrustworthy, anglers cannot be productive and they are unsafe on the job.
Since internal energy is a zero-sum affair, the dilemma with angst overload is that no internal energy is available to do anything constructive. Most resources are consumed in supporting angst. This “lost” energy supply is made available to the keystone by angst blowdown to the interventionist’s sump during the early phases of the A-TO-B PROCESS. As one of the services of the interventionist, it can be witnessed in real-time and its positive effect is dramatic.
The work of Abraham Maslow on human psychological needs and their ranking, first published in 1945, does not age. He objectified the definition of entelechy, the full realization of your potential – what the transposition is about. It is the roadmap to psychological closure, the most elusive condition in the universe. You only get signals that you’ve made closure when you arrive there.
Using the Maslow laws of self to evaluate Plan A is a sobering experience. Victims of zero-sum played with loaded dice, the working force is stuck in level one or two, to a man. The head shed never gets near the upper levels of self-actualization. They may have economic success, but psychological success eludes everyone but the sociopaths.
The contrast to Plan B could hardly be greater. The interventionists are Maslow’s grade “self-transcendent,” otherwise they couldn’t do the work of skilled intervention. Most of the keystones eventually reach self-actualized rank – psychological success.
The trick at any Maslow tier is to husband what you have and strive upward. Transforming Plan A to Plan B is a rapid buildup of self-confidence. Angst accumulations dissipate along with self-doubts by steady tangible advances from self-implementing the concepts and using the tools. Success is a spur to more success, with entelechy remaining elusive.
The social needs of the keystones are very different than the rest of the hierarchy. Their self-confidence derives from success in applied knowledge more than public acclaim. The block improvements in productivity and morale speak for themselves.
The laws of motivation are structured and ordered by the Maslow scale. Motivators vary greatly by position on Maslow’s hierarchy and by organizational hierarchy. At the upper tiers, you are above the mentor line, motivation is all from within. The social systems of Plan A are helpless to assist positively. Their advice is to accept your fate and be thankful that things are not worse.
There are many intelligent applications of zero-sum engagements, for sure. None exist in the humanitarian scope. Zero-sum, the hallmark of Plan A, is proof positive that workforce morale is going to hell. What could be the advantage of having the producer of your wealth furious at you? Welcome to labor-capital relations.
Carl Rogers is a hero of the transposition. His famous triad: empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard is the universal lubricant for the machinery of Plan B. Its tenets, genuineness: open, spontaneous, authentic, and agenda-free support provide the highest benefit/cost ratio of any tool ever devised by man. It is so easy and so effective, it begs the question: Why doesn’t everyone embrace the Rogerian triad? Why indeed.
The keystones are exposed to the Rogerian triad by the interventionist, which is the quintessential prelude to angst blowdown, and then instructed in deployment techniques for their use. The payoffs are shockingly high. Why do social systems leave those big payoffs on the table? Why indeed.
Perhaps it is because no one loaded down with angst can engage the Rogerian triad. It is impossible to fake genuineness. How can you uptake the woes of another individual when you have a surplus of your own? No member of a Plan A can be trusted as a blowdown tank. This dependency may explain why Rogers is underutilized, but no way is available to prove it.
Trust is a word, like safety and intelligence, in common use that has no universal, workplace definition. One of the official definitions: “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something,” uses words that have no common, measurable understanding either. Does the word “truth” have any utility at all in today’s social milieu?
The sorry fact of the matter is that, by definition, any member of a Plan A is untrustworthy. How can you trust anyone on Noah’s Ark that spends his day drilling holes in its bottom? You can’t trust management deliberately and routinely committing felonies and you can’t trust a workforce committing the crimes of obedience that implement management’s felony. No wonder Plan As are socially toxic. OK, so you can trust them to do bad things.
For transposition purposes, trust is established by a series of measurements, after the fact, that unconditional trust extended in initialization was justified by the performance. Trust has to be extended, first. You must be vulnerable to betrayal. We use a talisman to warrant to the recipient that he is trusted – until performance proves otherwise. Everything you do has to reflect total trust to detect any payoff of your trust. You can only influence the equations of trust in a positive direction by one-on-one contact. Trust cannot be established across a gap.
While destroying trust is instantaneous, because it’s brittle, building trust is tricky even under the best of circumstances. The law of optimality applies. If you don’t start right, building trust is hopeless. You can’t back fit trust. These stipulations also mean that trust, if it is to happen at all, will be attained quickly. Slow means no.
No doubt about it, trust is the paramount factor in moving the paradigm along. Trust is the big milestone and checkpoint. If trust in the interventionist is not established by then, he can take things no further until he earns his wings. The time constraints on establishing trust inbound make it essential that the interventionist be a Rogerian-Triad virtuoso. This is done, cheek by jowl, one on one, at the keystone’s workstation. There is never a time limit. Angst blowdown comes after trust is established when it comes.
The second boost in trust-building comes when the keystones test out the paradigm concepts and tools in their work scene and find out that they perform – straight out of the box. Interestingly, the interventionist is unconcerned about distributing his unconditional trust to the keystones. The enabling factor, validated by his experience, is his confidence in the paradigm.
In Plan B, trust is the prime mover behind productivity increase, of efficient viability husbandry. Trust has no overhead cost. In Plan A, the overhead costs to produce without trust are so high that management doesn’t want them tallied. It is as easy to detect operations based on trust as it is for production under distrust. The ambiance between the two conditions could hardly be more different.
Unexamined choice and reflex action
A major factor in building and running a Plan A is the standard practice of letting business as usual choose and act without going to the bother of consciously engaging and evaluating the facts. In Plan A, task action decisions are made by reading a subconscious brain-driven teleprompter. Background brain’s decisions made way in advance, have a record worse than random chance. The issue with impulse decision-making is that it is counterproductive to viability husbandry. Subliminal decision-making does not work.
In Plan B, the decision-makers are expected to intercept their impulses and hold them until an examination and evaluation of the relevant information have taken place. There are tools for intelligent decision-making that keep the reflexes in check. They invariably save you embarrassment. Serious blunders can often be averted by calling a recess for knee-jerk reactions until the intellect is brought into service. The success of this policy leads to a good habit of catching the produce of reflexes, cognitive bias, phobias, predispositions, impulses, paranoias, penchants, obsessions, proclivities, and manias before much damage is done.
Most of the cultivated reflexes of management, unimpaired by an intervening intellect and actionable-quality information, encourage the management of the very consequences says it seeks to avoid. The response to reflex-caused failure is to trigger another impulsive decision. It is the primal scream of progressive degeneration.
There are some custom-designed, field-proven tools to assist the keystones in understanding Plan A, transforming, and in maintaining Plan B viable. When the tools start to quantify the true state of affairs in Plan A and provide particulars about the dysfunctions, management, if it finds out, can panic. The keystones relish the leverage that ground truth gives them against emotion and pulling rank.
In Plan A, no one knows how the place works. No one has a map of interactions of the organization and its outside world of vendors, regulators, and stakeholders. No one measures productivity or effectiveness. These tools allow building a map of communications that will be full of surprises and very popular with the workforce.
The technical tools organize the local and the particular information about the production process for action. Getting at the efficient cause of the problem, the tools illuminate the discrepancy between the real need and the stated goal. The marvelous psychological tool provided by Carl Rogers is effective for dealing with the angst, paradox, and lies that thwart attaining psychological success.
The analytical tools of the transposition will be discussed at more length in Book 3, Plan B. They are used to get at the truth and keeping things honest. For several solid reasons, fiction can’t get past the toolbox. The tools are material and practical. Lies are caught as errors during the process of adding things up to unity. What doesn’t get caught by the configuration tools gets caught by the dynamics tools. Sooner or later everything feeds entropy extraction. All systems have to make peace with natural law. Some of the paradigm tool names:
- Rasmussen – TDBD
- The Franceschi Fitting
- Relationship Matrix
- Penetrations FMEA
- Dynamic Simulations (intelligence amplification)
Running the dynamics is where errors with the conservation laws are exposed. The matter is neither created nor destroyed in production. Everybody has configuration information. No one has information on system dynamics. You win.
Frames of reference are complexity reducers. The unfathomable complex of individual social system behaviors, when hung on a rack of sets of patterns of behaviors can be understood as a single dynamic artifact. Take the rack around the globe and over time. See if you can find organizational behaviors that have no home on the tree. When satisfied, study the interactions of the sets. Done.
By recognizing that organizational behavior is constrained to patterns that are universal and timeless, your predictions of future trajectories are gold. With natural law digging the channels that constrict the possibilities, failure is impossible. When you construct your own “tree” from your own experience, all doubts are erased. To build your framework:
- Recognize ubiquitous, recurring patterns of behavior and assign the set of patterns a unique tag.
- Recognize and associate the sets of patterns to the host attractor.
- Then, detect anylisted pattern of behavior and you immediately know:
- Which host you’re in, Plan A or Plan B
- What patterns you will not encounter
- What patterns arethere waiting for you to notice
- How to predict the trajectory of collective action
Hierarchical roles (Starkermann)
On-target dynamic simulation of social behavior came of age with Rudolf Starkermann (1924-2015). The idea struck him in Africa, working on the control system of an industrial process for Brown-Boveri. In 1954, the Swiss genius noticed parallel behaviors between the process control system he was sent to fix and the antics of the operating organizations. Simple controls went with rational social behavior. Complex controls went with irrational social behavior.
He decided, on his own, to use the control system design technology of the times and apply it, as-is, to systems of flesh. He began building models using control theory templates fully proven in industrial control. When he took a professorship at the University of New Brunswick, Canada, he finally had access to mainframe computers that could run his models. He was selected to be a mentor to our quest in 1986. Collaboration on the hierarchy began in 1994 when personal computers became powerful enough to handle the computational load. He laid out a test program for small groups, which we executed, that examined flat democratic and hierarchical configurations. Since the simulation study brought several surprises, live tests were run, over time, on real groups. When reality matched the surprises, dynamic studies were extended to larger and taller hierarchies. By then, Rudy had retired from UNB and chose to run the study by himself. His work was published as “Die Hierarchy,” written in Swiss-German, in 2005. It has since been translated into English. Again, the huge volume of work contained many surprises that had to be confirmed in the operational reality. It was during this protracted live test period that the first successful transposition was conceived and conducted. The table of results of the massive simulation work, reproduced from Starkermann’s book, pure gold, is available upon request.
The table shows, for every spot on the hierarchy, the natural law limits indiscretion of task actions for that spot. This computation was done for hierarchies from 2 to 12 levels of hierarchy. Above 12 tiers, the changes are trivial. Armed with this tool you can easily determine whether an irrational command is from a sociopath or a manager trying to defy natural law.
The transposition platform is Starkermann’s work. Just like the wormhole Nature placed with the 2nd Law for entropy extraction, the laws of hierarchy dynamics can be abided and leveraged at the same time to get desired outcomes. The 100% success rate of the transpositions attests to the foundation supporting the paradigm.
Striking differences between Plan A and Plan B are found in the means by which things get accomplished. When both social systems are blind drunk, there’s no difference at all. It is the same people getting high. Understanding the difference in behavior, when sober, is to understand the differences in the mechanisms of action the same people employ to produce value.
The mechanism of action chain that starts with depersonalization and ends in genocide is launched by unchecked business as usual. When people in the workforce are handled as numbers and not as equals, you can be sure that trouble is on the way. Once the working staff is depersonalized by the head shed, it rigs the zero-sum game of labor-management relations in favor of management. Depersonalization removes humanitarian and moral factors from the arena. That is how it came to be obvious during the 19th-century growth of big business, that wage earners were being treated worse than slaves. The owners of slaves had no reason to abuse their property. Slavery was never zero-sum.
Depersonalization swings both ways. When you don’t matter, your work doesn’t matter. When you find out your work doesn’t matter, you have proof that, to your collective, you don’t matter. In Plan B, it’s the opposite. You matter so much to societal viability as a gatekeeper you are given the autonomy and trust to the matter as you think best.
When the owners engaged a zero-sum relationship with people of no cash value, they assumed the less wage they gave to the wage earners, the more they could keep for themselves. The opposite is true. The resulting inhumanity soared to such heights after the civil war, the government had to take action to stop the carnage against its citizen-taxpayers. The end game of depersonalization is to kill off the workforce – genocide.
The power of this mechanism of action, psychology expressed in deeds, is so high that it flourishes in various forms today. The first recorded denunciation of zero-sum, 1800 CE, occurred in England by an industrialist who did his before-and-after test. He announced to all that his business and his profits soared when he treated his workforce as the revenue center it was. None of his peers emulated his strategy. It’s an early instance of success phobia. The same scenario was recorded by NCR in Dayton, OH in 1895, and by Remington in 1906, in Manhattan. Details are in the .pdf library. We can now generate examples of this acuity of success phobia, spawn of the instinct of domination, on-demand.
A psychological ground-truth tool
The transposition paradigm has enabled a test of management, which you can give in safety. Reliable in the extreme, the score provided by the exam cannot be wrong. The test is given at an opportune time when you have the ear of the target and no crisis is underway.
Anyone can use the paradigm, as we do, for predicting human behavior in specified situations. This capability to foresee is enabled by following the prime movers of social group dynamics. When individuals of the group are in Crusoe conditions, these social forces are dormant. In a Plan A world, where behavior is rule-based perforce, very little that transpires is unpredictable. In Plan A, what is bad for society is a forced way of life that is bad for its inhabitants.
In Plan B, individuals are essentially autonomous and therefore locally and particularly unpredictable. The paradigm is the bond. It is the overall performance of viability husbandry in Plan B that is predictable. Each individual, in his way, is contributing towards the strategic welfare of his Plan B at the same time he is attending to his psychological success. What’s good for the individual is aligned with what’s good for his society. You don’t “force” the individual to do his job. He does it and does it well only because he wants to. The particulars are too tied up with innovation to be predictable. The proof of results-orientation is the happiness of the people in seeing to the prosperity of their society – Sir Thomas More’s definition of Plan B.
Can you have a happy population in a declining, incompetent society? It might be possible with inmates of an asylum going through liquidation, but angst and unhappiness are reliable markers of Plan A. In the same way, a happy workforce marks a dedication to the stuff of Plan B.
The choice available to the individual is one or the other. It’s Plan A or Plan B. Mixtures are fleeting and explosively unstable. To plot trajectories into the future, once you know which set of forces is in play, forecasting becomes perfunctory. To make on-target forecasts you must be on-target in the classification of individual mindedness.
If you actually have a Plan Bn and classify him erroneously as Plan An, your forecast will fail on the benign side. It’s not difficult to spot someone going against the grain of Plan A and your error can quickly be corrected. The real danger is in miss-classifying a dedicated Plan A as a potential Plan Bn. Plan As are usually very clever at concealing their true allegiance and if you allow yourself to get fooled, it is the borrowing of trouble.
You can use the success of the transposition, incontrovertible, as a tool for avoiding mindedness misclassification errors. Since closed minds feature success phobia, Achievemephobia, the tactic is to package the transposition paradigm so that refusal to audit an implementation site exposes the phobia. Closed-mindedness has supreme control over trustworthiness and learning. Unqualified to be a keystone, closed-minded people are more dangerous than helpful for problem-solving projects.
Since the target may not appreciate having his psyche secrets open to view, it’s always best to be private and discreet. Either way, it comes out, the test and the results are not discussed with others. If he is open-minded, his reactions to the paradigm will be positive. If he is closed-minded, his negative reactions have been neutralized. When you have a “leader” fearful of success in attaining goals he has espoused, you can figure out the rest for yourself.
The test is patterned along the lines of the confident saleslady genius who confronted her potential customers with “If we show you practical, workable solutions to the issues you present to us as problems, are you prepared to buy?”
- Get a ballpark figure of the firm’s productivity.
- Look for the telltales of Plan A/Plan B. If it’s not Plan B, which is a rather obvious condition and you don’t need to run the test, it’s a Plan A.
- For any Plan A, you can guarantee a 25% windfall increase in production/profit with impunity.
- Customize your pitch. One from the practice that has yet to fail: “In responding to your wishes to “go to the next level,” we note that you generate about $12M in deliverables per month. Service is available that can improve your productivity by 25% or more, quickly, without capital investment or change to your organizational chart. The benefits package it delivers, in your case $3M per month windfall, is self-sustaining. To address your concerns, there are implementations of this service that you can visit to examine and evaluate the method and performance claims for yourself.”
- Offer to arrange for an in-house demonstration or an inspection trip to an application.
After the test is administered, you’re done. Mentally record the reaction and keep it on file. The initial typical manifestation of success phobia is catatonia. For that event, nothing further needs to be said. You do not need to rebut a denial of efficacy because negative objections about the service never arise. You have your answer.
The size of windfall and the offer of in situ examination preempt the usual lame excuses. Since the target recognizes his dilemma and who brought it to him, it’s best to take your feigned innocence and vacate the area. To be rejected by the closed-minded is to sidestep a pursuit of the impossible.
The miscellany of social membership
Obedience to Authority
Mindlessly following orders sent down the chain of command is not the only road to Plan A, but it is a sure, direct one. Anytime you are instructed to do your work, brain-off, you can be sure of colliding with contradiction and paradox. In Plan B, you are expected to use your intelligence. After all, you have been given autonomy in exchange for outcome responsibility and the only way to meet the challenges of husbandry is via applied intelligence.
Challenges of ideological infallibility
When you are expected to defend the enigmas rather than resolve them, you are already a hired accomplice to Plan A. The stabilizing force of the Nash Equilibrium is real. The pushback you get from others anytime you try to act rationality is material. If the system won’t let you change it, your only recourse is to act as if the system didn’t need to be fixed. There goes your internal energy.
On the yellow-brick road
Once you get going on the transposition, all sorts of signs start appearing that you are en route to a happy place – one that perpetually has its act together. When the ‘shock and awe’ phase of the transposition settles in, everyone on the transposition has already sensed that they are going to make it and that being there in Plan B is going to be well worth the “losses” and the effort.
Yes, making the transposition will affect your membership status in Plan As. The losses in your standing as members of dysfunctional organizations in Plan A are unavoidable. Neither attractor will knowingly allow dual-citizenship. Taking the transposition is an act of self-improvement. Your transformation will be noticed by your social system people. Since you are doing something proactive that anyone could do, your advances in self-improvement will be graded. Low scores will bring you credit for trying and sympathy for failure. If you ace the mutation, you will find yourself marginalized. You will be accused of orchestrating the whole thing – intentionally trying to “look better” than your peers. You have acted outside of your caste limits and you must be punished. It is an exhibit of the phobia of success.
In Plan B, thinking outside of the box and acting on your ideas for improvement is a condition of membership. Your peers are doing the same things. Measurements are made of your effectiveness, not your obedience. You are receiving, as a windfall, the benefits that other members have brought forth. It is only fair that you strive to contribute as well.
Setting the stage for Plan A
Plan A germinates when a collective reach a combination of size (numbers of employees) and configuration (hierarchical layers) and chooses to operate through the transition by business as usual. If you want to create a Plan A with no risk of failing:
- Employ more than 100 individuals
- Establish a hierarchy with 3 or more levels
- Operate like the Plan As around you
Nature, conventional practice, and time will take care of the rest.
Yes, you can have organizational dysfunction with smaller groups. Just attempt to defy the 2½ rule. Depersonalize your workforce and declare that management and labor are henceforth in a zero-sum relationship. Wasn’t that easy?
It’s not predictable when and under what circumstances Plan A initializes and takes off. If management betrayal of the workforce occurs, Plan A forms instantly. An example is the unannounced corporate takeover gambit. When the staff finds out they’ve been thrown under the merger bus, productivity freefalls to zero. If Plan A wasn’t raging before the announcement, it sure is from then on – both firms. The record of mergers and acquisitions that fail is so embarrassing, POSIWID speaks that whatever was claimed for it, was not the reason the merger was pushed through.
Once initialized, the sequence to Plan A maturity and lock-in is pretty much the same. The choice to continue business as usual as the organization passes quietly through Nature’s boundary layer is the trigger. When the 2½ rule kicks in, top management can no longer keep up with the torrent of ground truth about production. With the legal authority to command, at will, management is inclined to steer its ship of state using information from informants that are forced by their role to compress and twist what they receive by other informants – similarly constrained. Working with fiction, the head-shed helmsmen navigate the organization onto the rocks of contradiction. The instinct of domination interacts with the wreckage caused by its force to increase domination forces. This forms a cycle of progressive degeneration that ends in collapse.
When the workforce realizes it is being forced by management, fixated on Ideological conformance, into counter-productivity, it switches into defense mode – perforce – that takes the form of efficiency withdrawal, for centuries called Ca’ canny. When CYA becomes a condition of action, productivity takes a nosedive. Management, responding to production problems it caused, issues stronger commands to the workforce – now fully aware that management is clueless and ruthless. This event signals that zero-sum is the relationship in play. The more paradox descends on labor from hostile, ill-informed management, the more labor withholds defense efficiency.
The cover-up of zero-sum wreckage on productivity is facilitated by a menagerie of scapegoats, elephants, and monkeys. The ugly causes and consequences of zero-sum are declared undiscussable by both “sides.” No one dares to proclaim the truth that productivity has never been and can’t be zero-sum. As soon as the menagerie appears, Nash locks in the arrangement and keeps it stable by installing behavioral echo chambers. Management occupies itself with ways and means to short-change labor and the workforce withholds efficiency accordingly. The impact on the productivity of zero-sum idiocy has been measured for centuries. For “normal” cases, the loss is at least 25%. Extreme zero-sum gamesmanship can drop productivity by 75% or more. The transposition guarantees no less than a 25% gain in productivity – self-sustained.
You have a standing invitation to visit any of the transposition places and examine and evaluate the paradigm claims for yourself. The refusal to audit a live application does not invalidate the claims of the A→B process.
The lesson learned is that high productivity can never be taken for granted. It is always transient and fleeting. Viability husbandry requires intelligent and never-ending attention. Native instincts may get the job done for a spell, but operating by the “rules” of the glorious past has a sell-by date. The key indicator is a proactive, ongoing effort to increase productivity. This long-term maintenance need is satisfied with subsequent “seasons” of six episodes each that maintain the veteran keystones, already self-confident, and pushes up towards Maslow’s self-actualized level.
Now that the machinery and dynamics of Plan A have been deciphered in ways that you can falsify by your own experience and testing, the central question remains. Why does a species supposedly at the top of the Darwinian intelligence scale navigate itself to extinction? Millennia after millennia? Or, if you prefer, what makes emulating the strategy of self-extinction intelligent? The question was referred to the scientific study of causation, called etiology. It remains unanswered. As Plan B is not Nature’s choice for mankind, neither is a Plan A. Plan A is manmade and unnecessary.
The fossil record reveals that species extinctions can be rationally attributed to events beyond the control of any species. Dramatic changes in the climate, movement of the tectonic plates, super-volcanoes, asteroid impacts, and the like have been used to account for the great bulk of species extinctions. So far nothing in that class of cataclysmic events has confronted mankind’s close relatives on the tree of life that disappeared, like Neanderthal, going back eons ago. You can rule out an outrageous fortune for mankind.
If there is no material, compelling purpose for man to drive himself to extinction, POSIWID, and seeing that extinction remains the unanimous free choice of society, there is a monster dark-matter-class paradox. The fact that man in social membership, and not Crusoe, choose self-annihilation is on a collision course with his claim of top-gun intelligence. This enigma is just one of many paradoxes that distinguish Plan A. With contradiction one part truth and one part lie, Plan Bs, to maintain effectiveness, treat an emerging enigma just like any other error to be neutralized. Yet, the question remains; why is a societal paradox even an issue?
In our decades on the quest to develop the paradigm, nothing changed more frequently than our guess as to why all this counterproductive, cross-purposes irrationality exists. Most of the opinions of our cronies, like greed, power, and fame, have long since been proven false. Decades of experience with distinguished professionals in psychology have not delivered a testable answer either. Nothing proposed has a shred of evidence. The current best guess is an unbridled instinct of domination.
Another item in the cauldron of our ignorance is the fact that everyone knows they operate in Plan A. Everyone knows they are accessories to the condition they say they despise. They know it is manmade and that Plan A gets worse, never better, with time. Everyone already knows that infallibility of doctrine, of ideology, is unsustainable. No one knows why the populace complains about Plan A damage and then goes straightaway to enable it.
An interesting property of the Why issue is that even if the true causation was proffered, there is no direct way to validate it. Indirectly, perhaps. If the psychological cause of Plan A were to be identified, somehow, it would be vehemently denied by the perpetrators. There is a long history to this auto-response of Plan A people. Books are available about the denial of causation immediately followed by the actions previously denied. Some scholars of industrial sociology made a career out of it. We no longer think that if the why question was answered correctly, the knowledge would have utility in either transposition or Plan B operations.
As knowledge and experience with social system dynamics under disturbance gathers, we think there are several reasons why Plan A covers the globe, like Sherwin-Williams paint, where any one of them can get the job done.
- React to disturbances using the path of least resistance
- Put off maintenance, husbandry, entropy-extraction
- Tolerate lying, opacity, cover-ups
- Obedience to authority, drive, an instinct of domination
As you will see in Book 3, Plan B, the etiological conundrum of Plan A was “solved” by taking the whole arena of social action up a level of abstraction and redesigning the context and process of viability husbandry so that the barricade to Plan B drops out of the equation. You will learn its application to “safety” as an example. When you can transform a Plan A into a Plan B on-demand, enabling immortality, the causes of Plan A paradoxes are no longer items of interest.
If you have a conjecture about the cause that can be tested, check the .pdf record. The people keeping Plan B viable know why they do what they do – because they choose what to do what’s necessary for viability husbandry and are happy doing it. Plan B is always bigger than its threats and disturbances. Take yourself to an installation and see what happens when you try to disturb it.
The distinguishing functionalities of the A→B process, Plan B
As you can tell from the narrative, every effort has been made to locate and credit the precedents to the pieces and parts of the the A→B process. Building the library of Plan A/Plan B took over two years. The empirical intermissions speak for themselves.
The precedents for the A→B process paradigm found and noted, include:
- State Plan A: Ubiquitous organizational dysfunction
- State Plan B: Prosperous and happy
- Definitions of Plan A in mechanisms of action
- Definitions of Plan B in mechanisms of action
- Attempts to “fix” Plan A
It’s clear by now that the huge record of failed attempts, with no self-sustaining successes to date, indicates some stuff must have been missing or overdone in their attempts. It is what’s not there in the record that is key to understanding the “magic.” Everyone who tried to fix Plan A and failed ended up thinking the Plan B paradigm was the pursuit of the impossible and concluded: “There is only one human social system possible and its name is a Plan A. Make the best of it.”
For good reasons, both the keystones and the workers are highly skeptical of the A→B process. Dealing with that justified skepticism requires high mutual trust, which is why trust is the first order of business. The building blocks of trust are truth.
Now that the A→B process is alive and well, it provides an opportunity to study the distinguishing differences. By comparing the A→B process experience to the precedents safely in the library, two aspects have bubbled to the surface. They are functionalities in the A→B process unique in the history of mankind – without precedent of any sort. They form the missing critical success factors that make the A→B process successful and self-sustaining. And, they are demonstrably connected. Unique, never before:
- A generic, universally applicable paradigm for transforming Plan A, as previously defined, into Plan B, as previously defined.
- A high-speed change of a way-of-life (Yin/Yang)
No one had ever figured out a generic paradigm to move a social system from a bad behavior state to a good behavior state and keep it there. No one ever figured out how to change the way of life of a mature social system for the better, abruptly.
In the realms of psychology and sociology, fast changes in behavior are usually attributed to reflexes. Those are simple scalar responses to a specific stimulus. An instinct is not based on prior experience. The expression of an instinct takes more time. Books are available that list hundreds of them.
Instincts are an innate, inbred, fixed pattern of behavior responding to certain stimuli, usually by homeostatic disturbances. Several criteria which distinguish instinctual from other kinds of behavior have been established. To be considered instinctual, a behavior must:
- Be automatic
- Be irresistible
- Occur at some point in the development
- Be triggered by some event in the environment
- Occur in every member of the species
- Be unmodifiable
- Govern behavior for which the organism needs no training
In mathematical physics, an instinct is a multi-directional vector, a quantity with more than two pieces of information in a vector space (linear space). Ironically, beginning with Freud and then Maslow, instincts have gone out of vogue in the behavioral sciences.
From our A→B process evidence, instincts are alive and well. As with the functional definition of Plan B by Sir Thomas, we go with Alexander Jamieson on instinct. In his A Dictionary of Mechanical Science, Arts, Manufactures, and Miscellaneous Knowledge (1829), he defined the term instinct for the first time it was ever defined – “an appellation given to the sagacity and natural inclinations of brutes, which supplies the place of reason in mankind.” It fits our experience just fine.
An instinct can be expressed as a vector in direction and quantity, any quantity. An instinct includes its purpose, direction, and the intensity of its application, magnitude. It is the concept of instinct as a vector that is helpful. The behavioral sciences stipulate that instincts are inborn, not acquired. You die with the same collection of instincts you were born with.
Back during the champion era, with labor and capital at loggerheads, Thorstein Veblen was prodded to publish his book, The Instinct of Workmanship (1914). Veblen’s book on workmanship is a splendid example of an instinct with a multi-directional vector. The strength of this instinct varies greatly depending on circumstances. The A→B process has shown that this key instinct does not go away under Plan A suppression. When the transposition releases the chains immobilizing the instinct of workmanship, the positive results are often spectacular.
Changing the intensity of one instinct, either way, can change others related to it and thereby propagate the change to the resultant vector. The vector of many instincts is tightly connected to truth. That is, attaining the goal of the instinct requires that the information it processes be of actionable quality. By fostering GIGO, these truth-dependent instincts can all be turned from medicine into poison in one stroke. Only in Plan A is the absence of truth inconsequential to the stability of its social systems.
Conjecture of connections
To explain the benefit avalanche that always attends the transmutation of Plan A to Plan B, to ourselves, we hold that the instincts that comprise and stabilize Plan A are different in kind and intensity from the set of instincts we see expressed in Plan B. The avalanche phenomenon suggests that each social system attractor features a trademark set of active instincts that can be triggered as a set to appear or disappear all at once.
The A→B process trick is to unleash the requisite instincts of Plan B and actuate the trigger mechanisms. The keystones, as a rule, being MitM, have very few of the instincts driving Plan A to put back into the closet. Most of the counterproductive things the MitM does are being done under hierarchical force.
When the keystones have the Plan B instinct set in hand with the individual vectors combining in a resultant aimed at Plan B, the avalanche follows. Like so many things in the A→B process, it’s all or nothing. This cascading effect, our conjecture, explains to us why finding the pathway from Plan A to Plan B was so bloody erratic.
While the productivity gatekeeper mutates to Plan B as a result of the transposition, the workers that work under the foreman mutate via a different vector – reciprocity. Once the keystones are implementing Plan B, the workers hold on to their withheld efficiency, Ca’ canny, for another 2-3 months. When the bell-cow workers do go to Plan B, the rest follow in short order.