Posted by Scott Dunn on September 23, 2008
An opponent called Lincoln a baboon and a senator hit another with his cane. Not too long ago we saw legislators duke it out in Japan, and Google reports statesmen’s physical bashings in Jakarta, Taiwan, and the Czech Republic.
Are those good ole days gone forever? The worst I’ve seen lately is, “My opponent’s campaign has reached a new low with his lies and half-truths.” Really—how about really low blows with the gloves off?
I’d favor capital punishment for attacks on anyone’s family. Otherwise, let it rip.
Aren’t you sick of hearing, “My distinguished opponent, with whom I have the highest personal regard, is somewhat misguided on this issue.” That is a non-Freudian slip. What he was thinking was, “He is a bumbling fool and I question his ancestry and the circumstances of his birth.”
We need a police force that enforces non-civility in all political ads. No gentility, only verbal body slams are allowed. Politeness is very boring. Good ads are intrusive. Old-fashioned boxing (under the Marques of Queensbury rules) is being swamped by Ultimate Fights, where the only thing it seems you can’t do is disembowel. Hockey fans want fistfights, Nascar thrives on wrecks. Gladiators win with blood, toreadors earn ears. Americans want a (fair?) fight.
I want to hear what they really think about issues, and what they know about the other guy’s deficiencies (read dirt). Here’s a format that will work for any televised debates:
- In an isolation booth with one mike
- Just the two of them, seated facing each other, three feet apart
- They take turns asking any question they choose
- The other one has one minute to answer, then the first one can shout over
- After five minutes a bell rings and the other guy asks his question
- Two hour limit
All’s fair in love and war. Why not in elections? Let’s fight!
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Posted by Scott Dunn on August 4, 2008
We’ve given you the first five Guides:
Don’t innovate, don’t try to relate to your staff, don’t try to be friends with your customers, forget about long-term planning, and don’t get hung up with objectives.
Now here are last six. Remember, the number one objective is survival, not excellence or fame.
6. Advertising and Marketing: From Positioning to Posturing. Positioning has been rightly described as the art of irrelevant distinction. The most mediocre are never trapped into over-defining and hence limiting their offerings. We have seen a pattern among our select institutions that we call “Power Posturing.” You have reached this level if you can make these affirmations:
- My company has taken the high ground on all issues, such as corporate responsibility. (For proof, see our Mission Statement!)
- We don’t want customers. We want friends who share our values. They’ll be happy with 23/6.
- We don’t satisfy needs. We offer fulfillment.
7. Public Relations: The Spinning Age of Disinformation. There is but one cardinal rule: Facts and truth, like beauty and spooned grapefruit juice, are in the eye of the beholder. Learn from the politicians—answer only your own questions. Muddle through. Don’t take a stand, step aside.
8. Finance: A Borrower nor a Lender Be. The intricacies, uncertainties and risks of modern financial management requires expertise beyond the skills of mediocrity. Therefore, keep all funds in an on-line checking account.
9. Manufacturing: Make it or Break It? There is a bogus issue in some quarters called “quality control.” This is anathema to mediocrity. As long as your output is a sincere effort, buyers should be happy to get it. Outsource wherever you can, settle for Sigma Five and a Half.
10. Organizational Planning: From Lean to Neo-flatulent. Mediocrity cannot be achieved on an empty stomach. Leanness must be eschewed. Proper staffing requires back-up support at every job level. Here are tests to indicate adequacy:
- Generic job descriptions are good enough for all positions.
- Tenure is granted for all employees as soon as they qualify for major medical.
- Hire well-rounded, socially aware C students
11. Visible Management: Back Row, by the Aisle. In some circles, “hands-on” management is extolled. But why? How can workers be fulfilled if they are watched? The proper place for mediocre management is at the rear, by the aisle. From there they have a clear view of the proceedings, but can escape quickly in case of fire.
These guides should suffice for now. We will continue to watch for stories that don’t make the papers. But we doubt we’ll learn anything more, because the strength of mediocrity is that it doesn’t change. You can’t be too cautious. You can’t just talk about mediocrity– you have to live it—to execute it every day.
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