Filling the void in intra-company communications

Volume V, Number 8, March 15, 1990

Better late than never?

The Late Skil-Set/Alpha Graphix

Ever notice how many things around the old shop are not quite right? It could be a vital supply that runs out, an unnecessary item never returned for credit, a typeset listing that goes for months with hand-written amendments … you get the idea. All one needs to do is look around to see several fine examples.

Certainly, it can not be too difficult to set up an ordering system that ensures timely deliveries. Or to locate a receipt. Or re-set a list. Yet, getting such things done is about as easy as pulling teeth.

Individually, none of these little chores takes longer than half an hour to complete. But once one gets in arrears on enough of those little half-hour chores, one essentially resigns oneself to responding to crises rather than anticipating them. Instead of determining one’s own future, one becomes caught in a reactionary cycle that requires massive effort to escape. Furthermore, once one finds oneself reacting to even the most routine of chores, one becomes incapable of coping with the legitimate crises that challenge every business. It is rather like charging one’s credit cards up to the limit for trivialities, leaving no elasticity with which to meet the unforeseen.

So why would anyone attempt to run a business in such a way? Incredible as it may seem, some business people thrive on chaos. How could anyone accuse a crisis manager of not working? Anyone can plainly see how busy he is! As a bonus, after an artificial crisis is (temporarily) handled, the crisis manager can crow about how successful he is at running a business. Make no mistake, however; one can never make progress as long as one is consumed with catching up, which is why SS/AG seems doomed to run half an hour behind the rest of the world.

As far behind as SS/AG is, it would be folly to put off seizing the initiative until after all the current problems are straightened out. What is desperately needed is to begin anticipating future challenges, while working to resolve issues that have overtaken us.

‘B.A.’ stands for ‘bad attitude’

The Baracas Effect

In the fantasy world of television, B.A. Baracas was a colorful character. His bad attitude was both cute and highly useful for the A-Team.

Would that that were the case in real life. Here on the ground, the bad attitudes pervading SS/AG make it difficult indeed to reconcile the picture-book characterization with its equivalent in reality.

Although it is probably not the goal of management to have a bunch of grumbling employees, the process of creating discontent is so clearly discernible that one must wonder why it is not easily avoided.

The majority of the bad attitudes at SS/AG is due to employees becoming frustrated with their inability to establish and maintain a meaningful give and take with the management. It might be that suggestions for improvement are overlooked, or that promises are unkept. It might be the promotion of a petty tyrant or the institution of seemingly senseless rules and regulations.

Whatever the genesis, frustration builds in employees until they are faced with a decision: either seek employment elsewhere or shut up, do the eight hours and let the alienation fester into impassivity.

It is time for management to realize that happy employees represent a valuable asset and that treating employees as children is tantamount to criminal behavior.

Walking the plank

Reefing the sales

They call it the Hooker’s Law. Put briefly, it postulates that the value of a service diminishes rapidly after it is performed. As a commissioned salesperson can scarcely be compared with a prostitute, you can imagine the surprise of the SS/AG sales team when they discovered that management no longer felt compelled to pay commissions on sales already generated.

Fortunately, it can be reported that an agreement was reached that seems satisfactory to the sales team, so there should not be too many defections. However, it is difficult to imagine anything that would be more effective at quelling incentive in the sales staff. One way to smooth ruffled feathers would be to establish a sinking fund or escrow account out of which future commissions would be paid.

For the record, enlightened employers actually enjoy writing commission checks, because the sine qua non of commission payments is sales.

Getting ready

You May Resume

The number of SS/AG employees who are preparing their resumés is truly staggering. Will the last one to photocopy his resumé please turn off the lights?

There is good and bad news associated with this trend. The good news is that the number does seem to be shrinking. The bad news is that the number is shrinking because employees are leaving SS/AG while the going is good.

Because nearly everyone is capable of formatting a beautiful-looking resumé, a resumé-typing service would go hungry here. Perhaps there should be some sort of contest to see who comes up with the most impressive resumé design. The only surprise is that no enterprising person has stepped forward to offer aid in resumé writing … at a group rate, of course.

Sharp things come in small packages

Short Takes

It has been proposed that there be a ban on new-age psychobabble, positive affirmations, verbalized visualizations, and other forms of happy talk until after SS/AG has shown an overall profit for at least six months. If nothing else, this would make the work environment that much nicer …

It appears that Access Publishing has again posted a profit for February, making a stunning case in point for the issues raised in the February 1990 A-TEAM. The word appears is used advisedly, as the various departments within SS/AG are not broken down into profit centers(!). It is possible no one truly knows what is going on …

With memories of the last big temblor fading fast, it comes as absolutely no surprise that earthquake preparedness measures promised last year by the management have fallen by the wayside. Perhaps we will continue to be lucky …

You may know that Chip has a different media-handling mechanism than Dale. You may not know how the procedure differs for loading media into Chip. In fact, the chances are extremely good that you don’t know, because no one at SS/AG seems to know. Over a month ago, one employee requested (in writing) instruction in this matter. To date, there has been exactly zero response. Each person using the machine apparently follows his own intuition, judging from the variety of set-ups encountered. Ironically, Chip was retrofitted with this new and improved mechanism for the express purpose of providing greater accuracy in media handling …

Speaking of Chip, whatever happened to the credit cards that are supposed to be stashed inside for helping align the media? …


The A-TEAM is published by Axes Publishing, publishing for those with axes to grind. It is presented in lieu of a Director of Corporate Communications, the conspicuous lack of which is shameful in a corporation the size of SS/AG.

Publisher: Axes Publishing

Editorial Director: Regnad Kcin

Managing Editor: Catherwood

Associate Editor: Rocky Rocomoto

Feature Editor: Brad Shaw

Graphics Director: Anita Break

Art Director: Artie Rector

Flutterblast: Don Werner

Sackbut: Ida Gel

Ad Sales: Katie Whumpus