Being lesson on muddying the waters to make them look deep. . . .

“Management consultants steal your watch and then tell you what time it is.” –Martin Kihn

“Let me speak, for a moment, from a 50,000-Foot-Perspective,” said T, laser pointer in one hand, projector remote in the other, “While Six Sigma DMAIC and DMADV deployment has certainly Bootstrapped the Operational Efficiencies of the Today’s Armed Services, you can’t just throw a fundamental Disruption, a New Paradigm, Over the Wall and expect people to Drink from the Firehose. A NOC is more than infrastructure and architecture. That’s the Low-Hanging Fruit. Maybe this is what Porras and Collins call a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal, but I say Best-of-Breed is the only way to go. You’ve got to Implement Cascaded Key Performance Indictors—KPIs—to ensure Stakeholder Buy-in and Alignment and Accountability, not only Along your Verticals but Along your Horizontals as well because what we’re after, here, I’m sure you will agree, is the creation of a COE—a Center of Excellence employing Best Practices. And what do I mean by Best Practices? Why, Scorecarding, of course—that goes without saying—but also De-Siloing, which, as I’m sure you know, is the whole point of Cross-Functional QFD, uh, Quality Functional Deployment, not to mention Matrix Management.”

T surveyed the blank, uncomprehending faces of his audience. He had them just where he wanted them. “And those KPIs—those keys to Alignment—have to be Dashboarded Real-Time and not just floated up into the Adminisphere whenever some Prairie-Dogging GM gets some good news and wants the boss to Bobblehead his bonus. And that’s the Value Proposition of Security-Heightened Information Technologies: we act as Change Agents, not only Architecting the Roadmaps and the Enterprise-Enablers, the Communications Plans and Transformation Plans, but also Facilitating and Fast Tracking the Action Items over the Event Horizon. That’s our Value Add, and if it’s not your Core Competency, and of course it isn’t, that’s the whole point, right, of Privatization? of letting you stick to the business of containing the terrorists? If it’s not your Core Competency, it is ours, and, that’s what we Bring to the Table.

“I know what you’re thinking: of course, there’s always Diminishing Returns on any Hype Curve, but getting the Analytics right isn’t just another Consultancy fad—it’s the Real Deal, it’s what you have to do in Today’s Business Environment, with its Discontinuities and Black Swans. We’ve Ridden the Experience Curve on this one. We’ve done the Knowledge Capture and have the Thought Leaders and the Bandwidth to Knock This Out of the Park—to create a Blue Ocean, if you will. In short, we serve as your Envisioneers. We begin with Capturing Asks, the Voice of the Business and the Voice of the Customer, to Validate the Requirements, and then we Baseline and Benchmark; Map the As Is and To Be; do the Want/Got, the Trending, and the Gap Analyses; establish the Risk Management Parameters with a Failure Means and Modes Analysis. But we don’t stop there, with Shelfware. We actually do the Knowledge Transfer, the Mindshare and Cross-Fertilization, if you will, making sure that your Implementation Team has the Face Time with our PMPs and SMEs to Source it all properly and Queue up the Pipeline so you end up with a Plug-and-Play, Turnkey Solution. And we can Leverage our firm’s Strategic Relationships all along the Value Chain to add further value, with only a modest Incremental appropriation, both to Increase Throughput and Reduce Cycle Time from design to Go Live. And to make sure this is not just some sort of Fire Drill, we Health Check the whole process through the final Toll Gate with our Proprietary Activity-Based Costing.”

T took a deep breath and changed to the next slide. “And if the cost is an issue, let me remind you of the projected ROI. I mean, if the numbers are big at the top of the page, they’re a whole lot bigger at the bottom, and remember that, in the long run, Quality Is Free and pays for itself. And to sweeten the kitty, if this is done properly, you should be able to Demass and Delayer some of those Horizontals I was talking about earlier, so everybody goes home happy. So, the question comes down to whether you need to Run This up the Flagpole or whether can we sign the Incremental S.O.W. right here and now. Or maybe, Colonel Frank, you’d like to Take that part of the discussion Offline.”

The colonel sat back in his chair and thought a bit. After a long while, he smiled. “Son,” he said, “that was some presentation.”

“Thank you, Sir,” said T, “but this was not my presentation alone. It has the full force of Security-Heightened Information Technologies behind it.”

“No. No. Take credit where credit is due. As I said, that was some presentation. I, for one, have found your remarks enlightening. And in return, I have something to share with you. As I’m sure you know, CENTCOM is a multi-service force, a unified command running operations all over the Middle East, Central Asia, and East Africa. We’ve got people from every service working here—a band of brothers running the war effort around the globe. I’m Army, myself—cavalry, if you can believe that—came up in the Horse Cavalry Detachment of the U. S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division—we still keep that detachment in operation, for ceremonial purposes, mind you. One thing about the kind of training I got in the 1st Cavalry—I’ve been around horses long enough to know horseshit when I stumble across it.”

And that is how T came to find himself temporarily unemployed. But, as they say, you can’t keep a good man down, and T wasn’t about to remain unremunerated. T was, after all, like so many up and coming young executives, Coin Operated.


Copyright 2009. Robert D. Shepherd. All rights reserved.

For more poems by Bob Shepherd (and essays on reading and writing poetry), go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/poetry/

For more short stories by Bob Shepherd (and essays on the reading and writing of fiction), go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/short-stories/

About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation
This entry was posted in Poetry, Short Stories, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to CENTCOM DX’s T’s KPIs

  1. Roy Turrentine says:

    I have a friend who met a man at a bar/hamburger joint some years ago. Being naturally garrulous, he asked the fellow what he was doing and the guy said he was a business consultant. This led, of course, to,a brief description of what he did for a living.

    He said he put on a hard hat and walked around the floor of a production facility talking to the people who actually do the work. After hearing their suggestions, he organizes all of it, puts on a three piece suit, and presents it to the management. They pay handsomely.

    I have often thougt of this story as we read of this or that factory going overseas.

    Liked by 1 person

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