The flawed management system

My recent reexamination of LRH admin tech sparked some interesting discussions – some on this blog and more on other forums and mailing lists. I would like to follow up and addresses a rather odd stance taken by some.

While nobody can point to a successful implementation of LRH’s management philosophy (the admin tech) some justify this by pointing to one or more of the following:

a) No-one is trained well enough to implement it
b) People have M/Us (misunderstandings) regarding the tech
c) The admin tech will not work in the presence of suppression
d) The tech has been altered (presumably by others than LRH) sufficiently to render it unworkable as a system
e) Too few know about it – hence there are too few implementations for significant statistical data.

Let’s take up each of these:

a) Nowhere have I seen such an emphasis on training in any management philosophy than in the Church of Scientology, and it only barely works there due to slave labor. If the management philosophy would require even more training to see to its success, then what we are looking at is such a complex system that it fails to carry its own weight.

b) If a management system requires flawless understanding of it to make it work, it is a failure compared to the many other management systems that works very well with people even sloppily trained on it.

c) The admin tech is supposed to be the perfect way of handling suppression.

d) Why did the admin tech not include elements that guarded it from such alterations? Also, other management philosophies have been altered far more and still works very well. This is called evolution.

e) WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) claims: “Hubbard management technology has been applied in more than 140,000 companies across the globe. At the root of this success is its consistent workability — where it is exactly applied it uniformly brings growth and prosperity to businesses and organizations of all sizes.” I would call that significant statistical data – yet nothing but small companies with Scientologists as owners step up claim it successful.

The fact remains; There are no visible successful implementation of LRH admin tech – “successful” implies a significant positive deviation from the mean of the market in which it is implemented. If there are I will surely stand corrected.

If the lack of success should be attributed to some other factor than mere unworkability, should that not apply equally well to other technologies – like voodoo, flat-earth science, psychiatry, breatherianism, et al.?

I understand how some really would want LRH admin tech to be the “only workable management system”. But it isn’t. It’s not even close. As a system, it’s a failure. This is not to say that there aren’t babies in this bath water and that one should chuck out the whole lot. There are great bits an pieces in there – especially in the Management Series (three books containing several series of policies, including the PR series, Personnel series, etc.). As always, pick what works.

Hubbard teaches in his admin tech to look at the actual results to judge a systems workability. If he is right in that, then the admin tech is flawed. If he is wrong in that, well… that lesson is part of the admin tech, and hence it is flawed.

I advocate applying Occam’s razor to this; LRH admin tech as a whole system is seriously flawed.

20 thoughts on “The flawed management system

  1. The argument has been put together here in an extremely efficient manner. It all boils down to “Where’s the beef?” I think LRH lost it by making his “admin tech” a rigid and inflexible system. This requirement forces one to think in a literal manner. That is a trait that fits at 1.5 (anger) on the Tone scale. Thus, people who swear by this admin tech are more likely to be at 1.5 on the Tone scale.

    There are great principles in LRH’s Admin Tech, but there are great self-contradictions built into it also. When one looks at Admin tech, it is like facing a mine field. A flexible mind can maneuver one’s way around by picking and choosing, but a literal mind very soon loses any remaining self-determinism when applying it.

    .

  2. Very interesting Geir. I like your style.

    Scientologists really do come up with all kinds of justifications why the Admin tech doesn’t work as well as it should. Admin tech that is as good as LRH’s is touted should work tremendously in ANY environment.

    I would be interested to find out what you feel is a more workable tech for business. I did study some of Rich Schefren’s work and found that to be extremely practical. In my mind running a business is not that difficult and doesn’t need reams of data to make it work.

    Ciao

  3. To be perfectly honest, when I joined staff at a Class IV Org in the mid-80s … I took a huge loss when I learned that “LRH admin tech” was now to be considered inviolate and unchange’able. I had just gotten my wits around KSW (with regard to tech), and now it also included admin.

    I knew it was a recipe for disaster.

    Our orgs were empty and not growing. There were clearly things not working … staff weren’t getting paid, our public relations sucked, we were losing 90% of those who signed up for their first course … it was dismal. Dysfunctional. And broken.

    Worse, staff weren’t allowed to act on their own good judgement and think for themselves to solve the problems … they HAD to try to fit any solution into an existing policy. And it HAD to show immediate “upstats” by Thurs @2. It was really frustrating.

    And frankly, it felt completely the opposite of what Scientology was supposed to be about.

    (Oddly, though, I still think that if you could remove that ridiculous Thurs @2 pressure, you’d be surprised at how staff would start thinking long term and come up with very workable solutions … even within the rigid structure of existing policy. That constant haranguing for “weekly upstats” from above probably does more damage to the CoS than anything else, imho.)

  4. Taken as a whole I agree Geir. I did use specific parts of the admin tech in my own business, as a life long Scientologist I had no other options, I had no prior education in business and was not about to go squirrel.

    So, I made it work, we used admin scales, just three stats, and had a 21 dept org board which WISE told me was wrong because I put shipping in div 6, “distribution”, (made sense to me when I applied the mind, body, product concept to it) I also used Hubbard’s financial policies to the dismay of the IAS. I would inspect all areas in danger or affluence. We had 4 routing forms, mainly to smoothly deal with warranty jobs, we also had hat packs.

    I tried to use the comm system but my staff would use their boxes to keep their personal belongings in. So it went with the rest of the admin tech, it was unwieldy and didn’t fit.

    All in all it was a successful business. Now I’m a farmer/grazier I find it is impossible to use in any sort of comprehensive way.

  5. Excellent points Geir! I would add the following:

    a) No-one is trained well enough to implement it.

    This is a silly thing to claim, but it strikes a chord because there is some truth to it. But its not necessarily training. Its experience and judgment, something that one learns as one moves up the corporate ladder in bigger businesses. Just try putting an MBA on an Executive position in a large company without any groove-in or experience… well never mind – successful companies simply DO NOT do that. It can take years to build up that resume and get onto executive posts. Most never make it at all. On another front, when you buy a franchise like MacDonalds, the training is included under EXPERIENCED managers. Even the lowly servers are trained under EXPERIENCED servers. They’ve got it WIRED.

    b) People have M/Us (misunderstandings) regarding the tech.

    Yep, they sure do. But it is also true that the policy has become so rigid that it becomes the stop instead of serving its purpose, which is to facilitate service.

    c) The admin tech will not work in the presence of suppression.

    Well duh. Suppress the hell out something and it won’t prosper. That is the essence of suppression. But this gets to a point of ridiculousness where instead of sorting out the mail, everyone runs around looking for a who. People mess up. So what? It gets carried to a ridiculous extreme.

    d) The tech has been altered (presumably by others than LRH) sufficiently to render it unworkable as a system

    Its not a technology. Its policy. And the purpose of policy is to faciliate service. If it isn’t doing that, then its just plain bad policy for that endeavor. But when it is so rigid, then it doesn’t get adjusted and there goes the organization down the drainpipe.

    e) Too few know about it – hence there are too few implementations for significant statistical data.

    This is undoubtedly true that too few know about it. But IMO that is not the reason there are too few implementations. How in the hell can you apply policy designed for the Church of Scientology as found in the OEC volumes to a barber shop or IBM? Any experienced Executive would immediately notice that it is for a Church and set about to utilize whatever might be useful. Its just plain batty to think you implement OEC policy lock stock and barrel to a profit making company. However, the principles in the Management Series can be nicely applied and probably are by lots of companies. But why should they acknowledge where they got it? They don’t acknowledge the colleges they attended, or the authors they read when they went to college or the experienced people who grooved them in along the way. Like I said in an earlier post, most companies are most reluctant to reveal any of their successful actions because a competitor might take them up too and there goes that competitive edge.

    As far as acknowledging LRH. Nope. Not on your life. Bad, bad, bad PR. Especially these days on the Internet. Who wants to position their company with something that has so much controversy, so much noise, so much weirdness associated with it? Answer: no one in their right mind! That is, of course, if there really are such implementations as WISE claims.

    1. Nice additions.

      Now having stated my overall conclusion, it is time to look after the babies in the bath water. Next blog post will be on an excellent point LRH made on recruitment.

  6. Bottom line, it’s just too authoritarian. People like to solve their own problems. That’s what Scientology is all about.

  7. It seems to me that the whole business of pushing and promoting LRH Admin Tech is basically the creation of a Messiah. “He was a genius. And he was a genius in everything.” There’s two ways to go about adopting LRH Admin tech, methinks:

    1) Slavishly and uninspectinly adopt every piece of LRH Admin Tech you can, workable or not:
    a) Every Post has a stat, useful or not. Provable or not.
    b) 2PM Thursday psychosis.
    c) You must have a courseroom, useful and used or not.
    d) A-I Hats
    e) A nine-division org board just like the Church’s org board, including a Source component
    f) A 2:1 admin-to-tech top-heavy capsizing ship.
    g) Unit pay plan with bonuses only
    i) Stuff like hat checks, A-I hats, manual stat gathering and reporting
    j) Working for the Wise Model of Admin Know-How award every year, no matter how it affects actual production
    k) Putting a person on a post and driving him slave-like into apathy without promotions, raises and bonuses
    l) Estos that go through mechanical motions without knowing how to actually get a technical person in your discipline onto a post in your org
    m) Ethics officers who misapply conditions, with their only purpose to get you back producing for the company and no longer considering that “the grass is greener….”

    2) Looking at what is in LRH Admin Tech and seeing what simplicities in it would apply to your business
    a) An org board
    b) A comm system and protocol
    c) Posted stats of stuff that actually counts
    d) Estos that actually Esto
    e) A bonus system that rewards production instead of number-manipulation
    f) Enough worker bees to get the product and minimal admin terminals
    g) Automated stat gathering if the stat proves something
    h) Penalties for releasing products that fail in the field
    i) Sending your technical personnel to real training instead of into a company courseroom
    j) Promotion instead of cubbyholing
    k) Ethics officers who actually help the person as their first priority

  8. Geir,

    You really are a bad boy !

    After I read your post my mind fell apart, as I couldn’t think of a sensible answer to it. You’re butchering a “Holy Cow” !

    But in the end it is very simple. Uptone people can handle their mest and problems. Downtone people are creating enmest and problems.
    It’s about getting “INDIVIDUALS” uptone, and they’ll be able to handle their problems in their job and life.
    LRH says that Education, change of environment, processing are valable processes to get people uptone.

    He never meant that an education in admin tech is an education. You need history, geography, philosophy, calculus, litterature etc…..to have an education and to be able to think with the fast changing world of today.

    The greeks already found it out, the romans were applying it (unfortunately a religion came then along, that knew it better and only alouded their priests to have knowledge).

    The french and englisch philosophers of the 18th century got that point home to politicians,emperors and kings, and because of them we are enjoying the freedoms of today in the western world.

    Imaging a C.O.S that is assessing your education before you start your services or before you become staff and telling you that the problem you have is you don’t know the history of your country or the history of philosophy and there are special classes for to catch up. Wow !!!!!!!
    And then when they have an education, you audit them and let them loose onto mankind.

    Any great King or Emperor that brought enormous amount of theta to mankind had in their youth great teachers.

    It’s all about individuals that can think, and for to able to think they need an education and if they still have problems, you audit them.

    I applyed those principles (that I learned from Lrh) to all my 3 kids, and each one is a genious in his individual character and they are shining examples of people handling their life by being totally creative in their actions and have not a little bit of a middle classs smell. They had nearly no auditing ! Only the principles of child dianetics.
    Ant the most funny part of it – as I only teached them admin tech principles I knew were 100% true- they are teaching me now to be flexible an not so cultist and I learn a lot of them !
    Geir it’s seems you’re on the right path.

    IMHO

    LO

    1. Correction to above post after I read it to my wife. It wasn’t alone me teaching my kids. My wife did the most of it 🙂

  9. I’m on a roll here – here’s some additional comments on your blog post:

    a) Nowhere have I seen such an emphasis on training in any management philosophy than in the Church of Scientology, and it only barely works there due to slave labor. If the management philosophy would require even more training to see to its success, then what we are looking at is such a complex system that it fails to carry its own weight.

    You would not see emphasis on internal training in other organizations. That is because they refuse to bear the cost of internal training for executive positions. It’s expensive and time consuming. You cannot demand someone study your company training materials on their own time without paying them for doing that. Labor laws forbid doing this. So companies establish minimum criteria for hiring. For higher responsibility positions this includes: college degrees (better colleges are favored), experience in other or similar positions, experience and successful work in the company itself, evidence of good character, personal references, and previous work references. There is no short road to any executive position. In the trades and vocations, they are looking for certification, experience and references. If they have to train you, the pay is typically as low as they can get away with.

    b) If a management system requires flawless understanding of it to make it work, it is a failure compared to the many other management systems that works very well with people even sloppily trained on it.

    Since there really are not any “management systems” per se that are designed for a particular type of business, there is no flawless understanding possible. You go to college or you work up the ranks, and in the real world you do both. You can cut the mustard or you can’t. If you can’t, you are terminated. If you can, you are promoted. Sometimes it doesn’t even work that way and people are promoted because they have excellent PR, with mediocre management skills.

    c) The admin tech is supposed to be the perfect way of handling suppression.

    Is it? I’m not so sure that it is supposed to be perfect, but it is considered to be vital and a necessary evil.

    d) Why did the admin tech not include elements that guarded it from such alterations? Also, other management philosophies have been altered far more and still works very well. This is called evolution.

    This is where it really goes off the rails. All policy begins life as a program or targets needed to resolve a problem(s), strengthen working installations and lines, or introduce new strategies/plans. Programs that are successful and that are repeated become policy. Note: this is a paraphrase of LRH policy.

    i.e. we need new people to know about our “How to Make Hamburgers” course. Study out the scene, set up a FLEXIBLE program to implement targets to do that. Program is a screaming success. So what did we do to get that success? Narrow in on that, repeat. Still successful. Repeat. After it clearly is successful and what is not successful has been established, then implement that as policy. But always remember that it is intended to establish and formulate guidelines for success. It isn’t a magic bullet. Its a lot of hard work and planning and execution and a total willingness to get rid of methods that do not work and no longer solve the problems to hand and watch constantly for methods that do work and are more successful.

    e) WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) claims: “Hubbard management technology has been applied in more than 140,000 companies across the globe. At the root of this success is its consistent workability — where it is exactly applied it uniformly brings growth and prosperity to businesses and organizations of all sizes.” I would call that significant statistical data – yet nothing but small companies with Scientologists as owners step up claim it successful.

    If you use the principles, yes. It is 100% workable. If you apply it rotely and fail to understand how policy is developed, you get insanity. Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. …”

    What’s missing from almost every stupid or inappropriate application of policy that I have seen is making sure that you start with knowing exactly what outcome you are working towards. And that means that you NEVER apply isolated policy rotely. You always apply it with key policies kept in place. Things like: “We always deliver what we promise,” and “Maintain friendly relations with the environment,” “the purpose of ethics is to get the tech in,” “hat, don’t hit,” and such policies as “Third Dynamic De-Aberration (Admin Scale) and “Group Sanity Scale,” and “The Way to Happiness” and so on and so on and so on. So there is truth to the idea that one has to understand the entire system. If a person only studies the materials on statistics and gets the idea that this is the only workable policy, then you get idiotic efforts to push statistics. BTW they are still doing that even after policies were issued forbidding that practice. And what a bloody mess it makes. But, when staff do not understand what they are doing and are just trying to avoid being hit and you can’t be hit if your statistics are up then…

    1. Another excellent post Maria.

      You wrote: “You would not see emphasis on internal training in other organizations. That is because they refuse to bear the cost of internal training for executive positions.”

      I think that your point is very true for top-level executive positions. However, for middle- and lower-level management positions, I’ve found that many large companies quite often do provide and/or subsidize “management skills” related training. Some even co-pay or fully subsidize their employees obtaining an MBA (though that was likely more common in the US before the recession hit).

      Also, some institutions in the healthcare field (like nursing and related areas) quite often do fully subsidize training — generally in exchange for a 5 year commitment to work at the hospital or medical facility.

      So I think there are precedents to the “internal training” ideas that Ron used (and likely borrowed) as part of the admin system. I think unworkability enters in when management and administrative ideas proposed become strict, rigid and authoritarian.

      Personally, I think any relatively smart Scientologist could take fundamental ideas in Scientology (the philosophy) and turn them into a pretty brilliant management system. And they’d probably only half-resemble the ones that Ron came up with 40-50 years ago.

  10. Great discussion, one and all.

    Thanks to all for this clear-eyed deconstruction of the arguments presented as to why the flawed management system does not produce the results one would expect from something billed as the most advanced management system on the planet.

    A rational person can see effects created by causes. If those effects are widespread and beneficial, that which caused them has power and benefit. Some examples of outstanding ideas are: the internet, traffic lights, free public education. Those are truly superior systems based on how they’ve been adopted into widespread use, and not because somebody says they are superior and should be used by everybody. One can imagine what the world would be like without those things above.

    On the other had, one can see the effects of trying to manage with a flawed management system: a shrinking church with less and less influence.

    BTW, I like this blog system much better than the forum, thanks!

    1. Good points.

      And yes, I like the blog better myself. Especially now that it is my general blog and not confined to the topic of Scientology. It becomes much more personal this way. Also I suspect less traffic with the wider blog subjects.

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