The shortest and quickest path to a problem's solution
is self-management, not waiting for someone else.

Cost Effectiveness

From a business standpoint, encouraging and rewarding self-management is very cost effective. AESOP's self-managing shareholder works to maximize personal profits and monthly share ownership. The average time between encountering and serving a customer's need or problem decreases for the following reasons.

A. The employee will pause and think about a job before quitting and asking for help.

B. If a general understanding exists, the worker will try to write-up the project to receive the maximum project management profit, taking it as far as possible before asking for help.

C. If he asks for help, he is very attentive, for a learning fee is charged for assistance in completing a job or organizing a project. He will seek a sufficient authority to assist him at the lowest training price. A baffled worker will not approach a crony who knows nothing, nor will the frustrated employee immediately solicit the advice of the chief decision-maker who knows most, but also charges the highest rate for educational assistance. In this small way, Aesop promotes the free market system in which the buyer (the employee needing help) seeks the best product (senior staff) for his buying dollar (learning debit transfer).

D. While the more highly trained superior serves the customer, the employee will be more attentive to the service. Failure to learn quickly and fully will require future educational assistance. The employee probably will review his daily performance log to recognize where he has paid for the most training. Increasingly, and on his own, he will review the self-pacing instructional guides after hours because he sees the personal economic benefits.

When refined with objective, standardized evaluation and rewards, self-management leads to faster, better service. A company that promotes self-management will out-perform companies that do not.

Individual Limits

Self-management is not without potential criticism. Conventional wisdom says most individuals cannot be managers, and it holds true in most companies. Managers, as a whole, are underpaid for the problem-solving drudgery assigned to them. Difficulties include undertrained, undermotivated employees who are told not to think. Problems in poorly managed businesses are redundant without permanent resolution.

Universal requirement of self-management with compensation, however, eliminates imbalanced earnings and repetitious problems. As self-management increases within an organization, the difficulties associated with being a manager decrease until the traditional manager can vanish. Anyone can manage more if he has Aesop to help him.

Means of Self-Management

As self-management is implemented, the administrative overhead and the emotional toll on managers decreases. The motivated, skilled individual with traditional management potential will coordinate more activity and individuals. In an AESOP operation the need to re-train, re-motivate, re-evaluate and clean up after subordinates quickly falls far below levels in comparable operations.

Aesop relies on two main computer programs: Self-Manager and Auto-Manager. These programs run on a local area network in which separate microcomputers are linked to a central server. The central file server runs the Auto-Manager, and the connected terminal nodes run the Self-Manager. From day one of employment, the new employee is exposed to the system and assigned management duties. The number one responsibility of all employees is learning, using, critiquing and improving the managing without managers system.

The Self-Manager extends the managerial capacity of the individual by assisting and guiding learning. Good workers perform better, liberating the traditional manager for strategic decisions on growth and market share for greater profit-making. Bad workers change or go. When a person's time on the job is quantified to its productive worth, bad workers consistently have a red bottom line. Workers who cannot achieve the results they claimed when hired are subject to demotion or discharge. AESOP does not ask a person to do more than that which he said he could do.

The Auto-Manager monitors the immediate business environment, performing quality and efficiency assurance. The Auto-Manag er operates on a job-by-job basis and on schedule time cycles (minute, hour, day, week, quarters, and annual). It delegates needed decisions or tasks to trained individuals. Among the tasks automatically managed are accounts receivables, accounts payables, payroll, tax forms, office duties and job assignments. The Auto-Manager coordinates the interaction of the business with other businesses in the AESOP system via a wide area network applications.

AESOP's emphasis on self-management does not mean a quagmire of confusion and tedium. Aesop reduces the need for tedious self-management. Computerization allows any piece of information on the business, employee, customer or job to be accessed in only 3-5 keystrokes. This information includes pricing, techniques, policies, procedures, receivables and payables.

The primary means of self-management is the adherence to a meritocracy, that is, individual capitalism and daily democracy. When people know they will be mentally and materially rewarded for doing their best they will perform better. The essence of self-management is not only a computer program. Standardized policies and procedures of performance with objective, quantified compensation are more important than computers or computer programs. Computerized, these infrastructures of self-management implement the benefits more quickly and efficiently than can be done by manual human effort.

Goodbye Bad Worker

Workers vary in goodness and badness, rightness and wrongness in their attitude to learn, work and perform. These variations have nothing to do with ability. Knowing the difference between the attitudinal extremes is important to the survival of a company. Aesop quickly quantifies and documents poor performance. If discharge is needed, the supervisor can review an auditable trail of communication on poor performance to substantiate the employment termination. The objective, factual nature of communication prevents many everyday occurrences that can cause good workers to go bad.

Constitutionally Bad

Some people simply are bad workers. Within a value system predicated on maturing in problem-solving abilities, bad workers suffer from never being required to be responsible. As a result, they never learn to handle problems.

Self-management, if not a natural talent, should be taught and required. Besides being a logical, survival necessity for parents and teachers, problem-solving training is more humane to a growing individual. To deny a person the mental tools to control his fate is to imprison him.

Not learning to be responsible and self-managing relegates one to second-class humanity or less. The resentful learner is doomed to suffer problems repeatedly and condemned to never know the joy of new and greater achievement. Unfortunately, once accustomed to living without solving problems, bad workers expect the "something for nothing" situation to continue.

If a capable person abdicates responsible management of his time and problems then he should not get more than he is worth. At AESOP, if a person performs below a profitable level, he will be discharged, or his wages will be reduced to allow profits for his retirement, education and benefits. If all companies quickly discharged bad workers, these workers would eventually acquire the work ethic. Aesop confronts the poor/bad worker with the objective worth of his motivation.

Systemically Bad

Locks help keep honest people honest ... and good management policies help keep good workers productive. Employment systems often wear down good workers who become merely bodies drawing paychecks. Aesop creates a better system with policies and rewards that make good workers better. The objective and unemotional nature of Aesop reduces much of the hostility that can develop in the work place. Profit awareness and sharing makes the rewards clear and clean.

By requiring self-management from all workers, the good worker avoids carrying others' burdensome workload. By assisting in the decision-making process with promptings and finger-tip information, the frustration of making mistakes and of not having adequate information is reduced. One can't groan "I forgot to remember", for the computer program double checks crucial decisions. The ease of "one-key does it all" allows complete billing and bookkeeping without the hassle of manual log sheets. This savings in tedium translates into a higher threshold for handling and solving customers' needs.

Procrastination, an indication of poor self-management, delays action that needs to be completed sooner. A reason for delay is the lack of clarity in direction or a general malaise in spirit. Aesop, with its project scheduling and organization, reduces these two causes of delay. In addition, if one cannot do a job when needed, the standardization allows quick and easy re-delegation of the task to another person.

By quantifying performance in an objective, matter-of-fact manner, heated subjective judgment of performance disappears. The responsible individual bears the cost of mistakes. A colleague or boss is less likely to "blow-up" because the lost money is not deducted from the company.

When a superior can objectively comment that "Well, that's a ten dollar mistake that will come out of your profits" the subjective emotional element withers. Why, when assessing a subordinate's error, be negative and personal? More often than not when something goes wrong a boss only has angry criticism as a vent for his frustration. When the wrong-doing is quantified with money out of the employee's pocket and when the boss can bill the employee for the training time then personal criticism will decline. When people see the dollar cost of their mistakes, their attitude and performance improves.

There are benefits to objectively treating problems as hidden opportunities. Within a healthier mental atmosphere toward problems, employees more quickly detect and define mistakes. People seek assistance, both after and before a problem, rather than try to hide the error. Most Aesop project modules for write up and scheduling contain "peer preview" and "peer postview" jobs to encourage and require consideration of potential problems by a colleague. This built-in "Let's look for problems before the customer can find them" develops a professional receptivity to co-worker feedback as being constructive rather than destructive.

Aesop recognizes that a person's ability to handle more complex problems cannot be achieved without successful resolution of lesser problems. These learning mistakes are to be expected and borne by the responsible party to prevent the mistakes from becoming repeat mistakes. The feedback is objective and real-time. Most evaluation is subjective and yearly during a performance review for increased wages. Ironically, the person who makes the most mistakes should be the highest paid person ... if he is not making repeat mistakes. The person who makes the most learning mistakes is the person who has consolidated his knowledge and performance well enough to blaze new trails of revenue from which he should receive a fair share.

Aesop's profit profile shows where a person can increase his profits in new discretionary areas. This gives a shareholder more control in organizing his day. An AESOP employee should not have more than 50% of his time scheduled in job production. Each normal day has a 20% discretionary time allotment that can be rescheduled if unexpected production demands require emergency assistance. This flextime reduces the instances in which the employee feels there is not enough time to serve the customer well. Because AESOP's employees are progressively cross-trained, Aesop does not suffer "stand around losses" like companies or unions in which people alternate between being overworked and standing around.

When things are slow, the employee is aware that his profit profile is being eroded. All too often in the service business an employee will not seek something to do when things slow down. After all, it is the boss's responsibility to find things for employees to do. By putting the onus on the employee to be aggressive, the manager is freed up. Areas in which the employee can be more efficient during slow periods of customer demand are customer telemarketing, personal training, service development and office duties.

Customers like the non-chaotic nature of Aesop. The professional conduct of the staff impresses the customer. Thus, when a disagreement or lack of communication occurs--an opportunity in disguise--the AESOP professional often has the benefit of the doubt because of the professional atmosphere. In addition, another staff member is available to diffuse and redefine the situation to the benefit of all parties. This professional environment reduces the bad days at the office and makes AESOP a better work place.

Self-management improves workers' performance and satisfaction. The discussed reasons of improvement emphasize a primary principle of employment at AESOP: People are hired first and foremost to think and manage. The number one responsibility at AESOP is to be a self-manager assisted by software. The actual technical production of work comes after first thinking how best to manage the work. This company policy creates a healthier mental and emotional environment for those who are willing to stop and think.

Goodbye Bad Manager

Some managers are inadequate for personal reasons, e.g., the unintelligent and unmotivated nephew of the owner. Nepotism is harmful to everyone on the job. Nepotism (which is Latin for nephew and means "not potent") describes how a relative is placed in a position of responsibility without the power or ability to solve the problem.

The nepotic manager is in over his head and suffers from doing a poor job, being unrespected and denied growth. A person cannot grow to his potential if he is in a position of excessive responsibility without the prerequisite skills or without the required power. Workers suffer from an incapable superior or co-worker. They have to solve more than their fair share of problems or suffer problematic working conditions. The boss suffers reduced productivity from powerless relatives and disenchanted employees.

Nepotism takes many forms including cronyism. An insecure boss could use nepotism or cronyism to destroy the spirit of a potential rival. If you overpay a person and deny him opportunities for growth, he will never become a powerful problem-solver in his own right. The pay distracts him from honing his skills, and the eunuch employment neuters his potential.

Position and pay are not the basis of one being a great problem solver. A maxim in the workplace is that paying a bad employee more money will not improve their performance. Becasue pay is tied to actual accomplishment at Aesop, personal and professional power comes from solving problems of greater complexity.

Other managers are deficient because of the systems in which they work. Aesop's objective standardization of performance and promotion eliminates incompetent managers and prevents good managers from becoming bad managers.

Around the Clock Nano-Second Managers

All too often, traditional management depends on one crucial person. When that person is no longer present (after 5 pm, on weekends, after promotions or terminations), the problem-solving capacity of the business decreases precipitously. Aesop is like having 24-hour managers everyday who never tire, burn out or take vacations. When the best problem-solver leaves, the system keeps the problem-solving process humming with scarcely any decrease in performance. With telecommunication, the needed assistance is only a few keystrokes away.

The Auto-Manager portion of Aesop checks activities and schedules on a minute-by-minute basis. This prevents tasks from falling behind and more work from being accepted than can be completed. Aesop is the true one-minute manager.

Systemically Bad

Many managers are handicapped because of the management system in which they are trapped. Their responsibilities are ill-defined. Many have a catch-all requirement to do anything that is not done by subordinates. Burnout occurs: many good managers become overworked and useless as problem-solvers.

Aesop will allow an individual to manage better. Management training is automatic, progressive and relevant. Tasks are not delegated to inexperienced workers. Support services include computer databases and co-worker knowledge. They reduce instances of bad management where the individual is overworked without support.

The Peter Principle states that people are promoted to their level of incompetence. Aesop will allow a person to try more difficult tasks. An employee cannot remain in an unprofitable action. The real time profit awareness will initiate a self-demotion to a more profitable level of responsibility. When individuals overextend themselves, they suffer debits on profits and earnings and they re-set their level of competence. This self-assignment of tasks is based on self-awareness. It eliminates the managerial drudgery of counseling and demoting an individual who cannot handle a new position of responsibility.

Aesop requires and rewards self-management to bring out the best in workers and managers. The system effectively quality controls management.

Critics of Self-Management

With Aesop, the good get better and the bad move out. Is it a Big Brother process as described in George Orwell's dramatic book, 1984? No. It provides a needed human service in a real time mode: objective, standardized assessment of human performance and worth. The bad workers are immediately confronted with their shortcomings, while the good receive material rewards and mental reinforcement that motivate them to perform better.

Who will dislike requiring and rewarding self-management? Those who are overpaid relative to the problems they solve in life. These people are short-sighted, for the problems they are not solving exact a human toll upon their lifestyles. If all people were paid what they are worth on the scale of human problems, the world would be a better place.

Aesop can help politically sponsored programs that lack or reject self-management. Throughout history, politicians have promised voters something for nothing, that is, "Elect me and I will manage and solve your problems for you." Self-deluding voters buy this line. One person cannot know and solve the problems of the many as politicians are quick to claim. Offering this bait for votes, politicians sell their influence to solve problems to generate economic privileges that benefit only a few.

Democracy in ancient Greece was plagued with demagogues: "leaders who make use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power." Democracy, then and now, declines in quality and popularity when "divide people to rule" becomes merely "divide people to elect."

Society pays a high price if people abdicate management of personal problems to politicians, political vote-buying programs, or politically appointed bureaucrats. Problems will not be solved or will be solved at a higher cost in the main commodity--time. The most expensive things in life are those which are supposed to be free; this includes politicians promising solutions to problems that people should be self-managing. The boondoggles of social security, education and child-care are the results of political promises. Political promises are empty promises.

Because people were not required to self-manage their savings for retirement, Social Security was created, an expensive political boondoggle destroying the future retirement of today's worker. Similarly, politicians fail to require parents to manage their procreated children.

When you resort to paying someone else to manage and solve personal problems, the final cost rises in the only commodity that you really have: your time. Better to take an hour to solve a personal problem than work ten hours paying taxes to maintain an on-going problem. Better to lower one's standard of living during the child raising years than to later lower the lifestyle of parent and child.

America needs politicians who champion and require self-management as the key to American revival. America needs a Constitutional interpretation that a "right" is also a requirement to pursue freedom from problems. As is, rights mean politically taxing another citizen to pay for one's failure at self-management. Aesop will show the cost-effectiveness of self-management for others to follow. AESOP could increasingly negate politically motivated programs by offering private counterparts at a better price, e.g., education and security.

America needs politicians who will help organize Americans to solve their own problems. America does not need politicians who tax Americans to hire campaign workers with experience solely in solving election problems. Minimum-wage laws are a tax on self-managers, passed by politicians who will not tell irresponsible workers: "You want a better paying job? Do a better job and earn a better education."

The shortest and quickest path to a problem's solution is self-management, not waiting for someone else. A computerized system that requires, assists and rewards self-management leads to fewer private and public problems.

Warning: Anyone found stealing lifehours will be forever banned from participation in and rewards of Better Democracy and Capitalism.


Quality Control Tools for Higher iCube ... Frog Leaping.
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