The secret to maintaining the status quo: TPM (totally poor management)

Feb. 6, 2019

TPM is your key to promotion at an underperforming plant.

By The Captain

TPM, or Totally Poor Management, is a holistic system that you can implement to maintain the status quo and make bad decisions so that others can be blamed for bad systems and processes. To fully understand this system – it can be quite complex – we have to understand Einstein’s Theory of Managers:

Ego = 1/Knowledge

Have a shop-floor employee rank your knowledge on a scale from one to 100. Add it to the denominator or the knowledge area of the equation.

Here is the ranking scale for knowledge based on statistical analysis and surveys performed on the shop floor:

1 to 10: All ego. Many managers fit in this category. They don’t listen. They push back on change because they don’t want to be exposed for their lack of knowledge. Ego will always win. They will never challenge themselves to be the best, as they already think they are. They surround themselves with people more incompetent than they are so that they look like the best option. Unbeknownst to them, these normally tenured All Ego managers are more than likely promoted beyond their level of competence and have the ear of upper management to undermine everything that others are doing to drive change within the organization.

11-50: Change agents. They are a one in a million. These people are troublemakers trying to drive change within the organization. They are the bearers of bad news, thanks to the fact that they understand how bad things are and are not afraid to share it with everyone. Coincidentally, they usually are adept at finding solutions to fix the organization’s issues. Do not promote these hidden gems, as they are always trouble (especially to those who are All Ego).

About the Author: The Captain

Captain Unreliability is a satire of the state of the manufacturing industry in ’Merica today and is written by an industry professional known for using humor to get the point across. Stay tuned for more useless advice, and if you have topics you’d like to see covered or questions you’d like The Captain to weigh in on, contact The Captain directly at [email protected] or follow on Twitter @CUnreliability.

If you do find a change agent, do not worry; that person will not be around very long, as he or she will unknowingly create plenty of enemies in the course of presenting logical solutions that will blow those All Ego superheroes (who promise great returns to the organization with ideas offering no value whatsoever that they sell to upper management) clear out of the water. Attrition will work itself out in this situation: “All Ego” managers typically can persuade upper management to turn against Change Agents, driving them out of the organization. Again, Change Agents are one in a million, so the chances are rare that you will encounter one.

51-74: Ego-ish. Really nice people. They still do not know anything about manufacturing, but they are very nice people. They like to give hugs and cheer people up, but HR has encouraged them to find other methods of support. Now they give awkward fist-bumps and out-of-rhythm high fives.

75-100: Unicorn with a laser horn. They may exist, as there are legends and myths about them, but there is no empirical evidence of them.

Strive to achieve a 1:1 ratio. Be political; do not stir the pot; and be a “yes” man or woman. That is the quickest way to promotion. Besides, who wants to tell executives the truth about how terrible we are at running the business? I mean, knowing that most manufacturers are about 33% efficient, what proof do they have that we are terrible? It is very easy to hide the losses and fudge the numbers. Besides, we can just blame the maintenance department.

Why be a troublemaker? Do you want that next promotion or not? Wax eloquent with your ways of convincing your bosses that things are going very well when they are not. Do not focus on driving losses or defects out of your systems, as this type of change ruffles feathers. Why change? We’ve always done it this way, so why put the crosshairs on you?

Find the positive in a very negative situation and exaggerate it so you look like a hero. Help upper management at your company develop a new, daring plan to undo all the damage done by last year’s plan. This is the quickest way to promotion.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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