Thursday, July 29, 2004

Tribal wisdom in Abandonment Retreat

Business Times p.B1
Thursday, July 29, 2004

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Tribal wisdom in Abandonment Retreat

THIS example from Alan Chapman of would help you further appreciate doing an Abandonment Retreat.

Confronted with a dilemma of a dead horse, people in the government, education and the business world would meet for hours or days on end, or exchange seemingly inexhaustible memos or even employ consultants and, eventually, come up with advanced strategies, such as:

• Buy a stronger whip.
• Change riders.
• Give horse and rider a good bollocking.
• Restructure the dead horse’s reward scale to contain a performance-related element.
• Suspend the horse’s access to the executive grassy meadow until performance targets are met.
• Make the horse work late shifts and weekends.
• Scrutinize and claw back a percentage of the horse’s past 12 months expenses payments.
• Appoint a committee to study the horse.
• Arrange to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride horses.
• Convene a dead horse productivity improvement workshop.
• Lower the standards so that dead horses can be included.
• Reclassify the dead horse as living-impaired.
• Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
• Outsource the management of the dead horse.
• Harness several dead horses together to increase speed.
• Provide additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse’s performance.
• Do a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.
• Declare that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
• Rewrite the expected performance requirements for all horses.
•And the highly effective . . . promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Now, get off the floor and stop laughing.

Mr. Clapman reports that tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians (so legend has it), passed on from generation to generation, simply says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

That is the kind of thinking or wisdom that prevails in real Abandonment Retreat. Pradeep Sindhu, the founder of Juniper Networks, says that ideas are flowing much faster now than they ever used to. Unfortunately, there are as many useful ideas floating around as there are basically useless ones. That is why it is very important that before you even embark on an Abandonment Retreat, you must define the basic direction and goals of your organization.

All the strategies mentioned above are good and useful ones (or utterly useless, in this case) depending on your corporate strategic intent. This strategic intent sets the tone and general context which should guide the thinking and creating tasks of participants in Abandonment Retreat. This strategic intent gives people the freedom to be themselves, to work with honesty, sincerity and integrity. As Randy Komisar, virtual chief executive officer says, "The authenticity with which you make decisions about your life [and your company] will lead you where you want to go."

Congratulations are in order for new Fellows in Personnel Management, namely, Efren C. Aguirre, Pinky R.A. Diokno, Ma. Loudes L. Fernando, Elenita F. Hernandez, Hector V. Hernandez, Roberto Maglalang and Lorenzo B. Ziga. Likewise to Associate Fellows Francis L. Lacson and Maribel V. Umali.

Heartfelt thanks to the Accreditation Council led by Orlando S. Zorilla, chair; Met N. Ganuelas, vice chair, and members Sally T. Estrada, Virgie B. Mendoza, Dina B. Orosa, Raffy Z. Perfecto and Roy C. Tarriela. With the addition of these energetic and brilliant new members, we are looking forward to more dynamic and assertive Society of Fellows under the presidency of Lucy C. Tarriela.

(Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM, the president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. is an active member of the Personnel Management Association of the Philippines and is a lifetime member of the Philippine Society for Training and Development. Give her feedback at

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