Applications and business

From [Marc S Abrams (950901.1700)]

[From Bill Powers (950901.0815 MDT)]

In the world of business, there is emphasis on competition (and this
certainly includes testing as a business). What businessmen want most is
some method of attracting customers to themselves and away from
competing businesses. This is the whole point in Sales and Marketing,
and at least 90% of the point in TQM and BPR.

Sorry, not neccessarily. If I sell Mercedes cars I am not trying to "attract"
a person interested in a Yugo. You are suggesting a Zero sum game. For every
"winner" there is a "loser". No doubt there are people who hold this view. I
do not believe you can be successful over the long term with it. You cannot be
_everything_ to _everyone_. Businesses who try this generally fail. The
"purpose" of marketing and sales is two fold. First it is to identify people,
organizations,etc. who might be interested in what you have to offer. Second,
is to provide your organization with the details on how to better service the
folks your dealing with or would like to be dealing with. Organizations
co-exist by serving different parts of the population.

Suppose that using PCT you developed an infallible service which would,
by any means you care to name, allow any company that adopted it to
attract customers toward itself and away from competitors. As long as
you had just a single client, this method would work, since it is
infallible. But once that client was satisfied, you would have to look
for another client. Unless you moved into a noncompeting sector (where
you have never worked before) to find a new client, you would then be
applying your system against the interests of the old client, showing
the new client how your infallible system could be used to attract
customers away from, among others, the old client. In the long run,
therefore, your infallible system would be self-cancelling. Once all
businesses had learned to apply it, the effects of the system would be
reduced to zero, and the net profits of all businesses would return to
where they were, all else being equal.

You assume that _everyone_ IS a customer of someones. For anything they have,
might possibly want, or will ever need, and no new products or services will
be introduced. In theory you might be right. On the evolutionary scale it
might take a few hundred thousand years for that scenario to develop. :slight_smile:

So we can conclude that PCT is not, in the long run, going to be of use
in giving businesses the main thing that they want, which is to win the
competition with other businesses.

See Above, I disagree

To say to managers in general, "PCT will make your business more competitive"

is to utter a falsehood. It

can do so (assuming it works infallibly when applied) only if just one
business adopts it. Every succeeding business that adopts it will reduce
its effectiveness for the preceding businesses.

See Above, I disagree

This also applies to businesses. If one company starts a big advertising
campaign to attract customers, the competing companies have to try to
nullify the effects by mounting their own campaigns. The conflict arises
because the number of customers is relatively fixed, so a gain by one
company is a loss to others. If all the competing campaigns are equally
effective, there will be no net change in the number of customers for
each company, yet each company will have greatly increased its
advertising costs. If one campaign is slightly more effective than each
of the others, there may be a slight increase in the number of
customers, but the costs of this increase will be very high; most of the
cost is incurred just to counteract the effects of the other campaigns.

Your on target here. Unfortunately No two people can agree on what constitutes
a "successful" campaign and how you would measure it. Pepsi ads are better
known and recognized then Coke. Unfortunetly for Pepsi this has not led to
better sales then Coke. All the analysis here has been done with the same
misuse of statistics that has hindered the educational/Psychological and the
health research fields.

Something similar happens with programs like TQM and BPR, which promise
improved efficiency and thus a better competitive position. If one
company adopts such a system which is touted as a quick way to improve
competitiveness, then other companies must, in defense, also adopt the
same system, whatever the cost and whether or not the system actually

Your right to some degree. This "herding" effect takes place not so much as a
"defense" because you can't "defend" against what someone is going to do. But
as a way of trying to insure that that the latest and greatest does not elude

Most of the costs, therefore, are incurred just to nullify the
advantages that the system is believed to offer the other companies.

You cannot nullify what someone else has done. You can only counter with
something of your own. There is a fine line here that is extremely important.
You may not want to "counter" what someone else has done. You may feel that
the move was a big mistake.

If the system works equally well in each company, the net gain in
competitiveness from adopting the program will be zero. The conflict
greatly increases costs and efforts without any corresponding
improvement in the ability to control competitiveness.

This NEVER happens, and PCT says that it can't happen. You can't "control"
competitiveness and no two companies will ever respond the same way to ANY
process. The individual controllers would never allow it.

The advice that PCT would offer to the business world as a whole,
therefore, is "Stop competing."

Sorry, I can't agree on this. Without getting into into a huge philosophical
debate I will only say that it is not the nature of competition that might be
a problem, but the nature of the people who are competing.

This, of course, can't happen without
changing to an entirely different economic system and without a drastic
revision of social customs that are designed to make competitiveness --
i.e., conflict -- seem desirable.

Again, I don't equate competitiveness with conflict.

Since the basic economic system in which we live is, from the standpoint
of PCT, insane, it seems to me that the applications we offer as PCT
experts should be concentrated in the area of improving sanity rather
than giving one company an edge over others -- in the long run, a self-
defeating notion.

Bill, You don't think that if you "give" a company the ability to "deal" with
both customers and employees more sanely that you would _NOT_ provide a
competitive advantage to that company. In fact probably the ONLY sustainable
advantage an organization can have.

One example of such an application is Ed Ford's program in schools.

The educational industry is not competitive ? I know of at least 10 other
"discipline" programs, and there are probably a few dozen more that are
"working" well around the country and world.

The object of this program is to reduce conflicts: among students, between
students and teachers, and among students, teachers, administrators, and
staff. The way this is done is to recognize each person's goals and to
negotiate ways in which the greatest satisfaction of the greatest number
can be achieved. The result, at least as far as my second-hand knowledge
goes, is that all participants in this system are happier, more
peaceful, and better able to teach, learn and progress. They are not
wasting their efforts simply to nullify the efforts of others.

Bill, I've been to Phoenix and spent a week with Ed, LeEdna, George, and
Darlene. What they have done at Claredon school is terrific. It has not worked
so well at another school. To say that it has "worked" in my mind is a bit
premature. It is working but largely to the efforts of the _individuals_
involved. Ed, LeEdna, George, and Darlene. They have put in an a herculian
effort. Can it work _without_ them. I don't think so.

This type of program is not self-defeating if generally applied. If one
school adopts this program and succeeds with it, no other school loses

Absolutely wrong. Careers are on the line with this stuff. Politically the
problems Ed had getting this program started at Claredon were monumental, and
if it weren't for the efforts of George and LeEdna it would never have
started. Many people have "vested" interests in the success and failure at

If a second and a third and a fourth school adopt it, the
first school loses nothing. Peace of mind and happiness are not
commodities over which we must compete; the more people who have them,
the easier it is for others to have them, too.

I think you might have disagreement right now about _how_ effective the
program is from people with _competing_ interests at Claredon and in that
school district. If your statement was accurate why hasn't the program been
adopted by more then the one school or two schools in the System

As a PCT consultant to businesses, therefore, what the PCT expert should
offer is simply a way to make the company a more sane, happy, and
effective organization strictly in terms of human relationships.

I agree, great points.

The PCT expert should explain that competitiveness is not the concern of PCT;

Not the concern of PCT or Bill Powers ?

the expert should remind the customer that even if the result were to be
an improvement in the company's competitive position, soon many other
companies will also start using the services of experts in PCT and it
will not be long before any temporary edge is lost. The main thing to be
gained is simply a better life for everyone involved. If that is not an
attractive enough goal in itself, then PCT will not satisfy whatever the
wants are that are considered more important.

Sorry, can't agree. I think that this is _your_ vision. I think its a great
one but not a complete one.

Your comments and post about testing was _GREAT_. thank you, I will be coming
back with some ideas after the weekend. I am meeting with a couple of
Educational consultants and other domain "experts".