Selling PCT

[From Fred Nickols (2005.02.11.0743 EST)] --

Hi. Freddie the salesman here.

I've been trying to "sell" PCT for quite a while now (roughly 30 years, ever
since I first read B:CP). But it's not been a full-time thing for me and
I've not relied on its sales as a way of making a living. Instead, I've
been doing it on a situational, opportunistic basis (i.e., whenever the
opportunity presents itself). The latest instance is the article some of
you read titled "Performance as Intervention: Performer as Interventionist."
It was the lead article in last month's issue of Performance Improvement,
the journal of the International Society for Performance Improvement.

Speaking as a salesman, PCT is a much better product than its competitors
(e.g., behaviorism) but it's still a tough sell. Why? Because, although
it's a much better theory, real world application(s) are hard to find and
thus its claimed features and benefits, although impressive, are lacking a
solid, real-world base. Evidence that would quickly and easily persuade
"buyers" is hard to come by. So, I "sell" PCT from time to time mostly
because I personally believe it is a first-rate product, not because I can
point to instances where it is knocking the pants off its competitors.

I also use a "soft sell" approach. I don't go around banging on doors and
making cold calls, trying to overwhelm prospects with claims that I can't
substantiate. Instead, when someone asks me my view about why people do
what they do, I typically offer up a PCT-like explanation. When clients ask
me why employees are doing what they're doing, I also offer up a PCT-based
explanation (e.g., I've told here before a story about the Yellow Pages
sales rep whose odd "sick time" behavior was puzzling all concerned but was
easily understood as an instance of controlling or managing his income
stream).

In any event, I don't try to steamroll people with PCT; instead, I've
adopted an approach that says seize on those opportunities in which the
prospects seem open to a different point of view and set that in front of
them without a lot of noise, flash and show.

I sell other stuff too; for example: the promise of improved results (and
making good on that promise is what provides me with my income). PCT plays
a role in that but so do other factors (e.g., workflows, compensation
systems, managerial direction, measurement systems, etc, etc.) There's more
to "results" in the world of work than human behavior. At least that's what
the people who populate my little corner of the world believe and I learned
a long time ago that overtly disabusing people of their cherished beliefs is
no way to win friends and influence people. As a matter of fact, they'll
wind up hating you for it. Better to find circuitous ways of letting or
getting them to discover for themselves that what they believe isn't so.

My salesman's instincts also lead me to conclude that the recent spate of
exchanges between Marc Abrams suggests there is a very large market for PCT
that is as yet untapped and, once tapped, could provide the PCT movement
with a considerable income stream, monies that could be used to fund
large-scale, serious PCT research and, eventually, the selling and marketing
of the fruits of that research.

Let's make the CSGNet archives available to a reality TV producer. The
archives should provide a wealth of material to the writers and the
resultant show should be a smash hit. CSGNet and its members could make a
bundle. It is tempting to say that the "stars" would be Bill Powers, Rick
Marken and Marc Abrams but I think it's better to view this as a case of an
"ensemble" cast. That leaves room for the three Bruces, Richard K., Kenny
K., Bjorn, Martin T., and all the others who make CSGNet what it is. It's
clear to me that the only actor who could portray me is Brad Pitt and only
Anthony Hopkins (with traces of Hannibal Lechter) could do Marc Abrams
justice. Hmm, on second thought, Hopkins could probably portray Bill P. too
(sans the Hannibal Lechter bit). Who do you think could play Rick Marken
(besides Harrison Ford) and all the rest of the wonderful, wacky crowd on
CSGNet?

Regards,

Fred Nickols, CPT
Senior Consultant
Distance Consulting
"Assistance at A Distance"
nickols@att.net
www.nickols.us

[From Rick Marken (2005.02.11.1620)]

Fred Nickols (2005.02.11.0743 EST) --

Let's make the CSGNet archives available to a reality TV producer...
It is tempting to say that the "stars" would be Bill Powers, Rick
Marken and Marc Abrams

I'm sorry. My agent won't let me work with him;-)

but I think it's better to view this as a case of an
"ensemble" cast. That leaves room for the three Bruces, Richard K., Kenny
K., Bjorn, Martin T., and all the others who make CSGNet what it is. It's
clear to me that the only actor who could portray me is Brad Pitt

That was obvious from your picture;-)

and only Anthony Hopkins (with traces of Hannibal Lechter) could do Marc
Abrams justice.

I don't think even ol' Anthony could do Marc justice. We might have to
resort to special effects.

Hmm, on second thought, Hopkins could probably portray Bill P. too
(sans the Hannibal Lechter bit).

Too intense. I think Gregory Peck would have been good (the Gregory Peck of
"To Kill a Mocking Bird", not "Moby Dick"). Or, perhaps, John Huston (he has
the voice and presence).

Who do you think could play Rick Marken (besides Harrison Ford)

No one. Well, except for me, of course. When the light hits me just right my
wife says I look like Paul Newman. Actually, my wife regularly gets mistaken
for Jessica Lange. Can she be in the picture too?

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

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[From Bill Powers (940411.0739 MDT)]

Dag Forssell (940410.2140)--

Greg William's private comment to me about your proposed press
release was to wonder whether anybody wrote press releases for
relativity theory. That suddenly put a lot of things in your
approach into perspective for me.

On reflection, I don't really think that a press release will make
people want to know more about PCT or your way of using it in
management science. I don't think that PCT can be sold by extolling
its virtues -- by talking _about_ it. It can be sold only by
teaching it, and it can be taught only to people who want to learn
it.

You have proven that the standard commercial-advertising approach
can't get one company official in 1,000 even to ask for more
information, no matter how long and faithfully you labor over
finding the irresistible approach that will cause a reader to say
"By golly, that's for me!" And when you do get replies, how many
actual seminars have you been invited to conduct? In all this time,
there's been one, right?

There are multiple problems with what you're trying to do, not the
least of which you described to me yourself a few days ago: people
don't need to know WHY their actions succeed in controlling their
perceptions. As Rick has said periodically, even when they do wonder
why, they supply their own answers and are satisfied that they
understand.

There is a built-in conflict between understanding PCT and the
interests of anyone in a commerical establishment. The entire
structure of the commercial world is built on the control of one
person by another: the ability of one person to say, "Here is the
job you have to do if you want to get paid by this company. Do it as
the company wants it done, when the company wants it done, or you
will be fired." An employer can't afford to deal with problem
employees by assuming that the problem is the company's demands on
the employees, by finding out what the employee wants and enabling
the employee to get it. That works only as long as what the employee
wants is what the company wants.

Companies that put the highest priority on giving employees what
they want are not in the kind of trouble you could help them with;
they would see nothing in what you recommend that they are not
already doing. The remainder of the companies you contact are in
trouble, and the reason they are in trouble is that they are
organized to control people and haven't any interest in giving up
the smallest part of that control. They want you to tell them how to
make employees get to work on time and never leave early, do their
jobs without complaining about the pay, subordinate their private
lives to the company's interests, and not cause problems with other
employees. They want you to tell them how leaders can learn to make
followers do what they are supposed to do, or how salesmen can get
customers to buy the product regardless of what the product is.

When you design a come-on for a successful company, what must you
say? You have to say "I can increase your managers' effectiveness,
improve your sales, and decrease your costs. I can make your people
more productive, more persuasive with customers." The one magic
phrase is "I can help your company become more competitive." But
isn't competition itself the basic problem, both within companies
and across the economy? Competition is conflict, a situation in
which more than one person, or company, is seeking a goal that can't
be achieved by all people or companies, and in which success for one
spells failure for another. You have to promise people in such a
company that you will tip the balance in their favor -- and by the
very nature of the business world, you can't make this a general
promise, because if everyone used your services most of them would
still lose the competition.

I think that in your concentration on finding an effective way to
communicate with managers, you have overlooked the basic problem
they will see in what you propose to teach them. You're talking
about respect for the will of others, about understanding
motivations, about resolving conflicts, about seeing how a company's
goals are only a subset of any employee's goals. Where in all this
are you teaching managers how to be firm, how to make the tough
hire-and-fire decisions, how to put the company's survival ahead of
mere personal problems, how to be nasty when the situation calls for
it? Where are you telling managers how to move up in the company,
overcoming competition for power and salary with others who also
want to move up into a limited number of positions? Where are you
telling them how to deal with stupid orders from above and stupid
policies that are causing problems below? Where are you dealing with
their desires for more money, more status, more influence, more
control over others?

Basically you can't help them with these things, because your
message is that these are the very things that are causing human
problems in the company, in the whole country. You're calling into
question, whether overtly or not, the very justfication for the way
the business is run from the ground up; you're questioning its very
reason for being. Why should a company strive incessantly to be
Number One? Why should it strive to put other companies out of
business? Why should ten companies compete to sell the greatest
amount of essentially the same product? Why should companies try to
create an ever-increasing demand for things that in themselves are
of no particular help to customers? Why, in short, should companies
behave in a way which, if found in the behavior of your neighbor,
would be considered psychotic?

You are trying to teach PCT to people who were raised from the
cradle to think that money, power, and prestige are the most
important things in life, and who have been taught since Junior
Little League that if you don't get to the top of the heap, you are
nothing. You are dealing with the products of an educational system
that teaches competition as a virtue almost every minute of every
day, and with inhabitants of a social system which admires violent
combat -- but only the winners. You're trying to sell PCT to those
on top of the social structure who have been taught that the people
who fail to win are on the bottom because of their own character
faults, and who feel that helping the desperate will only encourage
them to become more dependent. If these people really understood the
meaning of PCT, they would dismiss you as a bleeding-heart liberal.

I think that the appeal of PCT to people in business is the same as
its appeal to people in established disciplines in the life
sciences. The people who come to us from psychology, sociology,
linguistics, or any other field are those who have already become
disillusioned by something in their own fields. The only market for
PCT in the business world will be with those who have become
disgusted with the way businesses normally treat people, who want to
do something more humane, who want to get rid of the power structure
and the acquisitiveness, the endless competitive rat-race that makes
people strive frantically for goals they only vaguely understand and
which are not satisfying when they are reached.

PCT will appeal to companies in which everyone from the CEO on down
is ready for the therapist's couch: not Fortune 500 companies, but
companies teetering on the brink of total failure. You can't save
all these companies, but in at least some the problem will be gross
violations of human nature, and with that you CAN help. But you
can't help someone who thinks he can still cope. Your natural
customers are the ones who are just about ready to give up. Not the
ones who pride themselves on their success and just want to be a
little more successful.

···

---------------------------------------------------------------
Best,

Bill P.

[From Rick Marken (940411.0930)]

Bill Powers (940411.0739 MDT) --

There is a built-in conflict between understanding PCT and the
interests of anyone in a commerical establishment.

I think it's deeper than that; I think that there is a built in conflict
between understanding PCT and what PCT is about-- the nature of people as
controllers . People want to be in control -- CEOs want to control their
wealth, psychologits want to control their prestige, therapists want to
control their image of themselves as healers, etc. PCT shows that this is the
case -- that people are always controlling -- but that this controlling can
create conflict when the object of control is another controller. And another
controller is almost always involved in the feedback loop of human
controlling -- employees are part of the means by which CEOs control their
perception of wealth, other psychologists are part of the means used by
psychologists to control their perception of prestige, patients are part of
the means therapists use to control their image of themselves as healers,
etc.

Everyone is busy controlling. When these controllers get the message of PCT -
- that their OWN controlling is part of the problem -- they back away. After
all, no one likes to have their control threatened; and that is certainly
understandable. But this is also the reason why, I think, very few people
have been willing to go "all the way" with PCT. As Bill P. has just pointed
out, for CEOs it would mean abandoning their basic assumptions about how to
do business -- resulting in loss of control of all that wealth -- and this
would be intolerable for them. For psychologists (as many have pointed out)
it would mean losing control of one's prestige -- much of which is based on
their ability to show that they can control behavior. For therapsts, it would
mean losing control of one's role as "helper".

It seems to be very difficult for people to "step back" and see themselves as
controllers; people have a hard time going "up a level" to see that their own
controlling is what they consider most essential, most central to their
lives, most "real". It is hard for people to see that they themselves
are determining that certain perceptual variables --like business success,
academic prestige, helpfulness, religiousness -- MUST be held at certain
levels. When you think that something "MUST" be a certain way, you are
bumping up against a higher level of control (in yourself) -- from the bottom.

This is what I was alluding to in the "For whom the bell tolls" post. When
you "GET" PCT you realize that you yourself are REALLY in it ALL THE WAY. PCT
is actually about ourselves. That's my beef with many of the popularizers of
PCT -- well- intentioned folks all. I get the sense that they have grasped
PCT up to a point but then rejected the deepest implications -- the
implications about oneself as a controller -- as just too ridiculous; as
not really relevant to the "real world". That's why I make fun of the "rubber
meets the road" stuff. My impression is that "where the rubber meets the
road" is precisely where PCT is relevant and precisely where it is abandoned
by popularizers in favor of more "realistic" approaches -- ie. the
conventional old standbys like "discipline", "standards", "committment" and
all the good old "tried and true" approaches to dealing with people -- the
approaches that are simply a result of the fact that WE ARE CONTROLLERS. I
have nothing against these approaches -- any more than I have anything
against ANY kind of controlling. I just think that people who are
promulgating PCT should be able to "go up a level" and see that the
"conventional" approaches to "dealing" with people involve controlling and
are, therefore, likely to result in intra and interpersonal conflict. There's
no harm in that either as long as you also teach the essential PCT approach
to dealing with the everyday conflicts that are bound to result when
controllers interact -- going up a level.

Best

Rick

[From Dag Forssell (940411 1045) Bill Powers (940411.0739 MDT)]

The only market for PCT in the business world will be with those
who have become disgusted with the way businesses normally treat
people, who want to do something more humane,.....

I think that there are many people who are disgusted with what goes
on in business. You are certainly one of them, and voice your
disgust eloquently. With your own imagination connection, you
attribute to me a lot of things that I did not know were my message
and do not intend it to be. My perspective on business is not
quite as disgusted as yours. I believe most people in business are
trying to be decent, but don't know how.

It is my expectation that precisely the people who harbor such
disgust and want to do something about it, are the ones who will
respond to a press release. Such people will be at all levels of
organizations, in all kinds of organizations -- industry, schools,
volunteer groups, families. The response package simply provides
references and addresses where the respondents can learn more, if
they want to. I have no illusion that large numbers of people will
respond, but the ones who do will do it because they want to learn.
I am in no position to twist their arm.

Greg William's private comment to me about your proposed press
release was to wonder whether anybody wrote press releases for
relativity theory. That suddenly put a lot of things in your
approach into perspective for me.

.....

There are multiple problems with what you're trying to do, not the
least of which you described to me yourself a few days ago: people
don't need to know WHY their actions succeed in controlling their
perceptions. As Rick has said periodically, even when they do
wonder why, they supply their own answers and are satisfied that
they understand.

Ever since I solidified my own perspective on theory in
_Psychological Theory: The Achilles' Heel of TQM_ with the
definition of Descriptive Generalization, Descriptive Non-
Explanation (Dormitive Principles) and Causal Mechanism, I have
been thinking about how PCT is different. With all our talk about
the error signals that will make people interested, we must not
fail to realize these differences. I have come to (subjectively,
of course) conclude that the vast majority of people never learn
and come to appreciate Causal Mechanisms. When you present one,
they will not know the difference between it and the flood of
Descriptive Non-Explanations they have been told and have accepted.

You quote me correctly. I have concluded that control systems do
not need to know anything about the environmental transfer function
(anymore than they need to know about the disturbance). It is
enough to observe the controlled variable and remember the effect
of your action. To study the environmental transfer function is to
study causal mechanisms. You don't need to to live, but you can
live better if you do, as the fruits of progress in the physical
sciences show.

The theory of relativity was a causal mechanism introduced into a
field of causal mechanism theories, where the difference in
prediction could be understood. It stood out like a sore thumb.

PCT is a causal mechanism introduced into a field where Descriptive
Non-Explanations rule the day. PCT cannot be distinguished from
all the BS, because you cannot distinguish one non-explanation from
any other, and that is how PCT must be perceived by people who do
not know and cannot recognize anything else.

Of late, I have contacted members of the American Society of
Engineering Managers, offering my complete series of articles to
people who are trained to think in terms of causal mechanisms, and
are interested in management. As I follow up, I have found those
who have taken the time to look at the package VERY positive. They
tell me they are passing it on to others in their companies, where
they themselves are not the decision makers.

I am concluding that PCT must be labeled as what it is: a physical
science. That should draw the attention from people who are
interested in physical science, can understand it and appreciate
it.

I continue to think that the press release as composed is one
possible way out of the Catch 22 that PCT finds itself in. This
effort is small. 90 letters with a simple two page release.
Christine finished the addresses this morning. Mail merge for
address labels takes ten minutes. Stuffing envelopes a little
longer. I do want the release to be as good as I can make it.

You have not offered any objection as to the technical correctness
of the release, thank you. Your dislike I must discount some,
because you are not a typical person. You are wonderfully extreme
in wanting Causal Mechanisms and have no patience with BS. That is
why you have developed PCT. That is why you want a press release
to catch the readers interest and explain PCT without telling the
reader what it is good for up front -- something I don't know how
to do. But your influence is seen in several places.

As always, I get "stimulated" by disturbances to review and
reconsider what I am doing. You may be right, Bill, that the first
sentence is unnecessary or childish. I have made some cuts and
changed some wording in the third para as well.

Here is revision C:

April, 1994 Contact: Dag Forssell
For immediate release Phone: (805) 254-1195

Draft: April 11

          A NEW "SCIENCE OF HUMAN NATURE"

The principles of a new "science of human nature" help us
understand behavior, conflict, cooperation, and personal
relationships better than has been possible to date, just as
the principles of modern physical science have helped us
understand the inanimate world better than was possible with
trial-and-error experience alone.

                - more -

···

---------------------------------------------
A new "science of human nature" Page 2-2-2-2

A new resource guide offers an introduction to Perceptual
Control Theory (PCT), a new approach to explaining the behavior of
living organisms. PCT focuses on how we look at and experience
things, and the way these perceptions are compared with experiences
we want. The difference produces action. Thus PCT explains how
thoughts become actions, results and feelings. You can apply this
explanation to leadership, coaching, team development, sales,
performance reviews, TQM, vision/mission statements, strategic
planning, etc.

Psychology is not now a "hard" physical science with testable
in-depth explanations, but with PCT it will become one. PCT
helps us understand people as they naturally are, just as
engineers find it helpful to understand physical phenomena as
they naturally are. PCT is remarkably simple, and can be used
as a guide in everyday interactions.

For a free copy of "PCT introduction and resource guide" with
information on literature, tutorial computer demonstrations,
and educational programs for leaders in industry, teachers and
parents, send your request mentioning this publication in a
stamped, self addressed envelope to: PCT study materials,
Purposeful Leadership, 23903 Via Flamenco, Valencia, CA, 91355.

                          - #### -

Best, Dag

Greetings,

I am a relatively new to PCT and find some of the ideas rather interesting. I
am currently a doctoral student at Northwestern's Kellogg school in marketing.

I would be interested in knowing if anyone has thought about the implications
of PCT for marketing. Any comments would be most welcome.

Thanks,

Pablo

<Martin Taylor 940411 17:45>

<Rick Marken (940411.0930)>

It's a rare, but most pleasant experience to say of o posting from Rick--

Way to go. I love it and agree wholeheartedly.

···

-------------

I think that there is a built in conflict
between understanding PCT and what PCT is about-- the nature of people as
controllers . People want to be in control -- CEOs want to control their
wealth, psychologits want to control their prestige, therapists want to
control their image of themselves as healers, etc. PCT shows that this is the
case -- that people are always controlling -- but that this controlling can
create conflict when the object of control is another controller.

Etc. A posting to put in the archives for new readers.

Martin

<[Bill Leach 940411.22:47 EST(EDT)]

[Rick Marken (940411.0930)]

Hummm, it appears that maybe I did loose some internet mail over the last
couple of days...

Everyone is busy controlling. When these controllers get the message of
PCT - - that their OWN controlling is part of the problem -- they back
away. After all, no one likes to have their control threatened; and that
is certainly understandable. But this is also the reason why, I think,
very few people have been willing to go "all the way" with PCT. As Bill
P. has just pointed ...

Rick, I think you underestimate business. "Business" is or at least
should be reluctant to "take on" yet another "psychc" theory. Businesses
usually do not "change overnight" (though occassionally they have).
Business has for many years trying to be "more effective."

They have had many ideas brought to them and have tried most of them.
Some seem to work and many do not. Many of those working with the
business community have indeed provided suggestions that have improved
business in general.

I believe that PCT explains WHY some of the changes that business has
tried do work and why others do not. It also, explains why some attempts
to implement "techniques" at one company work but not the same technique
at another company.

Business is not as blind as you seem to believe that they are. Of course
there is the boss "because she gets to tell people what to do and they
'have' to obey." However, there are also many that have what I like to
call "enlightened self-interest". These are the people that frankly
don't give a damn who gives what orders. These people recognize that a
business is a defined entity with a set of goals, legal requirements and
ethical standards. In the minds of these leaders, the method that best
achieves the goals without violating the law or the ethical standards is
the one to use.

The "handwriting is on the wall." The leaders of most of the companies
KNOW that there is something wrong with the way they deal with people.
There is just far too much evidence to ignore. Indeed, while I don't
personally know where I can lay my hands on the figures right now but the
most conservative figures for how much money business is spending trying
to improve interpersonal relationships would likely shock all us.

The real problem is not that business will not accept PCT but rather that
business wants some compelling evidence that this is not just another
"scam" and that it will work.

There have been and are plenty of examples of people that live as though
they understand PCT (without ever having heard of it). Those people that
are "natural born leaders" for example that lead by "getting everyone to
buy into an idea and make it their own" and then make a point to be sure
that the specific accomplishments by individuals are recognized. Again
these are the same folks that "solve problems" by "getting the 'problem'
to propose solutions."

This sort of stuff usually works and I think PCT explain both why it does
why it sometimes does not but maybe even more importantly to business it
that when it explain why something does not work it also suggests how to
go about finding out what WILL work for a given situation or person(s).

It seems to be very difficult for people to "step back" and see
themselves as controllers; people have a hard time going "up a level"
...

Rick, it will always be difficult for some people to "go up a level" at
any time and difficult for most of us some of the time.

I don't know why I thought of this but...
I met a father once that actually believed that in his role of father he
could do no wrong. He absolutely would not apologize to his children for
anything because "by definition" he was always right. Meeting this guy
was one of the most stunning experiences that I have ever had (though I
recognize that most form of prejudice are essential the same sort of
thing).

     //////////////////////////////////////////
     / /
     / -bill /
     / Bill Leach, W.R. Leach Co. /
     / bleach@bix.com 71330.2621@cis.com /
     / ARS KB7LX@KB7LX.ampr.org 44.74.1.74 /
     / 919-362-7427 /
     //////////////////////////////////////////

[From Dag Forssell (940412 1750)]

Last Thursday, I posted a letter to Mr. Leach. My contact came
back to me Monday with a counter proposal for the second paragraph
in that letter, which had become:

   Technical personnel, trained in the proven engineering sciences,
   are rightly skeptical of today's variety of management sciences
   and programs. The prescriptions for action are not consistent,
   dependable, or based on any proven theory.

Here is the revised letter, using his paragraph almost verbatim:

···

------------------------------------------
Bill Leach, Director April 12, 1994
Continuous Quality Improvement
P.O. Box 1228
Apex, NC 27502

Dear Mr. Leach:

You asked for a one-page executive overview of the PCT difference:

Technical personnel, trained in the proven engineering sciences,
are understandably overwhelmed with the variety of management
sciences and programs being offered across the country today.
These prescriptions, which are really a call to action, very often
fail to achieve the desired result -- "changed behavior" within the
organization. Perceptual Control Theory offers to managers a fresh
explanation about the relationship between what we want to happen
and what does happen. It is information which technically based
thinkers can absorb, recognize as valid, and use.

PCT proposes that the organization of the nervous system is best
described as a "living control system." From this premise, you can
deduce how an individual organism would behave, given detailed
knowledge about how control works and the individual's specific
wants, perceptions and circumstances.

Teaching PCT is equivalent to teaching "strength of materials," for
example, from which you can deduce what bridge designs would hold
up in given circumstances, which would not, and why. PCT is
testable, just as "strength of materials" is.

Instead of teaching a very large number of anecdotes about
experiences and hope your students get the message, you teach a few
in-depth "causal mechanism" explanations and practice how to apply
them to illustrate how they work.

Once you understand the underlying structure, you can understand
and visualize the functional interactions internal to yourself,
internal to others, and you understand interactions between people.
You know what questions to ask, or what tests to perform, to fill
in the specific content of the structure to understand a particular
individual.

As for the structure itself, I refer you to the booklet with
articles, particularly the second one: Perceptual Control: Useful
Management Insight. If you like, I'll send you a one-hour video
tape and script (Introduction PCT, July 17, 1993) with the rubber
band demonstrations on pages 7-9 of this article. Best of all
would be if we could come up and do a pilot program. You and your
associates would see all our illustrations, experience the
management effectiveness and ask the questions that will come to
you.
----------------------------------------

I cannot help but think that my contact expresses a thought very
similar to Bill Leach: [Bill Leach 940411.22:47]

as excerpted by Bill Powers (949412.0700 MDT):

The real problem is not that business will not accept PCT but
rather that business wants some compelling evidence that this
is not just another "scam" and that it will work.

Bill P. goes on to say:

That would bear more emphasis in your advertising materials. Most
popular schemes are explained with the "try it, you'll like it"
approach. The PCT approach appeals to facts, reason, and
understanding. PCT is offered as a way of making sense of what
actually happens between people; when you understand how it makes
sense, you don't need formulas to tell you what to do. That ought
to appeal to engineers.

I get the comfortable feeling that we are zeroing in on agreement.
Here, I have incorporated this development in the press release.
I'll show the whole release again, because things have to be read
in context. I have shown the addition in CAPS, for easy
identification.

--------------------------------------------------
April, 1994 Contact: Dag Forssell
For immediate release Phone: (805) 254-1195

Draft: April 12

            A NEW "SCIENCE OF HUMAN NATURE"

The principles of a new "science of human nature" help us
understand behavior, conflict, cooperation, and personal
relationships better than has been possible to date, just as
the principles of modern physical science have helped us
understand the inanimate world better than was possible with
trial-and-error experience alone. THIS MEANS THAT WE CAN MOVE
AWAY FROM PROGRAMS OFFERING POPULAR ADVICE BASED ON INDIVIDUAL
EXPERIENCES; ADVICE WHICH WHEN FOLLOWED OFTEN FAILS TO ACHIEVE
DESIRED RESULTS. INSTEAD, WE WILL HAVE A PROVEN UNDERSTANDING
FROM WHICH ANYONE CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO IN ANY SITUATION.

A new resource guide offers an introduction to Perceptual
Control Theory (PCT), a new approach to explaining the behavior
of living organisms. PCT focuses on how we look at and
experience things, and the way these perceptions are compared
with experiences we want. The difference produces action.
Thus PCT explains how thoughts become actions, results and
feelings. You can apply this explanation to leadership,
coaching, team development, sales, performance reviews, TQM,
vision/mission statements, strategic planning, etc.

Psychology is not now a "hard" physical science with testable
in-depth explanations, but with PCT it will become one. PCT
helps us understand people as they naturally are, just as
engineers find it helpful to understand physical phenomena as
they naturally are. PCT is remarkably simple, and can be used
as a guide in everyday interactions.

For a free copy of "PCT introduction and resource guide" with
information on literature, tutorial computer demonstrations,
and educational programs for leaders in industry, teachers and
parents, send your request mentioning this publication in a
stamped, self addressed envelope to: PCT study materials,
Purposeful Leadership, 23903 Via Flamenco, Valencia, CA, 91355.

                          - #### -
----------------------------------------------------

I will appreciate comments on this before I go to press in the
morning. At the moment, I feel good about this.

---------------------------------

Greetings,
I am a relatively new to PCT and find some of the ideas rather
interesting. I am currently a doctoral student at Northwestern's
Kellogg school in marketing.
I would be interested in knowing if anyone has thought about the
implications of PCT for marketing. Any comments would be most
welcome.
Thanks, Pablo

Pablo, PCT has obvious implications for marketing, as this
dialogue shows you. But there is no way around the requirement
that you understand PCT for yourself. Why don't you introduce
yourself to the net, let us know more about you, and state what
you have read, seen, and heard already.

If you send me $10 by mail, I will send you my 48 page
introductory booklet.
Another $10 gets you the DOS PCTDEMOS disk. Specify 3 1/2 inch
or 5 1/4 -- both high density.
The video tape mentioned in the letter above is $13.
---------------------------------------

Best, Dag

Dag and Christine Forssell Purposeful Leadership
23903 Via Flamenco Valencia, California 91355-2808 USA
Phone (805) 254-1195 Fax (805) 254-7956
Internet: dforssell@mcimail.com MCI mail: 474-2580

<[Bill Leach 940412.19:52 EST(EDT)]

[Bill Powers (940411.0739 MDT)]

...people don't need to know WHY their actions succeed in controlling
their perceptions. As Rick has said periodically, even when they do
wonder why, they supply their own answers and are satisfied that they
understand.

People generally don't need to know why their actions succeed. They need
to know why their actions fail or don't succeed all of the time. Not
everyone will ask, not everyone that asks will find out and even of those
few that do, not all will adjust their goal accordingly... but there will
be some and there are quite a few asking.

There is a built-in conflict between understanding PCT and the
interests of anyone in a commerical establishment. The entire
structure of the commercial world is built on the control of one
person by another: the ability of one person to say, "Here is the ...

This in itself is a perception and one that is not in my opinion fully
correct. It is my opinion that the educational institutions not only do
not understand the principles of "free enterprise" but are even
responsible in large measure for the morass that exists today.

company that you will tip the balance in their favor -- and by the
very nature of the business world, you can't make this a general
promise, because if everyone used your services most of them would
still lose the competition.

And the "seeds" of the misunderstanding rest in the implications of the
preceding statement, in my opinion. The problem is, again in my opinion,
that "free enterprise" is automatically assummed to mean that there are
only winners and loosers. In our simplistic view of business
competition, we assume that there will be only one product that will be
successful and therefore all other loose. This is and always has been an
absurd assertion based upon total ignorance of observed and observable
human behaviour.

Even in the greed driven, greed glorified, over-regulated, corrupt, and
possessions centered economic system that we have today it is still
almost impossible to find 50% of the people agree on anything much less
what they are going to buy next!

Now the above does not in any way attempt to deny the "reality" that a
PCT approach must face in the business world today. It is necessary that
there are people in business that do not like the way that they seem to
have to do business. Many business people still look to symbols of
excellence such a Hewlett-Packard (which is a shadow of its' former self)
and say they were "doing things right", why can't we operate as they did?

Where in all this are you teaching managers how to be firm, how to make
the tough hire-and-fire decisions, how to put the company's survival
ahead of mere personal problems, how to be nasty when the situation
calls for it?

This is a tough question and I too will be interested in hearing any
answer that Dag may have for you. However, as I see it, the answer is in
the "life models" or "life standards". There are a number of "standards"
that each of us set. Most of these standards have priorities to relate
them to each other.

If one believe that when one accepts the money of another to do a job,
such as accepting the "stockholders" money to run a company, a whole set
of living standards come into play. Is it right for me to allow an
employee to, in the purest sense, steal from those that have invested in
the company? If that person steals property or assets from the company
the question is quite clear but if the person "steals" by accepting money
from these people without doing the work that they promised that they
would do, is that really any less ethical?

A very serious problem that we have in the world today and particularly
the United States is that THE LAW literally allows people to steal from
their employers without recourse. This is an abomination! This problem
is very real but it is not any more or less a "PCT problem" than is any
other.

What PCT ultimately offer these problems is the same thing that it
offers every other problem... a means to work out a solution. A solution
that is not based upon "wives tales", mysticism or other malarky.

There really are people that are "working" in jobs that they really
should not be trying to do but neither they nor their employer know or at
least have any idea why this is true.

...question, whether overtly or not, the very justfication for the way
the business is run from the ground up; you're questioning its very
reason for being. ...
... Why should ten companies compete to sell the greatest
amount of essentially the same product? Why should companies try to
create an ever-increasing demand for things that in themselves are ...

Why indeed? I don't doubt that the principles taught by PCT call into
question the very structure of most business but then PCT is not the only
thought that is and has been doing just that.

Why should a company strive incessantly to be Number One?

Because it is probably human nature to attempt to excell.

Why should it strive to put other companies out of business?

Well, this one I have to answer again... Why indeed? Greed maybe?

Why, in short, should companies behave in a way which, if found in the
behavior of your neighbor, would be considered psychotic?

Eloquent but not relevant to the question.

You are trying to teach PCT to people who were raised from the
cradle to think that money, power, and prestige are the most
important things in life, and who have been taught since Junior
Little League that if you don't get to the top of the heap, you are
nothing. You are dealing with the products of an educational system
that teaches competition as a virtue almost every minute of every
day, and with inhabitants of a social system which admires violent
combat -- but only the winners. You're trying to sell PCT to those

As usual, Bill's cuts right to the essence of a problem. Indeed, the
blame does rest primarily with the educational system. They have had
ample help from the media and they seem to feed each other.

"Competition is a virtue" but when? and more importantly, when is it not?
I suspect that the really only good "competition" is competition with
oneself and that this holds for business as well. Compeating to be the
best at something is in itself good. Having a society that say that a
Nancy Carrigan (for example) is a "has been" because she ONLY placed
second is a horrible problem.

A "bleeding-heart liberal" is one that does not believe that people are
responsible for their behaviour or at least should not be held
accountable. I personally do not see where PCT can be used to assert
that people should not be responsible for their behaviour... if anything,
PCT seems to assert more strongly than ever that they ARE responsible.

OTOH, PCT can very well show all of us where we may be responsible for
problems that others are having though are own behaviour and I'll will
admit, that is a frightening concept!

PCT will appeal to companies in which everyone from the CEO on down
is ready for the therapist's couch: not Fortune 500 companies, but
companies teetering on the brink of total failure. You can't save ...

I tend to agree that you are at least partly right here. However, I
again assert that companies ARE spending fortunes to try to discover the
"secret" to success. Almost all of the "modern" management "tricks" that
are being proposed have some success but they all fail to be THE secret.

I believe that possibly PCT teaches what works, why and maybe most
important of all, how to properly measure the success of any efforts in
this area.

PCT is no more the panacea for management problems than the model is a
complete working model of the human brain.

Virtually ALL human actions that result from volition are a result of an
almost(?) unimaginable amount processing. Even the act of choosing
something to eat is complex beyond belief in its' detail, much less
something involving a "work" decision.

It is completely naive if one believes that a PCT based approach will
"remove" all business obstacles. There are still "con-men" (con-persons
in "newspeak"?), liars, thieves and cheats AND there always will be.
People with fundamentally different fundamental life standards will
likely always have trouble "getting along", PCT notwithstanding.

Finally, I want to take another shot at the educational system and those
that believe that the "American System" is fundamentally flawed. To
start with the "so called American System" of economics that we have
today is NOT the American System, it is rather the British Mercantile
System... the so called "free trade" system.

A really serious assault on the American System was partially successful
following the assination of Lincoln. The conversion to the mercantile
system was essentially complete by the end of the "great depression" but
"momentum" has kept parts of it in operation even to this day.

The Mecantile IS based upon force control. The American Free Enterprise
system is not based upon control but rather upon the PREVENTION of
control. The idea being that if there is no outside control besides
customers and clients free to exercise their own choices for WHATEVER
REASONS THEY THEMSELVES CHOOSE, then the business that serves this
interest best will succeed best. Though the consumers reasons for making
a descision have been greatly discussed and "researched" it was fully
expected by the brilliant men that conceived this system, that the
consumers would indeed consider such things as how a business treated
their own employees.

Given a true American Free Enterprise system, it is likely that the
company that did indeed treat their employees as living control system
would be the most successful.

Another point worth mentioning is that this system that is "so unhuman"
per the teachings of almost 100% of the educators in this country is the
very same system that created a standard living that has consistently
kept the vast majority of American living in comfort that even the
wealthy of the rest of the world often have had difficulty maintaining.
It is this same "decrepit" system that raised the average lifespan for
Americans to the point where "old age" deseases have had the opportunity
to become the new limits to life.

-bill

[From Dag Forssell (940412 2120)] Tom Bourbon [940512.0832]

But please, Dag, no press releases. "Science by press release" is one
of the more shameful features of our sometimes dreary age. Every
morning, another group of "scientists" prattles to the press and the
cameras about the latest "breakthrough" or "miracle of modern science."
I hope we don't join in that sorry exercise.

Is it not amazing how many different stored perceptions are out there,
doing their part in imagination. I am amazed at the prejudice against
any attempt to tell the world about PCT. I think it is SHAMEFUL that
Bill P. published BCP, since there are so many junk books published,
especially in the field of psychology. We should really keep this a
secret, because Saddam Hussein might learn how to control his subjects
better. (Indeed he might). It is my turn to get disgusted. You guys
are truly nuts! Keep complaining that the world does not knock on the
PCT door, but do everything to keep it hidden. That is called an
internal conflict in PCT speak, by the way. PCT explains some of its own
difficulties, as Bill P. pointed out. But then, your livelihoods don't
depend on selling PCT (or anything else), so hold your noses. I aim do
what I can to make PCT better known anyway, and be correct when doing it.
If you guys don't appreciate PCT, someone else out there will, and the
world will be a better place for it.

···

------------------------------------------------------
I should stop cluttering up the net with these drafts, but reactions from
netters are one of the very few feed back mechanisms I have, so you get
to suffer some more. (One call or short comment is enough payoff for
me). Ed called this evening and expressed his opinion that "PEOPLE
ENGINEERING" peaked his curiosity, and that a subtitle might explain.
I have taken yet another look, and think the below may be a further
improvement, without being misleading or suggesting "big brother".
Developing curiosity (in the editor and in the reader) is the name of the
game, and the criterion this should be judged by. Changes in the first
two paragraphs:

-----------------------------------------------
April, 1994 Contact: Dag Forssell
For immediate release Phone: (805) 254-1195

Draft: April 12 Version D, I think.

                   PEOPLE ENGINEERING

         A new way to understand human nature

The principles of a new concept applied to people help us
understand behavior, conflict, cooperation, and personal
relationships better than has been possible to date, just as
the principles of modern physical science have helped us
understand the inanimate world better than was possible with
trial-and-error experience alone. This means that we can move
away from programs offering popular advice based on individual
experiences; advice which when followed often fails to achieve
desired results. Instead, we will have proven understanding
from which anyone can figure out what to do in any situation.

A new resource guide offers an introduction to Perceptual
Control Theory (PCT), a new explanation for the behavior of
living organisms. PCT focuses on how we look at and experience
things, and the way these perceptions are compared with
experiences we want. The difference produces action. Thus PCT
explains how thoughts become actions, results and feelings.
You can apply this explanation to leadership, coaching, team
development, sales, performance reviews, TQM, vision/mission
statements, strategic planning, etc.

Psychology is not now a "hard" physical science with testable
in-depth explanations, but with PCT it will become one. PCT
helps us understand people as they naturally are, just as
engineers find it helpful to understand physical phenomena as
they naturally are. PCT is remarkably simple, and can be used
as a guide in everyday interactions.

For a free copy of "PCT introduction and resource guide" with
information on literature, tutorial computer demonstrations,
and educational programs for leaders in industry, teachers and
parents, send your request mentioning this publication in a
stamped, self addressed envelope to: PCT study materials,
Purposeful Leadership, 23903 Via Flamenco, Valencia, CA, 91355.

                      - #### -
-----------------------------------------------

Best to most of you, Dag

<[Bill Leach 940412.22:51 EST(EDT)]

Pablo est:>940411 16:43 (CDT)

Welcome Pablo. You might note that most of us use a couple of lines at
the beginning of the message. The first line give the sender's name and
a date time group to make future reference to the message easy.

The second (and sometimes additional) line(s) indicates the message(s)
for which this message is a response.

There are several reasons why this is somewhat important. One of the
reasons is that messages often do not arrive at your mail box in
chronological order. Another reason is that sometimes it is necessary
for the reader of your message to go back to the referenced message to
better understand what you are saying.

Yet another reason is that while all of the mail is processed per RFC-822
(since it is at least at some point in the internet), it seems that there
are about as many different idea about what information from the mail
header should be display and how as there are mail systems. Since about
all mailers "leave the body" alone, these "body headers" line "make it"
to everybody unchanged.

A final reason (that I know of) is that this procedure also makes it much
easier to search back through previous postings to find messages
exchanged between certain people for research purposes.

···

----------

Since PCT is a theory about life, it is safe to say that it has
implications for "marketing." It is NOT a philosophy of life however and
is not "judgemental" from a moral standpoint.

At least some of us here believe that you can draw some rather
significant moral conclusions from what PCT has to say about how humans
function but these conclusions are not themselves PCT.

Marketing is an activity (as I see it defined) that deals with such
things as:
   determining wants or desires of the potential customer base,
   determining purchase capability of those potential customers,
   defining as precisely as possible the actual potential customer base,
   determining the best means to "access" these people,
   develop an appealing presentation
   and then comprehensively evaluating the results.

In addition, marketing also involves the management of the people that
actually perform the marketing functions.

All of these things involve people and the better you understand people
the more successful you will be in these activities if you don't run into
a "political snag" in the process (and of course PCT could help you with
"political snags" too -- but you might not necessarily like the
conclusions that PCT could lead you to).

     //////////////////////////////////////////
     / /
     / -bill /
     / Bill Leach, W.R. Leach Co. /
     / bleach@bix.com 71330.2621@cis.com /
     / ARS KB7LX@KB7LX.ampr.org 44.74.1.74 /
     / 919-362-7427 /
     //////////////////////////////////////////

<[Bill Leach 940412.23:22 EST(EDT)]

[Dag Forssell (940412 1750)]

Dag, I consider the change to be an improvement but I honestly have to
say that I am about "rummy" right now.

I really like the idea that these "programs" that are so prevalent in
industry today ARE either totally unproven and often even unsupported
hypothesis OR are "individual experiences" that may well have worked
under some conditions but will not necessarily work under others.

INSTEAD, WE WILL HAVE A PROVEN UNDERSTANDING
FROM WHICH ANYONE CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO IN ANY SITUATION.

This line bothers me a bit in that PCT does not impart "wisdom" or
"understanding" but rather a means to develop a process of achieving
both.

If nothing else, just reading and participating in this net has convinced
me that PCT techniques will be best at determining/defining problems and
testing changes but not at actually "providing solutions".

It seems to me that PCT methodology will certainly aid in the developing
of solutions if for no other reason than it should help in rejecting
ideas that are fundamentally contrary to human nature.

But for every problem, there are always unknown factors, known factors
that will change in unexpected ways and "known factors" that are
incorrect. These things will still require "trial and error" in any
solution set. Thus, it is my opinion that the referenced sentence is a
bit too strong or optimistic.

-bill

<[Bill Leach 940413.01:00 EST(EDT)]

[Dag Forssell (940412 2120)]

Gawk! You're probably gonna get tired of 'hearing' me but...

I stumbled all over the first sentence because I incorrectly saw the
segment "people help" as a single term (I know it is oh dark thirty and I
should be in bed not trying to read things).

Another late night/early morning thought that you may feel quite free to
discard without comment:

You say:

PCT is remarkably simple, and can be used as a guide in everyday
interactions.

Which is probably true but the "practical implications" of PCT are
anything but "simple".

PCT is remarkably simple and like any other "hard" science requires at
thorough understanding of basic principles and practice in their
application. Once learned, these principles are applicable to all human
interaction at any level and in any situation.

Good nite... my control systems are telling me rather emphatically that
there is a serious intrinsic error in the rest department.

-bill

[From Dag Forssell (930808 1705)] Rick Marken (930808.1330)

I presume that anyone doing science has a permanent "problem" to
solve; the problem of understanding how phenomena work.

Yes, I think this is why Rick Marken took an interest in PCT to
begin with. In the hard sciences, students are taught how things
"work." I am not convinced that students in the soft sciences learn
how things "work." This addresses the difference between empirical
descriptions and generative theoretical models we have discussed in
the past and at the conference. Those terms may be unfortunate. I
have begun to think of knowledge in three dimensions:

1) Experience, experiment.
    This is the dimension where we naturally experience WHAT
    happens in the world. We reorganize and develop common sense.
    Statistical studies are a formalization of ordinary experience.
    We predict that if we repeat an action, the same result will
    follow, all things being equal.

2) Deep explanation and understanding.
    This is where we offer suggestions of WHY and HOW something
    happens, which allows us to generate predictions of what will
    happen given novel action under varying circumstances.

3) Clarity of logic.
    This is the dimension of logic manipulation: Clarity of
    reasoning, mathematical rigor. The reasoning dimension does
    NOT, in and of itself, tell you anything about nature. The
    first two dimesions do. The third adds clarity and rigor and
    makes it easier to categorize and manipulate the information in
    the first two.

I assume that life scientists want to understand how the
phenomenon of behavior works and I offer PCT as a possible
solution.

When I first came to this country, an old tool designer at Boeing
told me how to spell ASSUME: It makes an ASS out of U and ME.

You have a mountain of evidence that (most) life scientists do NOT
want to understand how the phenomenon of behavior works, but choose
to ignore the results of the tests you have administered. I
question how much these life scientists think in the second
dimension, and with how much rigor.

If they don't want it, that's fine.

Rick Marken's behavior does not bear this one out, as I see it. You
keep griping even when it seems abundantly clear that "they"
*don't*
want it.

Best, Dag :slight_smile: