The C word

[From Dag Forssell (930930 2240)]

I was reminded today that the word control itself is problematic.

In a letter from a major company's management development
department, I was told:

"PCT is a novel approach, but one we would prefer not to pursue.
Even in the most positive sense, "control" is a paradigm that
doesn't leverage the "boundaryless" culture we are creating."

It has occurred to me that the title of my article might be
improved upon. It is now: "Control: A Key Management Insight".
Obviously, this reads to many as: "Manipulation: A Key Management

How about:


                  a) |_| Self-Direction
   WHAT IS _
                  b) |_| A Natural Phenomenon
                  c) |_| An New Explanation of Behavior
                  d |_| A Key Management Insight

What is control on the left would be very bold, with the right hand
part looking like a multiple choice test in plain text. All the
boxes would have check marks in them, rather than providing answers
upside down.

Comments, please. Dag

[From Dag Forssell (931001 1510)] Bill Powers (931001.1030 MDT)

The problem with the word "control" is indeed serious. Perhaps you
should write a separate one-page explanation that shows why people
don't like this word, why they are right, and how a deeper
understanding of the _process_ of control can help do something
about getting rid of misuses of control.

Rick Marken (931001.0900)

I hate to say this but, after reading this, I have become
convinced that if you want to make a living with PCT I think you
should jettison the word "control" completely from all of your

It is wonderful to have this net, where you can ask for comments
and get some - and fast. In this case, Bill's got to me first. I
would not have taken Rick's anyhow, because I have already traveled
part way down that road. I have tried (and will continue to use)
the synonym "Self-direction." But I have not sensed that people
understand any more or less. Rather, I think the basic problem is
that most people have no notion of what it is they understand. They
just talk and describe and blabber along. We have to show them what
it is they understand. Bill's "one hour" script (Closed Loop Spring
93 p59) does that.

I am looking for just a few people who want the straight scoop. It
may be like looking for a needle in a haystack to look for straight
thinkers, but I believe a few exist. Now find them.

Bill's suggestion is the better one, in my opinion, today. Rather
than come up with a strange headline arrangement, which probably
would be inadequate anyway, I am now thinking of the following
headline: (Adding the asterisk only).



And in a box, or a section of its own:


    People dislike the word "control." To many, it is synonymous
with manipulation and coercion. This is due to an incomplete
understanding of what the process of control is. A complete
understanding of control shows how to eliminate manipulation.

    Control is a pervasive natural phenomenon which has not been
clearly described until well into this century. When you
understand control and know what to look for, you can observe
control processes in the behavior of single cell organisms, plants
and animals all around you, all the time. To control means to
influence your environment so that you perceive the environment the
way you want to perceive it, according to some specification, want
or goal you set. To survive, an organism must control several
aspects of its environment successfully.

    You eat to influence your blood sugar level until your
perception of it agrees with your specification for it. You pull
the cover tighter on a cold night to influence the temperature of
your skin so that it agrees with the warmth you want to feel. You
work to influence your environment in many ways until your
perceptions are to your liking. When they are, you call yourself
content or satisfied.

    All behaviors are part of control processes. Our actions
influence some aspect of the world as we perceive it. The word
control is appropriate to describe the process. Control is
necessary for life. Good control of one's own environment is
satisfying. Control of one's environment by way of physical
coercion and threats to others may be satisfying to one self, but
is certainly not to the other. Thus the general dislike of
control. An understanding of control shows us how to control well
to satisfy our own wants without violating the rights of others to
control and satisfy theirs. An understanding of control enables us
to develop productive and satisfying cooperation.

While this travels to CSGnet and back, I will see how long this is
in print.

I will appreciate suggestions for improvements.

Thanks, Dag