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Thread: An article worth reading

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    Good luck with that, innovative employees are considered troublemakers.



    We agree here - little happens without constructive engineering input.
    But management that blockades innovation get downsized when the company begins to shrink. Management that allows innovation replaces what is shrinking with a new technology in a growth phase.

    Remember that innovation does not have to be radical such as beer has been around 5000 years, but the distribution and storage along with tweaks of the recipe has changed drastically in competition. Does anyone remember the Royal Oil cans? Royal didn't think of innovating and got replaced by the paper lined oil cans who were replaced by the all plastic oil quarts.

    It is a manager afraid of his own shadow that doesn't allow contructive innovation.
    Terry Britton, P.E.

    Engineers believe that if it isn't broken, it doesn't have enough features yet.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post

    As for being a partner - how much was due to ability & how much was due to connections? As one of my miners so eloquently presented In some what cruder terms, "Sex in the right family will beat all the qualifications any one can have."

    My experience, which I'm sure rivals yours but would be oriented to the real world, has been that those who come from these elite programs believe that achieving the diploma gives them an advantage over an equally qualified individual with lesser educational credentials. & it shows in organizations that have this culture. How could we fail? All our people are from Duke, Stanford & the Ivy league. But they failed to have a catalyst that created a productive mindset.
    All the degree does is show a tool box much like a hunt test title on a dog. It doesn't mean the individual knows how to use the tool box in the real world just like real hunting is not the same as a hunt test. Also, advanced degrees are nothing more than advancing experience. Sometimes they will bring a set of tools to the company that will help them run more effecient that experience alone won't cover.

    Sometimes those with the Ivy league degrees discount the experience, while those with experience underestimate the work and tools gained by the education. It really takes multiple types of people to run a company.

    Where many problems with the Ivy league graduates create is they are placed into companies with high positions because of who daddy is, or who daddy is friends with. I have seen these problems first hand, and sometimes the kids made it through without learning how to work because of $$$.
    Terry Britton, P.E.

    Engineers believe that if it isn't broken, it doesn't have enough features yet.

  3. #13
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post

    My experience has been they are less than stellar because of their mind set. What do you consider Executive level?
    People responsible for strategic and executive direction of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and thousands of employees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    This is where your New Yorker instincts take over - what policy did you ever institute that provided clarity in what most would consider a dysfunctional city?
    Many. One that you might appreciate was that I was the architect for hospital closings. Literally on the back of an envelope, I did an analysis of hospital bed and occupancy rates for existing hospitals in the Bronx and hospitals under construction along with a cohort analysis of projected population trends over the next 20 years. It was apparent that there would be too many underutilized hospitals requiring massive investment in maintenance of unneeded buildings. That became the basis for halting construction of two new hospitals for which land had already been acquired and to a series of policies in which ultimately resulted in closure of about 30 public and private hospitals in a manner that reduced costs while improving health care. For Medicaid, I designed and implemented system changes that resulted in spending reductions of more than $300 million over a period of 18 months at a cost of less than $200k. Thos same systems provided the basis for identifying and tracking down fraud resulting in multiple prosecutions and millions more in savings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    As for being a partner - how much was due to ability & how much was due to connections? As one of my miners so eloquently presented In some what cruder terms, "Sex in the right family will beat all the qualifications any one can have."
    Individual situations varied. In my case I was hired in the hope that my political connections would help sell more public sector work. I agreed on condition that I did not have to work on public sector projects and would not be prevented from selling work to private corporations. Initially, drawing on my public sector experience, I built a practice in which we reviewed the effectiveness of insurance companies in managing the employee health benefit programs in small companies like Mobil Corp and Western Electrick. Subsequently, and also based on my experiences in the public sector, I became one of the first successful developers of what were then called decision support systems. It grew into one of the most profitable practices we had. The customers were all private sector -- primarily investment banks, brokerage firms, and law firms in involved in major litigation. None of that business was based on any personal or political connections and that was the business that got me promoted to Partner.

    The reality is that most successful careers -- whether in the public or private sectors -- rest on a mix of successful networking and outstanding performance. Few businesses are stupid enough to keep hiring incompetents just because they are friends or slept in the right families.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    My experience, which I'm sure rivals yours but would be oriented to the real world, has been that those who come from these elite programs believe that achieving the diploma gives them an advantage over an equally qualified individual with lesser educational credentials. & it shows in organizations that have this culture. How could we fail? All our people are from Duke, Stanford & the Ivy league. But they failed to have a catalyst that created a productive mindset.
    Great colleges tend to attract great students and they give them great educations. An immediate advantage of graduating from one of the great schools is that almost no one ever asks for a transcript to find out how well you actually did.

    The last guy I worked for before buying my own company graduated fairly far down in his class at C. W. Post. He was very shrewd and successful enough to buy as many people like me as he wanted. He became CEO of a $400 million NYSE firm at the age of 21 -- it was a temporary staffing company controlled by his father and my boss had worked there since he was 14. He sold it before he was 30 and purchased a Sioux Falls based environmental testing lab that was bankrupt. He managed to turn that into a major national environmental engineering company which he then sold for a massive profit. His comment to me was that most people made the mistake of thinking that a great acquisition was based on buying a great brand. Instead, he said the secret to a great corporate acquisition was simple: buy it for too little and sell it for too much.

    Outside of consulting firms, law firms and investment banks, I've known few companies that have employed large numbers of people from the "great" schools. If anything, they were suspicious of "those people" figuring that somehow their achievements were based on smoke and mirrors. I'm not sure what you call the "real world", but I think the world in which I've worked is pretty darned real.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    People responsible for strategic and executive direction of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and thousands of employees.
    This would partially explain your fascination with the existing POTUS. Managed to spend $50 Mil with zero accomplishement, but did get a $Mil earmark so his wife could have a $317K position specifically created for her hi ness. Now he wants to mortgage the future of our country on some very much unproven theories.

    I did not like our 43rd POTUS for his spending ways so that sets me up to really dislike this guy.


    Many. One that you might appreciate was that I was the architect for hospital closings. Literally on the back of an envelope, I did an analysis of hospital bed and occupancy rates for existing hospitals in the Bronx and hospitals under construction along with a cohort analysis of projected population trends over the next 20 years. It was apparent that there would be too many underutilized hospitals requiring massive investment in maintenance of unneeded buildings. That became the basis for halting construction of two new hospitals for which land had already been acquired and to a series of policies in which ultimately resulted in closure of about 30 public and private hospitals in a manner that reduced costs while improving health care. For Medicaid, I designed and implemented system changes that resulted in spending reductions of more than $300 million over a period of 18 months at a cost of less than $200k. Thos same systems provided the basis for identifying and tracking down fraud resulting in multiple prosecutions and millions more in savings.
    Several things not quite right here. This is not to belittle your efforts but, you picked the low hanging fruit.

    Why would you input into private hospitals? or were they private in title only? The government has had their hand in this cookie jar too long & we all get to see what it is costing.

    Now if you had created a model to allow a competitive atmosphere with substandard care providers being allowed to fail, then I would be very impressed.


    Individual situations varied. In my case I was hired in the hope that my political connections would help sell more public sector work. I agreed on condition that I did not have to work on public sector projects and would not be prevented from selling work to private corporations. Initially, drawing on my public sector experience, I built a practice in which we reviewed the effectiveness of insurance companies in managing the employee health benefit programs in small companies like Mobil Corp and Western Electrick. Subsequently, and also based on my experiences in the public sector, I became one of the first successful developers of what were then called decision support systems. It grew into one of the most profitable practices we had. The customers were all private sector -- primarily investment banks, brokerage firms, and law firms in involved in major litigation. None of that business was based on any personal or political connections and that was the business that got me promoted to Partner.
    Is this why everything costs so much, too much specialization? During my management career we were expected to make these decisions in the course of doing our normal work.

    The reality is that most successful careers -- whether in the public or private sectors -- rest on a mix of successful networking and outstanding performance. Few businesses are stupid enough to keep hiring incompetents just because they are friends or slept in the right families.
    These people are hidden in the structure, generally behind or in front of, someone who is competent enough to cover for them.

    Great colleges tend to attract great students and they give them great educations. An immediate advantage of graduating from one of the great schools is that almost no one ever asks for a transcript to find out how well you actually did.
    I'm well aware of that because of my engineering & mining careers but, all too often the student/graduate assumes they have some status. The last company I worked for vetted their engineers quite well, but on occasion would let an applicant slide because of the school they had attended. On more than 1 occasion I had to point out to my supervision that some of the people they were hiring did not fit our requirements. In each case it showed on the transcript so they were counselled into other areas, as the company had many needs.

    Instead, he said the secret to a great corporate acquisition was simple: buy it for too little and sell it for too much.
    That is the secret to any business transaction, some very smart people in other areas can't seem to fathom that simple rule.

    Outside of consulting firms, law firms and investment banks, I've known few companies that have employed large numbers of people from the "great" schools. If anything, they were suspicious of "those people" figuring that somehow their achievements were based on smoke and mirrors. I'm not sure what you call the "real world", but I think the world in which I've worked is pretty darned real.
    Those kind of people are very good at selling themselves. I graduated with people who on paper, were much better than my puny resume, who could'nt serve as my waterperson when it came to performance, both mental & physical. It really bothered them that "real life" was not collegial.

    The "real world" is one where there is a risk-reward ratio that is not out of kilter. Screwing up may send you down the road kicking "road apples" but if you perform well there will be a reward.
    __________________________

    Marvin S

    Everyone's friend is No One's friend

    Someday your life will flash before your eyes. It's your responsibility to make sure it's worth watching!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    Why would you input into private hospitals? or were they private in title only? The government has had their hand in this cookie jar too long & we all get to see what it is costing.
    Most hospitals depend on the government for most of their revenues. Hospitals also regularly require government approvals for changes in their operations. We did not "close" private hospitals that we deemed unnecessary, but we did nothing to preserve them either. That was sufficient to cause most to close or merge, with closure of the outdated and unneeded facilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    Is this why everything costs so much, too much specialization? During my management career we were expected to make these decisions in the course of doing our normal work.
    In the case of my first client where we reviewed health benefits, the company employed over 250,000 staff receiving medical benefits at a cost of about $1 billion per year. Our first assessment cost $30k and took three weeks. Our client estimated that they had saved over $3 million during the study itself based on our findings. Half way through the project I told them what I had found and said that there was no need for me to review operations that would have required me to fly to San Francisco. However, the client knoew I had been planning to take my family with me for a vacation and insisted I do that part of the project and take a little extra time doing it at their expense. Ultimately the study resulted in a complete reworking of the systems used to process their employee health benefits. We worked with them and their insurance companies over a three year period to evaluate those activities. In that time the incidence of processing errors was reduced from 54% of all claims processed to less than 2%. The dollar impact of the original errors was a net overpayment of over 5% of claims processed (about $50 million per year). That was reduced to a net effect of 0% in erroneous payments. At that point I suggested that it was not worth continuing to pay us for continuous monitoring. The fact is that part of a manager's job is to know when to ask a specialist to come in to help, not to try to pretend that they are capable of doing it all for themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    Those kind of people are very good at selling themselves. I graduated with people who on paper, were much better than my puny resume, who could'nt serve as my waterperson when it came to performance, both mental & physical. It really bothered them that "real life" was not collegial.

    The "real world" is one where there is a risk-reward ratio that is not out of kilter. Screwing up may send you down the road kicking "road apples" but if you perform well there will be a reward.
    I agree that one of the benefits of good education is an improved ability to articulate your thoughts more clearly. This can help you sell yourself and your ideas better. However, there are clearly some people who sell better than they deliver and they normally in trouble. I agree with your definition of the "real" world. Unfortunately, rewards and punishments are frequently out of kilter in both the public and private sectors.

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