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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Playing Ball on the "Transition Team"

Recently a frequent visitor to FUMARE wrote to me with his insights on what "Transition Teams" are all about and their application to the current situation at AMSL. Given his long experience and his impeccable common sense, I thought all of our readers would profit from his musings. I find very little to disagree with, and his comments may serve as means to size up what this is all about.

I am very familiar with Transition Teams. I have actually run a couple of them myself.

A Transition Team is a management tool that is used to make a predestined unpalatable policy, procedure, directive, Etc. more easily swallowed.

In my case the Transition Team traveled to each institution and set up input discussion groups whose members were those most likely to raise objections. It started with the given fact that there was a problem to solve and our help was needed.

The Transition Team did a lot of charting of suggestions on how to solve the problem, Etc. These suggestions supposedly would be used in forming a solution to the problem. I have noticed that the better the buffet lunch the more unpalatable the directive would be.

The final, approved directive would not reflect any of the suggestions. The date of the first draft of the directive would predate the formation of the Transition Team
in most cases. I found it personally insulting that the administration would not
even bother construct decent cover documentation.

When this Transition Team starts using the word stakeholders, when they start handing out big fat markers for the group to write their suggestions, when they start grouping these suggestions together and drawing arrows between groups of suggestions and when they promise to get back to you with a position paper prior to the final draft then you know it’s time to put on the Wellingtons.

The whole process is the old “Do you still beat your wife?” conundrum. If you didn’t participate then you can’t complain. If you did participate then you can’t complain.