- Apr 19, 2002
- Total Time
Memo coming out today. Looks like no furloughs for now since we're still short on FO's.
PCL did this during the same time of year in 2005. They didn't do it.... and they threatened to stop upgrades in 2006. Also, management controls hiring, firing, displacements and upgrades. So if they use such control for non operational purposes such as fear and divide and conquer.... let 'em...
The Peanut Butter Jar Principle of Management.
At the college I attended, more than 20 years ago now, we dined in a huge build
ing—all 4,000 plus of us at once. Seating arrangements were 10 per table with a mix
of all classes at each table. The seniors sat at the head of the table and the freshmen sat at the end. The peanut butter jars, of course, were somewhere in the middle. We all liked the peanut butter jars—especially a new untouched one. The first person to delve into a “virgin” jar often did so with some ceremony. One day we arrived at lunch to discover the peanut butter jars were gone—replaced by little peanut butter packets. We were not happy.
A form was filled out by the freshmen at each meal. After checking the usual boxes— Fast, Neat, Average, Friendly, Good—they would inquire if any upperclassmen had any comments for the form. “We want the peanut butter jars back!” we screamed. Word quickly spread through the 400 plus tables and the write-in campaign was on. Three meals per day, over a thousand forms each day going in to whomever read them, demanding the return of the peanut butter jars. About a month and 30,000 forms later, we arrived at lunch and, while milling around the tables prior to the announcements that proceeded our dining, we noticed THE JARS WERE BACK! The crescendo of conversational noise in the huge hall was appreciably louder than normal as people took notice. We fell silent as the announcements from “the tower” began. The final
announcement, appropriately, was simply “…and gentlemen, the peanut butter jars have
returned!” PANDEMONIUM! Four thousand guys celebrating like we’d just beaten Army and Navy in football on the same afternoon.
Except for one guy. Standing to my left was Dave T., one class senior to me. Dave had this little grin on his face as he sadly shook his head while observing the raucous behavior of the student body. “What’s
wrong with you?” I asked. His reply was something I’d never forget. “Look at everybody…so happy…yet we don’t have one thing we didn’t have a month ago.”
Dave, for some irrational reason, later chose to be an officer in the Marines, but I’ll never
forget him as the author of what I later dubbed “The Peanut Butter Jar Principle of Management.” The concept is simple. If you want to raise the morale of the workforce you don’t necessarily have to give them anything. Merely taking something away and reinstating it later will have the same effect.