Friday, December 30, 2005

SBC-AT&T Merger - AT&T kicks off its biggest ever ad campaign "Your World. Delivered" who will deliver? Carrot Top or Moses?

The SBC merger, valued at $16 billion, won't be the end of the AT&T name. SBC Leadership plans to change its corporate name to the (qualityg says ...) once iconic and reliable AT&T name.

"The AT&T brand reflects what customers are looking for in a provider," SBC CEO Edward Whitacre Jr. said in a statement. "They want the latest technology and services, but they also want reliability, quality and trustworthiness. Only the AT&T brand offers this ideal combination of traits." He also said its merger with AT&T "will enhance competition, help bring new technologies to market faster, and provide real benefits to consumers and businesses."

AT&T, or Ma Bell as it was affectionately known, grew to become the nation's largest and most influential telephone company after getting its start in 1877 by founder Alexander Graham Bell. Southwestern Bell, one of the so-called Baby Bells, was formed out of the AT&T break-up in 1984. Southwestern Bell later became SBC.

qualityg says ... Since 1984 the world and particularly the United States has suffered because of your moronic decision by Judge Harold Greene. Tell me where you can find a company today that has over a million employees with standardization and reliability that compared to AT&T in 1980. A million employees working and paying taxes with a good wage. No other company has ever come close to giving back to the communities in which they were located.

In order for the breakup to even have a small chance of succeeding all of the barriers would have to come down, only a bunch of government idiots would believe that start-up companies would ever be able to compete. The investment in capital for landlines, circuits, marketing and R&D will never be realized. NEVER! This is not hindsight, this was predicted in 1984!

So what did we get? Corruption, mismanagement, greed, mismanagement, layoffs, mismanagement, crap stock prices that never move and more mismanagement. Did I mention mismanagement?

What about the egos of the current CEOs from the old bell system and currently of AT&T. They have turned into leeches and waged a war to be the first to add AT&T CEO to their titles. Dream on fellas,

AT&T is dead, let her RIP - 1877 - 1984.

UPDATED 11/11/05

Like I said above the egos are running rampant.

AT&T CEO dave dorman won't remain after SBC takeover

AT&T CEO David Dorman confirmed expectations Thursday that he won't stay on long after AT&T is acquired by SBC, opting for nearly $20 million in severance pay and consulting fees rather than a subordinate post at the combined company.

"Dave made it clear that he wanted to be considered as Ed's successor, and that's not going to happen according to the SBC board's management succession plan," AT&T spokesman Andrew Backover said. "Dave respects the board's decision, wishes the new AT&T the very best and will work hard to make the transition a smooth one."

The arrogance never stops. Just wait until East meets Southwest next year in management meetings. AT&T egos are used to pushing around their counterparts/peers when a merger acquisitionton takes place. The Texans are going to ride all over them dudes from NY & NJ!

UPDATED 11/20/05

The new AT&T Inc., freshly formed by SBC Communications Inc.'s purchase of its former parent company, on Monday unveiled its new corporate logo: a variation on the familiar blue AT&T globe with the company's name spelled in lowercase letters just below.

qualityg says ... Like I said this is not AT&T, it's just a company pretending... What is the purpose of the baby letters? The circle looks like one of those fancy white chocolate candy balls. Looks good on the outside until you take a bite and spit it out.
UPDATED 11/22/05

What is going to happen to Golden Boy? My suggestion is put him in front of the Alamo in San Antonio (SBC Headquarters). He also represents a once great icon that got run over by politics and management dictators.

Updated 12/30/05

AT&T Kicks Off its Biggest Ever Ad Campaign

AT&T Inc., formed by SBC Communications' purchase of AT&T Corp, is planning the biggest ad campaign in the history of either company in a bid to convince customers to stay as competition heats up from cable television rivals.

The national campaign , which uses the slogan "Your world. Delivered," is expected to run in the hundreds of millions of dollars and is AT&T's first since it was formed last month.

qualityg says ... who will be doing the delivering? Carrot Top or Moses, either way I say Return to Sender! How many AT&T employees lost their jobs in order to have money for this Ad?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quality - Complex Process Problems Require Complex Process Solutions

Many of the Quality type conversations I have almost always ends with the frustrations of not being able to correctly articulate, or communicate the importance of “Systems Thinking” in solving complex process/system problems.

"Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

With every problem comes an opportunity. I can think of no better example that can relate the importance of “Systems Thinking” (Systems Thinking) that plague most business and educational organizations. They continue to confront the failure of improving complex independent systems that should be interdependent systems.

When complex processes/systems fail, traditional ways of thinking and managing simply will not correct the problem. You need to be able to identify these types of failures and address them accordingly.


I have found in my work that identifying complex system failures can be accomplished by recognizing the following characteristics:

· The longer they are left unattended, the more vast their effects.
· Costs always surpasses what has been budgeted to correct the situation.
· As effects emerge, unknown interdependencies rise to the top like a bad penny.
· The more that problems come into focus, the more complex they become.
· Past experience with simple systems no longer apply.
· Root causes and their effects are impossible to identify, track and control.

These characteristics identify the most troubling realization about complex systemic problems: They are inherently uncontrollable. They cannot be understood completely either before or even while they are happening; therefore, prediction and control are impossible. Conventional means of managing and problem solving will not work.

One example I think about at this time of the year was the Y2K problem and how it impacted every organization knee deep in IT type integrated code. What we realized was the Y2K problem wasn’t just about software and the lines of code that had been hastily written 5, 10, 30 years ago that did not recognize the 00 date. It was also about the microchips implanted in so many items (i.e. PCs, appliances, utilities, etc.) that affect our day-to-day lives that also would not recognize the new century. Likewise, many of the provisioning processes could not be sectionalized and managed independently by multiple departments. It took take a systemic concentrated effort by a number of groups actively working together to solve the problems.

Conventional reporting structures and old-style power relations have also contributed to complex system failures. A certain amount of honesty and partnership must take place among process owners when addressing complex system problems. Review the following statement from the eyes of a senior leader. How would you respond if a subject matter expert came to you and said, “I need your best people to work on the Y2K problem and it will probably cost over a million dollars, and one more thing, we won’t be able to work on any other productivity problems.” Now what usually happens is the problem will be filtered as it is passed up the chain of command, leaders will state that everything is under control out of fear of being fired. Would the example have been any different if the provisioning process were used instead of the Y2K problem.

Old trends, past practices, and inappropriate problem solving methods (i.e. tampering) make it impossible to understand the failures of complex processes/systems.


We have created an environment of complex processes/systems that require new methodologies to unravel existing entangled interdependencies. In order to reverse the trend, complex systems require unity, participation, and honesty to data, information and internal partnerships. These types of system problems require us to dissolve our past practices of hierarchies, boundaries, internal competition, conflicting management objectives and silence out of fear.

The failure of any complex process/system can’t be adequately addressed through functional organizational structures or by a few internal/external consultants injecting their expertise into the system. Only those who work within the system know its inner workings. They are the only ones who know how to work around the systems when they fail. Thus, implementing solutions to system wide or cross-functional processes requires practices that secure the knowledge and expertise throughout the entire system/process (this may also include experts outside the traditional boundaries of the organization). Complex system problems like provisioning require unmatched levels of participation just to understand what is going on in the process.

It is vital that senior leaders provide the focus for implementing a process that identifies the players required for developing solutions to critical customer affecting processes. For example, what can be done to promote easier access so workers can reach each other quickly? What procedures, policies, boundaries, or functional territories need to be demolished now so workers can talk honestly and skillfully without the umbrella of politics or bureaucracy hanging over their heads?

Business Leaders and Academic Administrators need to develop a new mindset for addressing complex process/system problems. Margaret Wheately of the Berkana Institute suggests the following:

· Engage the whole system. Only participation can save you.
· Continuously keep asking, “Who else should be involved?”
· Create abundant information and circulate it through existing and new channels (dedicated Web sites or Intranets).
· Develop simple reporting systems that can generate information quickly and broadcast it easily.
· Develop quality relationships as a top priority. Trust is the greatest asset.
· Support collaboration. Competition destroys capacity.
· Demolish boundaries and territories. Push for openness everywhere.
· Focus on creating new, streamlined processes/systems. There is no going back.

I would like to add one more, “Don’t force change, and rather create the conditions for change to take place.” I have often heard, ‘what we need around here are leaders who will drive change.” Leaders cannot drive change by themselves, just as I can’t stand on my deck next spring and order my garden to grow three inches every day. However, if I create an environment where the conditions are correct and I take an “active” part in nurturing it, there stands a pretty good chance that growth and change will happen in a predictable time frame.

When facing complex process/system problems, leaders need to create the conditions for the appropriate groups to come together that will identify the system interdependencies. Boundaries need to be removed and hierarchies mean nothing. Surrender control and create partnerships of shared responsibility. Abolish internal competition and support people in developing system wide solutions and contingencies that will ensure customer satisfaction.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Governor Says "Return to Learn Month" Helps Citizens Increase Earning Power, Grow State's Economy - qg says...

Governor Granholm Says "Return to Learn Month" Helps Citizens Increase Earning Power, Grow State's Economy

Full Government announcement at- Return to Learn Month

Governor Granholm has made doubling the number of college graduates in Michigan over the next decade a priority for her Administration, saying that to have a strong economy, Michigan must have the best-educated workforce in the country. The Cherry Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth, appointed by Granholm and led by Lt. Governor John Cherry, recommended increased outreach to the one out of four Michigan workers who have attended college but have not earned a degree.

“Our ‘Return to Learn’ campaign is really just getting started,” said Cherry. “These institutions have an ongoing commitment to welcoming back adult learners and giving them the support they need to finish their degrees.”

qualityg says… I applaud the Governor’s announcement and I would like to see each college/university listed to provide a link for their “Return to Learn Plan.” Surely this would provide the citizens a much-needed reference as to which institution satisfies their needs.

I called a number of the schools listed. 7 out of 10 had no idea what I was talking about. Perhaps I had the wrong department or a person that was not informed. My goal is not to embarrass anyone but to have the Governor’s state education department follow-up and post the links that I mentioned for each school.

What prompted me to post this blog is because I talked to some friends who are attending one of the schools listed. Part of the schools requirements is for the students to do 15 weeks of early childhood practicum as part of their degree. In order for this to happen one would have to take a leave from their job or quit so that they can get their degree. The school is not flexible in this manner and many have to put off getting their degree because they can’t afford to lose their job or pay for 2 ½ months.

I confirmed this by calling the university and stated that I was returning to school to finish my degree and what would be required. When told that I could not afford to lose my job and offered some alternative ways to do the practicum and still work the person did not budge and said it was a Departmental policy and take it up with the Dean (I plan on doing this soon). I know this is only one school and one department but this is just the opposite of what the Governor is stating in her announcement.

Additional announcements at the State Education Site that Parents, Educators and Administrators should take a look at include:

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Education --> Another Educational Milestone Reached

Saturday December 10, 2005 a major milestone was reached for qualityg jr and his Mother. It was special for both for different reasons. qg jr recieved his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Michigan State University and his Mother's dream of both of her children getting a college degree is half done. Daughter is doing great in her sophomore year and is on target for her degree in a few years.

Both have plans to pursue advanced degrees and jr has already applied to a number of universities.

qualityg is proud too, and welcomes his children into the life-long learning club. Now it is time to learn and apply, learn and apply, learn and apply…

qualityg says… Congrats to Harold S., Jose D., and Justin P., all good friends who also are graduating from MSU.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Education --> "School Stress" updated 12/8/05 - It's Grading Time - Has your "Joy of Learning" Been Deflated?

It’s everywhere, nothing but stress and more stress at school. I’m talking 2nd grade to 16. I’m sure K & 1st probably have stress but I only have applied experience with the grades mentioned.

State testing has completed in most schools, kids and teachers are getting more sleep since they don’t have to lay awake in bed worrying if their school and jobs are in jeopardy (at least until the scores come out). I heard one instructor state that they can now begin teaching, another one said I can teach “Time (clock)” to my class since it’s not important enough to be on the state test.

After class last week a number of my classmates stopped me and asked why I seem so calm. A number of presentations and project reports are due next week. My only response is “ I don’t believe in grades.” If I’m learning I’m happy. I am learning in this class from the instructor and from my classmates. I asked would they rather receive a “C” and learn valuable information or would they rather receive and “A” do little work and learn nothing (in college students search and wait for instructors who give out no learning and easy grades, even if it means they don't graduate that semester). They all chose the “A.” Responses included “My scholarship will be revoked if I don’t keep a “B” average” or “My parents will cut off my money supply.”

I have nothing more to say…

UPDATED 12/08/05


The above post was written a month ago. I ended it by saying I had nothing more to say. I'm not sure I can add to what I wrote but I can share what our higher education system continues to do each grading period.

Perhaps it’s the tears, or maybe it’s the body language that has left a person beat-up after a ten round fight. For the life of me I can’t believe the roadblocks, miscommunications, lack of standardization that is rampant in our educational system. In most cases the students have no recourse, end of class surveys and taking your case up the ladder meets resistance at every turn. Class sizes are so big that students who are not AAA type personalities get lost in the crowd of overachievers and orators.

Everyone talks the “WHAT,” but no one really gives the “HOW” until they recognize what it is there given is not correct. Believe it or not it is not just the students. Most instructors are bound by out-dated university rules that force them to utilize grading instruments that are as old as the old school house around the corner.

Grades do nothing but force every student in a class into the same square and hope they all fit through. Those that don’t are cast off and made to feel less than adequate. Grades impact so many students that are talented, bright and above all passionate that many change majors and life ambitions because of one stinking class/grade.

qualityg jr. had trouble in his freshman and sophomore years with math. He had two foreign instructors that made it very difficult to understand what was being written and stated in class. Efforts to get help from grad assistants were futile because of the long lines and 2-3 hour wait (very low grades in both classes). He changed his major and began a string of deans list that included retaking (more time and money) the two math classes that resulted in good grades from different instructors (same math classes). This happens all the time and students feel they have no recourse because of tenure and the administration that just doesn't believe this is a problem.

Where are the school psychologists, where are the counselors, advisors and mentors? I’m telling you right now you are not worth the grain of road salt I just drove over if you don’t start to understand “Variation” and “Systems Thinking.” Keep sitting in your offices, keep telling students that they can’t challenge the system and that’s just the way it is; will someone please tell me where I am wrong, give me some data, give me some facts, give me the truth and quit hiding behind your paychecks.

Maybe it’s the snow storm I just drove through to get home tonight, maybe it’s the faces I see that describe pain that they won’t keep their scholarship or they won’t get reimbursed by their employer or worse yet it’s the young student that tries to explain to their parents they are doing their best.

Please don’t misinterpret what I am writing, yes I know there are many cases where a student fails to learn the subject matter, but there is no way that they equal the amount of students depressed, exhausted and frightened about what will happen if they don’t get the grade that will grant them a degree or further their education by going to grad school.

Please read two earlier posts on the same subject:

State colleges your dogma is doo doo. and

Report Cards, Who is failing whom?


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Misc - Hard Times vs. Fight Club vs. Any Which Way But Loose

V.S. V.S.
This Misc post is a little out of the ordinary for qualityg but I promised some folks I would respond on my blog site.

qualityg got pulled into a discussion over the weekend about movies with bare knuckle fighting. Most of the group spoke of Clint Eastwood in "Every Which Way But Loose" and Brad Pitt in "Fight Club."

Having had two bare-knuckle encounters in a backroom of a cowboy bar in Arizona over 30 years ago I can tell you the best weapon is your head. One, if your opponent is stupid enough to hit the top of your head he will more than likely break his hands and two, use the head butt (in Detroit we call it the Bobo Brazil Coco Butt) when all else fails. I did it once and got disqualified. How and the heck do you get disqualified in that type of fight?

What my movie friends did not mention was the best BN movie of all and that was "Hard Times" with Charles Bronson. Set during the Depression Era in the 30's, Chaney (Bronson) enters New Orleans on a southbound freight train from nowhere. Broke and hungry (looking lean, leathery and mean) he immediately begins to look for a way to make some money doing what he does best, fight. Quickly proving himself to be a man to be reckoned with he hires a local down-on-his-luck gambler and promoter named 'Speed' (James Coburn) to set-up his fights. Dope addict and former med student Poe (Strother Martin) is also hired on as Chaney's "cut-man" and the three are off to make some fast money. What a trio!

Jill Ireland (Bronson's real-life wife) plays Bronson's love interest. As Chaney's reputation grows an eventual showdown looms on the horizon with the toughest, dirtiest fighter in town, Jim Henry (Robert Tessier).

The big money is within reach if Chaney is really as good as he thinks. Great performances by all. Bronson and Coburn are great together (both also appear together in The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape) and Strother Martin is, as always, one of the best character actors in American Films. As for Robert Tessier, well they just don't get any meaner then him. Truly one of the great bad guys of film (i.e., The Longest Yard, The Deep) with the best tattoos. Loved it when he broke Richard Kiel's nose in the longest yard.

Down goes Eastwood, his monkey and Pitt. Bronson in Hard Times is the best by far, check it out.