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Better Factories Through Role Playing

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the +1-or-better-to-hit-boss dept.

Businesses 160

pacopico writes "A former Ford executive has taken his unique brand of factory training to the public. According to Businessweek, Hossein Nivi has set up a new company called Pendaran that forces people to endure a week-long, manic training simulation that's meant to produce safer, better workers. The participants — lots of people from the tech and military fields — get yelled at by actors while they try to assemble things like golf carts and airplanes in a simulation that mixes virtual tasks on computers with real world tasks. After their spirits get broken, the workers actually start functioning as a well-oiled team. It sounds both awesome and bizarre."

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these people should be embarassed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313101)

they are lunatics and assholes

That does not sound awesome (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313115)

Getting yelled at until your spirit is broken? You think that sounds awesome?

This isn't new or unique, we've been whipping slaves as long as we've had them. Dehumanize people, then work them like animals. Woo hoo sign me up.

Re:That does not sound awesome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313219)

Getting yelled at until your spirit is broken? You think that sounds awesome?

This isn't new or unique, we've been whipping slaves as long as we've had them. Dehumanize people, then work them like animals.

Why not? It worked for the niggers & coons & jigaboos & porchmonkeys!

Woo hoo sign me up.

Are you black? Sure! I mean in your own language. Oooh yo, is u be afro-kan ameri-kan?!? Dat be rite yo!

A special language ebonics is. And absolutely not a gutter pidgin versin of uneducated ghetto English, nosirree!

Re:That does not sound awesome (4, Insightful)

black3d (1648913) | about a year ago | (#44313287)

Ya, same thought crossed my mind. Chain gangs work like a well-oiled machine too, once you've broken their spirits. I'm not sure why breaking people's spirit is considered "awesome". Submitter must be in management? Probably sounds awesome to them, since "workers" aren't really people after all..

Re:That does not sound awesome (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#44313437)

I'm not sure why breaking people's spirit is considered "awesome".

If you RTFA, you'd see that they break people of their independent streak.
By forcing them into shitty conditions and allowing them to fail over and over, flaws are exposed and eventually self-recognized
The psychological pressure is there just to speed up the process.

There's nothing special about this course, other than it's being done to white/blue collar workers instead of raw military recruits at boot camp.

Re:That does not sound awesome (5, Funny)

black3d (1648913) | about a year ago | (#44313671)

>If you RTFA

Heresy!

Re:That does not sound awesome (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#44313867)

Of course if you read reality into the lie, those people with and independent resistive streak, fail the course and are excluded from employment. Basically testing to ensure those people employed are meek, obedient and will accept abuse. That is all one week provides, the opportunity to exclude those not born to be slaves.

Re:That does not sound awesome (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44314329)

On the other hand, this is already done and has been for decades. It is called requiring a college degree. That's why it often doesn't matter what your degree is in or if it is related to the job -- just having the degree proves that you can sit down and shut up and do what you're told and buy into the institution for four or five years straight.

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314663)

I'm sorry your degree wasn't valuable but I personally learned a ton in college. I gained a lot of mental toughness having to endure such a heavy workload and a part time job and try to juggle my personal life. I wouldn't want to go through it again, but I wouldn't be where I am today without it. Anybody who knows me will tell you I'm not a "sit down and shut up" kind of guy.

Re:That does not sound awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314739)

> I'm sorry your degree wasn't valuable

That's not what was posted. Sorry your degree wasn't valuable enough to retain your basic english skills.

Re:That does not sound awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314731)

It sounds like you went to a very different college than I did, or you have sour grapes.

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#44314079)

Some people are unbreakable..and that's because they've spent most of their lives in situations like this course, being mistreated and manipulated. There is such a thing as going too far to save a buck as it can cause more damage than it fixes. While some people might benefit from this course, others could be made more resistant to hierarchy.. It's usually the latter who are actually smart enough to not need the training and who are the better employees. This 'course' is a one-size-fits-all attempt at weeding out those who do not fit management's 68-pieces-of-flair, square peg for square hole picture of their 'ideal' employee. This results in companies who have mediocre culture, products, and profit...like ford.

Re:That does not sound awesome (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44314341)

This sort of effort is likely to turn an otherwise hard worker with a great work ethic who just happens to think for themselves instead of being an obedient sheep into someone who plays along on the outside, but harbors a seething hatred on the inside and therefore constantly sabotaged and undermines your system at every turn they can.

Re:That does not sound awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314657)

Holy crap. You just described me. I'm filled with a little pride, but mostly shame.

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44314315)

If you can't see the problem with what you just described . . . .

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about a year ago | (#44314465)

Most people can't and never could.

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#44314401)

They do this in the Army and it works great.

Until you realize what a buerocratic juggernaut the army is, and how its fraught with waste, ineffeciencies, miscommunication, very rarely works with great co-ordination as a whole. To the point is a joke.

Thinking for oneself never gets further than thinking on how to cheat the buerocracy or advance further. Technical correctness is admired, while failure to achieve broader goals is often met with amusement, because you can hide behind the buerocratic tape of "its above my pay-grade", when you are fully capable of understanding the situation, and "I was not trained/its not my job", when you are clearly capable.

It generates mounds of paper, where you can "prove" your effeciency as a CYA. Soliders develop effecient rules and the ability to Cover Your Ass, by staying in strictly defined boundries.

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#44314783)

This sounds about right.

There are times when this instinct to work together and sacrifice personal agenda and initiative is useful. Times of crisis, ins war zone or natural disaster for instance. Any other time and its counterproductive. You lose all the best qualities of people and merely suppress the worst.

Well defined boundaries are good for children until they are ready to explore beyond them. Mature adults have already been through this.

Re:That does not sound awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313373)

Getting yelled at until your spirit is broken? You think that sounds awesome?

This isn't new or unique, we've been whipping slaves as long as we've had them. Dehumanize people, then work them like animals. Woo hoo sign me up.

Employee law suites in 3...2...1.....>AWESOME

Re:That does not sound awesome (5, Interesting)

CODiNE (27417) | about a year ago | (#44313457)

That's what the summary makes it sound like, but that's not actually what they're doing.

The workers have access to help, safety information, proper procedures, etc...

Instead of using their resources to work correctly and efficiently they do what people tend to do which is ignore all the rules and safety training as much as possible until disaster strikes.

The course simulates disaster striking when procedures aren't followed. By forcing an instantaneous cause/effect environment they're making the workers see the effects of their actions. They fight and they fight until after a few days they stop running around cleaning up their messes and start to check the rules and do things the right way in the first place.

Yeah it's a bit pavlovian, but it's not crushing anyone's spirit, it's teaching them personal responsibility.

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

causality (777677) | about a year ago | (#44313757)

Yeah it's a bit pavlovian, but it's not crushing anyone's spirit, it's teaching them personal responsibility.

So it's an instant quick-fix band-aid remedy for poor parenting?

Re:That does not sound awesome (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314273)

So it's an instant quick-fix band-aid remedy for poor parenting?

Ah, no. They're still going to overeat till obesity, create a couple kids with multiple spouses, run up loads of debt with 3rd and 4th mortgages, vote for whomever promises the most bennies, watch way too much sports and "reality" TV and generally make the world around them decline as rapidly as possible.

They just won't make as many oil spills at work.

Re:That does not sound awesome (2)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#44314887)

This. The summary was sensationalized, probably to stoke just such a "discussion" as above. Which is too bad because the TFA provides plenty of fodder without embellisment.

While coping with stressful situations is a valuable skill to be teaching the workforce, I found it a bit ironic that one of the things the trainees were criticised for was not working to find the root causes of problems by cleaning up oil slicks instead of finding out how to prevent them, while apparently the management that sent these trainees into this program are content to teach their workers to deal with chaos instead of engineering it off the manufactoring floor.

Also as with any such program that may appeal with to the prejudices of management, this procedure should probably be evaluated against similar techniques in an objective and impartial fashion.

Re:That does not sound awesome (2, Interesting)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#44313469)

Depends. An awful lot of people really do need to have some fears, insecurities, and other walls broken down in order to really reach their potential. Without that, whenever something bad happens to them, like actually getting yelled at, or missing a deadline, or whatever, they just revert back to the good old human standard of denial and blaming others. Because that's what we do when confronted with something we aren't used to or comfortable with.

It's kind of like how anyone who wants to get into boxing will have to learn to take a punch, at some point. Doesn't matter how good you are, if you fall apart with a single punch to the face, you'll never go anywhere. Sounds like they're roleplaying social versions of punches to the face.

Re:That does not sound awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314289)

Not quite. It can work when voluntary (implying the person is psychologically ready) for *some* phobias that can be gradually reproduced in situations where the person won't experience additional stress/pain as a result. OTOH if the person is forced to experience it before they're ready, or if the exposure is done in an environment where they feel additionally stressed/upset/hurt, then the best you'll see is short-term "progress" made just to escape the simulation -- possibly with a few additional phobias thanks to the experience.

Also, in the case of things like being verbally yelled at, the person is extremely unlikely to respond well to just being exposed to it over-and-over, particularly if the person's reacting due to past mistreatment or abuse. The best therapy in those cases is to help the person gain the "tools" they need to deal with the situation assertively, including being able to tell the other individual to tone it down.

This is all extremely different from a *non-phobic* person that is a bit afraid of a potentially unpleasant aspect of an activity they really want to do, like learning to fall off of a horse safely or putting their face in the water for swimming. Those people don't have a phobia in the first place, they're just nervous that it might be harmful/unpleasant.

Re:That does not sound awesome (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44313713)

Sounds like an MMO raid to me.

Re:That does not sound awesome (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44314309)

I read about how this is how adoptive parents used to (or maybe still do?) get their adopted children to depend upon and bond with their new parents. After adoption, they put the children through intense emotional drama and sort of force a "rebirth". Fortunately, it is now considered to be child abuse. Same theory applies, I think, though.

Companies show no loyalty to employees anymore, yet employees often feel this strange sense of obligated loyalty to their employers (I'm not averse to this, myself, either). So this makes this whole thing even sicker.

I suppose it's not too different from the military, where they break you down during the first couple of months and then rebuild you into an unquestioning, obeying, fighting machine.

The only difference being, of course, that you sign away a lot of your freedom when you join the military and you're going to be fighting against life and death. You're not looking to stick tab A in slot B for eight hours a day in a guy's business to feed your family

Re:That does not sound awesome (4, Interesting)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#44314483)

and the army, and the nation as a whole show some degree of loyalty back. The military is hardly a commericial outfit looking for exploit you for your labor.

You can't get fired from the army, unless your convicted of a crime, generally pretty severe one too.

Everyone gets no-cost healthcare. To include prescriptions.

Probably the most proggressive pay-rating system in the entire country. Generals make a tiny fraction of what corporate officers make with similar amount of employees and/or responsibility, by a far margin. Enlisted make far more than their unskilled labor equivilants. When you talk about skilled labor, and total compensation, its about even with skilled labor.

Not only is management pay more proportial, its also decided in a much more fair method, and its also far more transparent. Its all listed online in an easy to read convienant format, here from the official DFAS(defense finance and accounting services):
http://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/militarypaytables.html

Essentially your base pay is decided by what your rank is on one axis, and how long been in the military on the other axis. Everyone gets the same base pay, regardless of race, gender, back room deals, how well they know top brass, etc...

Also, you get special pays for doing things like being various kinds of doctor, sea pay, being on jump status, hazardous duty pay, combat pay, and other special bonuses for doing special, but important roles. These pays are generally flat rate, and listed on the same pay chart. All completely transparant.

No-cost housing, formerly no-cost, but now dirt cheap meals provided, and subsidized shopping at the PX.

There are many hazerous jobs, that you could die, loose a limb, or otherwise get critically injured. There is no job that the general public will do more to help you for on the job injuries. The people who experiment with robotic limbs, give soliders who lost them the first pick, over cops, construction, deep sea fishers, demolition workers, and even other potentially more dangerous work. The army wil also pay in full any injuries you get while serving them.

After the army breaks you down, and makes you into a fighting machine, they are not going to just kick you to the curb after got all they could from you. Corporate America will.

But I agree, apples to oranges, you can't compare federal service to private employement.

Or we could, you know... (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44313123)

just pay them better and give them better health benefits. But using military grade training and manipulation techniques works too I guess...

Re:Or we could, you know... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313229)

Better idea: build the factory in China where people appear at the door with pre-broken spirits.

Why is anyone trying to figure out how to get Westerners to work well together in a factory?

Oh that... (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44313413)

until we have robots to build and run the tanks and jets that run our military industrial complex and enforce the will and desires of large corporations we still need a few factories. That's why we keep bailing out the auto industry. If we ever go to war for real you can't just build that stuff overnight. Wish I was joking...

Re:Oh that... (1)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year ago | (#44313919)

I wish you were joking too. I actually hadn't thought of that as an underlying reason to bail out the auto industry. I thought they just wanted to steal more of my money; I see now they may have killed two birds with one stone.

Re:Oh that... (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year ago | (#44313971)

can't moderate, but +1 insightful from me.

Re:Or we could, you know... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313251)

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Re:Or we could, you know... (2)

brainboyz (114458) | about a year ago | (#44313277)

Given how shitty American-built cars tend to be despite great pay and benefits, I think the training and manipulation might work better.

American Cars are fine now (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44313427)

Europe's a big enough market that we started building them a bit better. Mostly because it was too expensive to run one production line for crap American Cars and one for Decent Euro cars. They're not great, but they'll do 140,000 miles.

Re:American Cars are fine now (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44314727)

Europe's a big enough market that we started building them a bit better. Mostly because it was too expensive to run one production line for crap American Cars and one for Decent Euro cars. They're not great, but they'll do 140,000 miles.

The problem with trying to break into Europe is extreme protectionism. No barriers between Germany and France, but between Germany and anywhere outside the EU is a 25% tax barrier.

This is why Europeans have to get a Euro car that does 200,000 K's instead of a Japanese car that does 500,000 K's (I sold my EK Civic at 300,000 K's, if the next owner takes care of it it'll run for another 300,000 K's, hell if he runs it into the ground it'll reach 400,000 K's before it dies).

It's also why Ford has different cars for USDM and EUDM (US Domestic Market and EU Domestic Market) because to be competitive Ford have to manufacture the car in the EU so to make it cheaper they use smaller engines, less features as standard. ADM (Australian) and USD cars are closer despite being RHD to LHD.

Re:Or we could, you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313429)

Thats due to the last in first out method used in auto companies.

Re:Or we could, you know... (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about a year ago | (#44313565)

Really? Which ones? Once upon a time that may well have been true, but you can buy a pretty decent car from anyone nowadays, even the British.(*)

Also, said great pay and benefits are no longer available in many cases. People who were grandfathered in may still have them but the people joining up now certainly don't.

(*) FYI, Gung Ho [wikipedia.org] wasn't intended as a documentary.

Re:Or we could, you know... (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#44314143)

There isn't such a thing a 100% American built car.

Most cars perceived as being built in America are mostly made in Mexico.

Re:Or we could, you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314651)

Mexico is an American country (just like the US).

Re:Or we could, you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313289)

We tried that. Then the State Department and successive administrations signed one trade agreement after another and the jobs evacuated to Asia making domestic workers expensive and fungible.

Re:Or we could, you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314339)

pay them better and give them better health benefits

My hysterical laughter and weeping might be bringing the cops to check on me soon, if my neighbors are home to have heard it, but before they get here, I just have to let you know how fucking stupidly unrealistic that statement sounds in the year 2013 in the USA.

Re:Or we could, you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314781)

I believe wholeheartedly in paying people properly and in health care - but I also have to say that from my experience, that most definitely DOES NOT equal better or smarter or more motivated employees. Hell it doesn't even give you a shot at sober ones.

like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313167)

I used to be a worker like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.

I'm a level 14 welder! (2)

kwiqsilver (585008) | about a year ago | (#44313257)

Oh...is that not what they meant by role playing? I guess the dice could pose a safety hazard on the factory floor.

Re:I'm a level 14 welder! (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44313677)

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

Re:I'm a level 14 welder! (3, Funny)

Absolutely.Geek (2913529) | about a year ago | (#44314119)

Level 14 welder......but you still take orders from a level 2 manager with an intelligence score of 9....

How much does it cost? (4, Interesting)

hedgemage (934558) | about a year ago | (#44313261)

Sure, it may work, despite the dubious methodology, but who is actually going to pay to have their workers go through this? Since the bubble days of the 90's, training is an area that has been eliminated from virtually all budgets in favor of hiring only 'experienced' workers. No organization wants to pay for training anymore even when there is a shortage of experienced labor. I worked for a chip manufacturer that in the early-mid 90's put new production staff through a MONTH of 8-hour-a-day classroom training before they even got into the fabrication facility. After a couple years, it was down to 3 weeks, then 2, then 1, then layoffs. The modern management culture says that there is a limitless pool of cheap, experienced labor, so why train?

Re:How much does it cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313365)

From TFA:

Lasley’s company, Edw. C. Levy Co., helps steel companies turn slag material into cement, road paving, and other products. It has sent a few dozen people through the Pendaran program and noted a 60 percent to 70 percent safety improvement among those teams, which translated into a $1 million annual savings from higher productivity. Now the company looks to put the majority of its 1,800 people through the course. “The first three days may be the worst thing you can imagine, but then the clouds part and real change happens,” Lasley says.

You might try and RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314993)

The example company ran a few dozen people through it, causing quite a bit in savings. Apparently enough so that the rest will be sent through too. Pays for itself then, see?

The Marine Corps Called... (5, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | about a year ago | (#44313269)

After their spirits get broken, the workers actually start functioning as a well-oiled team. It sounds both awesome and bizarre.

This has otherwise been known as "Boot Camp" or "Basic Training" for generations of soldiers.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44313385)

Attempts to apply military methods to civilian business tend to fail dramatically, because:

1. Business is not war.

2. Corporations are not armies.

3. Corporate imitations of military training are almost invariably done by and for spoiled brat MBA types who love to think of themselves as macho warriors, but wouldn't last five minutes humping a pack and a rifle.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (4, Interesting)

Ignacio (1465) | about a year ago | (#44313433)

1. Business is not war.

It's (generally) bloodless and unarmed, but the basics are all there.

2. Corporations are not armies.

Would it really be such a bad thing to view them as such?

3. Corporate imitations of military training are almost invariably done by and for spoiled brat MBA types who love to think of themselves as macho warriors, but wouldn't last five minutes humping a pack and a rifle.

So then have them go through the training as well. The top military had to go through it to get where they are, so why not the top corporate?

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313795)

1. Business is not war.

It's (generally) bloodless and unarmed, but the basics are all there.

2. Corporations are not armies.

Would it really be such a bad thing to view them as such?

Yes, it would be such a bad thing. If you make living together in society a zero-sum conflict game, you get hell, not society.

3. Corporate imitations of military training are almost invariably done by and for spoiled brat MBA types who love to think of themselves as macho warriors, but wouldn't last five minutes humping a pack and a rifle.

So then have them go through the training as well. The top military had to go through it to get where they are, so why not the top corporate?

The macho MBAs would love to go through that training themselves. They would get a chance to be the big tough bullies they are, on a playing field designed in their favor. Just like they are always on.

This type of technique fundamentally does not work. There are proven ways to build a team. This method is designed to make people passively obedient from fear - as others have suggested, to make a slave workforce. Using these techniques in a real military from necessity is a completely different matter, despite the scarcity of anything resembling a 'just war'.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (1)

Ignacio (1465) | about a year ago | (#44314017)

2. Corporations are not armies.

Would it really be such a bad thing to view them as such?

Yes, it would be such a bad thing. If you make living together in society a zero-sum conflict game, you get hell, not society.

You say that as though modern life isn't already a zero-sum game, both on the individual and on the societal level.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44314137)

You say that as though modern life isn't already a zero-sum game, both on the individual and on the societal level.

Nonsense. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of wars world-wide has fallen to an historic low, and economic growth has grown to historic highs. Since 2000, trade has flourished and the world economy has grown more than 4% annually. That is better then ever before in history. War has winners and losers. But with peace, we can all prosper, and it is not "zero-sum".

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (1)

Ignacio (1465) | about a year ago | (#44314311)

"Prosperity" is not created out of thin air. Something must be given up in order to attain it. That you are not the only one that had to give something up for it is irrelevant.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year ago | (#44314299)

If you make living together in society a zero-sum conflict game, you get hell, not society.

Wars tend to be negative-sum games.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (2)

tragedy (27079) | about a year ago | (#44313805)

So then have them go through the training as well. The top military had to go through it to get where they are, so why not the top corporate?

The top military are officers, not enlisted men. While enlisted soldiers can later go through officer's training, or even be promoted in extraordinary circumstances in wartime, generally military organizations aren't actually absolute meritocracies that promote people in stages all the way from the bottom to the top. Not that officers don't go through their own tough training, but some of the expectations are fundamentally different.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44314983)

So then have them go through the training as well. The top military had to go through it to get where they are, so why not the top corporate?

The top military are officers, not enlisted men. While enlisted soldiers can later go through officer's training, or even be promoted in extraordinary circumstances in wartime, generally military organizations aren't actually absolute meritocracies that promote people in stages all the way from the bottom to the top. Not that officers don't go through their own tough training, but some of the expectations are fundamentally different.

This,

With all three branches of (Australia's) military you can enlist as a regular soldier (seaman or airman) or as an officer. Regulars can be promoted or can opt to officer training (you'll need your CO's approval though). I.E. A regular enters the navy as a seaman an officer enters the academy as a Midshipman and is promoted to Acting Sub Lieutenant when they graduate. For a Seaman to get to Acting Sub Lieutenant without going through the academy (Read: on merit) they need to go through the NCO and warrant officer ranks but usually they still need to go to the academy.

Which is nothing like business where you get promoted for brown-nosing more than merit.

BTW, our military ranking system comes from the olden times (I.E. before the US even existed as a nation) when officers were aristocracy and soldiers were commoners and the two never intermingled. Even in the Napoleonic wars raising an officer from the ranks was considered very controversial. However over the decades/centuries the system has evolved into a "mostly meritocracy" (although in many 3rd world nations, the armies are still very nepotistic).

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313823)

1. War is hell
2. Everyone has to work

If corporations are allowed to pretend business is war, then logically, we will all be in hell every day until we retire or die.

Chicago let business and war mix for a while in the twenties. Ask them how that worked out.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44314253)

It's (generally) bloodless and unarmed, but the basics are all there.

No they're not. Not even close. The defining aspect of war is two (or more) large armed groups trying to kill each other. Not in the metaphorical "we're going to kill the competition" way, but in the actual piles-of-corpses, starving-refugees, survivors-crippled-for-life way. If you think that's what business looks like, it's because you have no idea what war looks like, and I envy you your ignorance.

The other basics of military life, like honor, discipline, and mutual respect? Only if you're very, very lucky. Since getting out of the service, I've worked for a couple of businesses that had these, and far more that didn't. Most other veterans will tell you the same. To be sure, there are compensations--even if I were physically up to it, I'd rather live my civilian life than be back in uniform, all in all--but in those aspects, the military world has the business world beat all to hell.

Other posters have already addressed your other points. I urge you to read what they wrote carefully.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314403)

My father-in-law went in as an Electronics Tech and retired as a Lt Col. Of course, this is in Canada.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#44314755)

So then have them go through the training as well. The top military had to go through it to get where they are, so why not the top corporate?

Because the Marines are under the direct command of the government, and the corporate heads are those steering the wheels of government. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (2)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44314925)

It's (generally) bloodless and unarmed, but the basics are all there.

Not really, it's more like politics (lots of talking, some shouting but nothing ever gets done). MBA's like to pretend that business is war because it makes them feel like important generals, not just the douchebag with a nice suite they really are.

Business is not war precisely because it lacks the destruction and death that acompanies war. Even cold wars claim 1000's of lives.

Would it really be such a bad thing to view them as such?

Do you really need to ask that question?

In the mid 20th century we had corporations who practically had armies, we called it Fascism. In the modern day, we call them Mafia's.

So then have them go through the training as well

Yeah right. Good luck with that. They'll never do it.

This kind of "training" is only for the workers. Managers are exempt.

Re:The Marine Corps Called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314365)

Sun Tzu's Art of War is considered classic business literature in Chinese culture. What does that tell you?

Be a machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313279)

Pretending to be a cog in the machine instead of a human being helps reduce humanity related inefficiencies.

I'll just wait for the robots: they are way better than pretending to be robots.

Oh, bullshit. (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44313323)

The Pendaran method, designed to force participants to rise above chaos and develop problem-solving techniques, is diametrically opposed, a sort of indictment of Six Sigma and other beloved corporate training regimes.

No, it's just yet another stupid "corporate training regime" designed to separate MBAs from their and everyone else's money. Which wouldn't be a problem, except for the "everyone else" part--companies actually spend money on this kind of crap instead of on things like, you know, salary and benefits for the people who actually do the work that keeps the company in business. And there are more and more of these parasites infecting the corporate world every year, which ought to be enough to convince the Invisible Hand cultists that maybe there's something wrong with their cherished idea that the market weeds out inefficient management ... except they're all too busy congratulating themselves on buying into the latest bullshit fad to pay attention.

Re:Oh, bullshit. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44313397)

Commie. My skepticism about the invisible hand totally fucking vanished when I learned that I could spend other people's money to pay it to give me invisible handjobs.

Clearly, you are just a envy-driven agent of class warfare and collectivism.

Re:Oh, bullshit. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44313421)

Okay, you caught me. Guess I'll have to find some other group of running-dog lackeys to subvert to the cause of the glorious peoples' revolution of the international brotherhood of the proletariat. ;)

Re:Oh, bullshit. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#44313461)

No, it's just yet another stupid "corporate training regime" designed to separate MBAs from their and everyone else's money.

FTFA

Lasleyâ(TM)s company, Edw. C. Levy Co., helps steel companies turn slag material into cement, road paving, and other products. It has sent a few dozen people through the Pendaran program and noted a 60 percent to 70 percent safety improvement among those teams, which translated into a $1 million annual savings from higher productivity. Now the company looks to put the majority of its 1,800 people through the course. âoeThe first three days may be the worst thing you can imagine, but then the clouds part and real change happens,â Lasley says.

Injuries and safety violations are measurable metrics.

Actually teaching people how to work as a team is not bullshit.
Bullshit is when a program claims to teach teamwork, but doesn't.

Re:Oh, bullshit. (1)

tragedy (27079) | about a year ago | (#44313829)

So, they sent a few dozen people through the program and got a $1 million annual savings out of it. So we're talking what? $20,000 to $40,000 savings per person? Just how many accidents are these people getting into in the first place? Frankly, it sounds like hyperbole or fishy accounting to me.

Re:Oh, bullshit. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44314301)

Every con man trying to sell you on the latest management fad will show you "measurable metrics" (and will often use silly phrases just like that) to prove that their Latest And Greatest will make things better. Which means, of course, that last year's Latest And Greatest, and the one from the year before that, and the year before that, are all bullshit--but this Latest And Greatest is the real deal! Trust me! We've got metrics!

Whatever. As a statistician, I smell cherry-picking. And it's amazing how easily you can pick a few cherries out of a big pile of bullshit, if you're willing to dig long enough.

Re:Oh, bullshit. (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#44313997)

instead of on things like, you know, salary and benefits for the people who actually do the work that keeps the company in business

In the past ten years, my hourly pay (with the same company) has literally quadrupled.

Has my work improved because of this? No, not at all: I'm still the same asshole as before. I just know more stuff than I used to, and I'm more expensive than I used to be.

But having been through the Army's basic training at Fort Gordon, I can see the merit of breaking people down: At the beginning of basic, I knew that I already knew everything. Soon after, it was proven to me that I actually knew nothing*. And toward the end, I began to realize that I did know some things, and that I could learn more, and that I was physically fit to make those things happen.

It was toward the end that our unit started acting cohesively and supportively, automatically, even though few of us had anything in common.

(Which, I think, probably happened right on schedule.)

*: It was around this same time that a drill sgt. said to us "Pushups make you -smarter-." It turned out that he was right.

Re:Oh, bullshit. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44314363)

Rather than repeat myself, I'll just say that I give my reasons for rejecting the idea that this will reap any of the same benefits as military basic training does here [slashdot.org] . Short version: business isn't war, and the corporate world's half-assed attempts to play soldier are doomed to failure.

wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313329)

It sounds awesome? wtf happened to /.?

more simulation / hands on training is needed all (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44313349)

more simulation / hands on training is needed all over.

Six Sigma and other beloved corporate training regimes. are seem to be that PHB stuff run by people who don't know much about the real work.

yea but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313363)

works great until an employee an-hero's himself and everyone around him from the stress

Breaking their spirit (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about a year ago | (#44313383)

"After their spirits get broken, the workers actually start functioning as a well-oiled team."

I'm pretty sure that after how corporations have been treating workers for the last couple of decades, and especially during the past five years, any spirits the workers have don't need much to be broken.

Re:Breaking their spirit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313845)

I'm pretty sure that after how corporations have been treating workers for the last couple of decades

That's because you're an idiot. The low-stakes office politics and benign indifference you're thinking of is child's play. The soviets gave people tenners (ten years in a gulag) for being on the wrong side of a boss and showing up late once too often.

Re:Breaking their spirit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313903)

I don't have politics. I work for eight hours while a computer clocks my performance and emails my boss if I don't perform as expected. The only changes they have ever implemented have made my life worse, more depressing, and more difficult to escape.

Re:Breaking their spirit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313973)

Uh, no, they didn't. Fuck off with your bullshit hyperbole.

...military crap... there's better methods (5, Interesting)

Mirar (264502) | about a year ago | (#44313519)

I believe I did this in the military, in the basic training (you know, the part where a drill sergeant shouts at you a lot).

It was called "team building exercises".

It did wonders to make us see all officers as idiots.

Sure, it also made us help each other along the exercises and get to see the worst sides of each other. But I don't think it made us a more lean team. Really not worth the cost of how much we learned to hate the military and it's idiots.

Doing that kind of crap to team up factory workers? Eh.

Send them out on a week long survival course (one where you actually learn something and get to enjoy the nature) or even better, have them team up in paintball teams for a week. Or build fighting robots together, why not, without the shouting.
Don't even have to involve actors. That would be enough to have them work together as a team, and they wouldn't actually hate the bosses' guts for the rest of their life.

Only idiots deserve to get shouted at. Ever.

Arbeit macht frei (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44313589)

Over the factory gates.

Dad? (2)

d'baba (1134261) | about a year ago | (#44313611)

Is that you?

Sounds like every other factory.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44313731)

This comes from people that never worked within an assembly line, which is basically "shut up and do your work, youre not paid for thinking here". In case there is a problem it is usually your fault because no one would expect that there are faulty parts. With that being presented hours or days later after you finished that work trying to tell what went wrong is like trying to tell what you had for breakfast 5 weeks ago - depending on the lines speed. The fun starts when someone created a bogus report that mixed any possible source in a single keyword and tells you it was all your fault.

Where is that different from being yelled at by some actor? Managers in factories are not payed for their job, they receive a fee per convincing performance.

Hazing? (1)

tragedy (27079) | about a year ago | (#44313853)

I've always wondered about these sorts of worker training programs. The boot camps, the firewalking, paintball, etc. If they're mandatory, how are they not a form of hazing?

They should try this in Italy (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year ago | (#44313949)

fortunately we have universal healthcare, so the "trainers" wouldn't get a big bill on top of the beating.

Holy hits batman (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year ago | (#44314025)

Parent managed to get Role Playing, manic, simulation, broken, and well-oiled into one article. Google is going to be sending some seriously confused people to this article.

From the Desk of Linus Torvalds (5, Funny)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about a year ago | (#44314041)

" After their spirits get broken, the workers actually start functioning as a well-oiled team"

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

L Torvalds

Re:From the Desk of Linus Torvalds (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44314361)

The first thing to make me laugh, all day. :D

Re:From the Desk of Linus Torvalds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314859)

Sadly I read /. enough to understand your humor LOL

Factory training could be more realistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314229)

1) Make everything as boring as possible to the point of snoring
2) Run a truly impressive blonde secretary on a random errand through the factory floor every now and then
3) Watch the mistakes and accidents

?) Profit

Re:Factory training could be more realistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314869)

I work in fashion retail. There are at least 500 hot 20 something girls in this office. It's a minor miracle any of the straight guys get a single thing done.

Wouldn't trade it for any other job.

Er.. (3)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#44314303)

>After their spirits get broken, the workers actually start functioning as a well-oiled team.

You should know you can learn to work as a well oiled team without breaking anyone's spirits.
Usually it involves good communication, clear roles, sensible motivation structures and weeding out the dickheads.

Re:Er.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314871)

> and weeding out the dickheads.

That's the most important part right there. Then once you finally figure out who the non-dickheads are, you pay them decently and give them benefits. Not exactly what unions want to do, or even most companies, but in reality, its the fair way to do things, and the most effective.

seems familiar (1)

kallen3 (171792) | about a year ago | (#44314395)

sounds an awful lot like military basic training.

How is this revolutionary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44314413)

This just describes the standard stages of team building:

Storming : total chaos, no one knows who's in charge, roles, etc...

Forming: The team starts to coalesce and the goals start to be realized

Norming: You've reached equilibrium and the team is formed, work is near optimum for the team barring outside enhancers (more training, etc...)

Reforming: Oscillation between norming/reforming barring, again, outside influences as new projects/priorities disrupt the norming but which quickly resettle back as they've moved beyond the storming/forming (or it can looked at as these stages happen so quickly for an already normed team that they are just one stage perturbation.)

The only thing that I see as inovative is the actual hands on long term role playing aspect of it.

-rs

Sounds reasonable (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44314729)

Take away someones humanity and you take away human error?

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