Section III
Specifying Improvement Options:
Connecting Interventions to the Past,
Present, and Future
Here’s the way a workplace performance improvement project
would be experienced by Wilber, the father in the family system
described earlier. Set aside, for the moment, his role in the family;
we will focus on his perspective when he is at work.
One Manager’s Perspective
Wilber is fully engaged with events at work, events that are already
occurring before a new project starts. He sees the executives going
off in all directions and doesn’t believe any of them really know how
the business works. (He might be right; he might be wrong; he just
does not know.)
Wilber is also worried about the international scene and about
all those politicians in Washington, D. C., and in the Ohio state
capital, Columbus, and in Cleveland Heights where he lives. The
politicians keep saying bad things about one another; Wilber
believes them all. Each one claims to have just the right prescription
for the future; Wilber doesn’t believe any of them. The prescriptions
are all compromises, forced to gain acceptance and “compromised”
in the pejorative sense: optimization over multiple time periods is
not one of the core competencies of most politicians. What is
worse, the compromises all seem to require higher taxes. Wilber
doesn’t see how he can afford to pay them out of the household
budget.
Wilber, even at work, is keenly aware of his role as head of a
family. (Wilma, at work, is also keenly aware of her role as head of
a family.) Wilber vaguely remembers all the trouble he got into
when he was just a little older than Tommy is now. He doesn’t know
whether to worry more about Tommy or about Tammy. Wilber wor-
ries about his health. His prostate is okay, but the last article he
read on the topic worries him. Besides that, Wilma is getting older,
too—well, you get the picture. Wilber has a lot on his plate before
this new project starts.

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