Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PencilWhipping

The phrase "pencil whipping" is old expression often used in discussing fancy footwork when it comes to accounting practices.  It can also apply to a lot of organizational behaviors meant to create falsified or questionable data.  

Fundamentally, it's the egregious practice of the let's-don't-but-say-we-did syndrome.  Huh?  Examples, you ask?  Here goes:

  • Keeping sign-in sheets for staff each morning to provide proof that everyone showed up on time.
  • Tying commissions to new sales only, thus incentivizing sales staff to chase new customers and disregard old (and faithful) ones.
  • Crafting survey questions in such a way that they only provide the data responses that can be portrayed as favorable.
  • Posting a sign on the inside of the door of your public restroom to prove it's cleanliness, though any casual observance will clearly reveal otherwise. 
  • Developing padded up budgets with innocuous sounding line items to hide expenditure plans.
You get the idea.  The list could go on and on.  Those of us who have worked in organizations of any size could continue to add to this list of absurdities that serve as falsifiers of reality.

To what end?  Such acts and initiatives never serve the organization, or its membership, well.

TRUTH is a fundamental metric of health, whether personal or organizational.  Denial, or outright deceit, are symptoms of deep-seated dysfunction or illness.

Our habits, our behaviors, belie our intentions.  Always.

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