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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 01:15pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1436 of 1444) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

From the Preface to STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE: Logical Incrementalism by J. B. Quinn ........... 1980

"In recent years, three disturbing tendencies have developed in formal planning within major enterprises:

"First, planning activities in such enterprises often become bureacratised, rigid, and costly paper-shuffling exercises divorced from actual decision processes. In many organizations their primary impacts have been: (a) to expand the scope of capital and operational budgeting procedures, (b) to extend formal performance measurement to new activity areas, and thus (c) to achieve greater centralized control over operations. Instead of stimulating creative options, innovation, or entrepreneurship, formal planning often has become just another aspect of controllership - and another weapon in organizational politics.

"'Second," most important strategic decisions seem to be made outside of the formal planning structure, even in organizations with well-accepted planning cultures. .......(this is true in both small organizatons, and well run large ones -- "illogical" as it sometimes may seem. )

"Third, much of the management literature and technique associated with planning has concentrated on developing more sophisticated models of a system that is not working the way the model builders think it is - or should be -- operating.

" Properly integrated into other decision and political processes, formal planning can make many important contributions to effective management of large enterprises and avoid many of the rigidities suggested above. But often this requires a very different approach than that recommended in much of the management literature.

" Instead of following rigidly prescribed formal planning practices, this book suggests that managers in major enterprises tend to develop their most important strategies through processes that neither formal planning paradigms nor power-behavioral theories adequately explain. Such managers consciously and proactively move forward incrementally:

" 1. To improve the quality of information utilized in corporate strategic decisions.

" 2.. To cope with the varying lead times, pacing parameters, and sequencing needs of the subsystems through which such decisions tend to be made.

" 3. To deal with the personal resistance and political pressures any important strategic change encounters.

" 4. To build the organizational awareness, understanding, and psychological committment needed for effective implementation.

" 5. To decrease the uncertainty surrounding such decisions by allowing for interactive learning between the enterprise and its various impinging environments. ( This increases a .)

" 6. To improve the quality of the strategic decisions themselves by systematically involving those with most specific knowledge, by obtaining the participation of those who must carry out the decisions, and by avoiding premature momenta to closure which could lead the decisions in improper directions. (Or cause a good idea to fail, because it wasn't adequately supported -- something that happened to some good ideas in the USSR, as it happens elsewhere.)

For Putin's initiatives on anything to work at all, he must carry his organization with him -- he must proceed, in significant degree, incrementally. And the quality of the information and information processing in the feedbacks involved is CRUCIAL.

So misjudgements and lies are expensive. And too much complication itself is expensive. Einstein's guidance is good here: A good strategy, like a good theory, should be

"as simple as possible, but not simpler."

rshowalter - 01:18pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1437 of 1444) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

That means that Putin's initiatives have to be powerful, few enough, and basically SIMPLE.

And he needs the people under him to have high levels of skill, in actually doing their jobs, including their communication jobs.

He has to have a team that works well together not according to the standards imitated from another culture, but according to their own standards, judged in terms of the values of the culture itself, and objective imperatives built into socio-technical circumstances.

Peace, if it is to work at all, has to have some essentail core traits that are simple.

rshowalter - 01:26pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1438 of 1444) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

rshowalter 3/23/01 7:58pm

"If Putin had staffers who were clear about how un-Russian these books are, and how they are un-Russian, and if these staffers could discuss these differences with the authors in a mutually satisfactory way (and there are plenty of other very un-Russian books that could be discussed as well), Russian negotiating skills would be better, interfaces in business and other dealings would be better, and a would shift up.

"The discussions would be no good, except as practice, unless they happened for free, as status exchanges, and only then if, after the discussion, both sides thought the discussion had been worth the trouble.

This is a logically incremental approach, for gathering information, for building and testing necessary skills, and for building the provisional kinds of trust complex cooperation takes.

Also an approach for team building.

Also for building trust, and information gathering contacts that work, across a cultural divide that can't be eliminated, but that needs to be bridged for defined, limited, business-like purposes. For both sides.

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