competent executive, You have a crack team of top management executives
vying for Your attention.
Let's take a peek
inside Your Executive Suite and meet some of the members of this exclusive
club, shall we?
First stop on
our tour is the office of Your Operational Brain. Your Operational
Brain is the Scotty of your personal Starship Enterprise. You,
strangely, are Captain Kirk, and my don't you look dashing in that
silly polyester outfit. You are hilarious, You are lovable, You inspire
loyalty and admiration and disagreement and doubts, and my goodness,
You are arrogant, egotistical and full of Yourself. You also need
your Scotty very very much.
Brain is the one responsible for screaming at You, 'I canna give her
any more power Captain Kirk, the engines are gonna blow' when
you give a ridiculous order like 'Warp Ten, Scotty, give her all we've
got.' He tells You things like 'The main transfusers are blown, we'll
be without power in less than an hour unless we get more fuel!' He's
also the one that engineers ingenious solutions when your circuits
are blown, your transponders are out, and you're seriously short on
power. In other words, the Operational Brain oversees and allocates
the resources your body runs on.
a look at him in action. You have accidentally become a soldier
informed that you are going on an 8-mile march with full gear. Your
Operational Brain immediately allocates resources to your muscles,
plans for conversion of energy into action from your energy stores,
rouses the workers and informs them of the plan, sets the rest of
your brain and your body clock for an 8-mile march, tamps down immune
system and digestive activity to better allocate resources to marching,
controls the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles and does a whole
bunch more shit nobody understands. And then! You learn you
were lied to - it's a 12-mile march! You are forced to march 4 miles
more but your muscles ache, your head hurts, you are tired, hungry,
tense, and grumpy, you stumble, you are more prone to injuries and
you hate your goddamn fucking commanding officer with a passion.
This is because
your Operational Brain allocated resources for an 8-mile march not
a goddamn 12-mile march. When it got wind of the extra 4 miles, it
had to scramble to find reserves, call up workers it had given the
day off, explain things to the digestive system, use inferior back-up
energy reserves because the regular energy sources that would fuel
an extra 4 miles had been given the evening off and told to turn off
their pagers. Your Operational Brain is pissed at your commanding
officer and boy is he letting you know it. It's goddamn hard fucking
work rounding up workers for an extra goddamn 4 miles when you had
deployed the correct amount for 8 miles. Fuck that commanding officer.
What does he fucking think, being a goddamn Operational Brain is easy?
Well, it's not. It's a precise fucking science, it's
like inventory control, it makes the difference between break-even
and profitability, between unused product sitting in the warehouse
rotting and just-in-time delivery to satisfied customers. What
does that idiot CO think, that you are just sitting around on endless
fucking stores of energy that you never have to conserve?
Well, you're not. It takes energy to march and energy requires
food, and food requires digestion, and the utilization of stored energy
requires chemicals and chemicals require energy and their utilization
requires the proper environment. Fuck! Your Operational Brain gets
mad just thinking about it. What does the world expect of it? Your
Operational Brain oversees the proper balance between expenditure
and intake, maximizing your output in line with the available resources
and it doesn't fucking appreciate it when some idiot fucks up the
system and requires more of you than sensible planning indicated
it ought to give.
Operational Brain hates it when he's given bad planning information.
Fucks everything up. Makes him look bad. Forces him to deal with discontented
workers, 8 major muscle groups complaining and whining and aching
and bitching and moaning. Oxygen transport system compromised and
you are sweating and panting. Lactic acid build-up and no convenient
way to get rid of it. 4 extra fucking miles and no overtime pay. Workers
promised they could go home and shower after 8 but no! they have to
work an extra 4 fucking miles. They don't like it. They're 8 mile
guys. If you wanted the goddamn twelve mile guys why didn't you call
them in the first place. Labor unrest and calls for a sit-down strike.
General Major Grumpiness all around.
This is why
you get the feeling you do when you were planning on going home at
5 and at 4:45 your boss announces the deadline for the annual
report has been moved up and everybody's going to have to work til
10 at night. That sinking, churning, resentful feeling is your
Operational Brain freaking out. Your Operational Brain plans.
Experiments show that people told they're going 8 miles, but then
required to do 12 perform a lot more poorly than people informed from
the beginning they're going to do 12. Your Operational Brain allocates
resources, it's not just sitting around doing nothing. If people are
told they're going to do 12 miles and they do 8 - 8 seems easy. It
doesn't seem easy if they were planning to do 4.
This is why you
can get tired just thinking about going to work or thinking about
all the things you have to do. The moment you make plans or think
about the future, the information gets communicated to the Operational
Brain which almost immediately tries to deliver you a report or an
opinion. Thinking about going to work and using all those resources
makes your Operational Brain vigorously encourage you to stay in bed
another fifteen minutes on Monday morning, yet to bolt out of
bed on Saturday when you are planning to do something fun and easy
and rewarding. It's planning ahead. Your Operationa Brain is the one
who will tell you to sleep in on the weekends, because it anticipates
you're going to be an exhausted wreck during the work week, so for
god's sake, conserve energy now. It's constantly thinking about your
resources and how to manage them.
Brain is the one that makes You angry and tense and mean in traffic
when You told it your commute was fifteen minutes and really it's
24. Your Operational Brain believes You even though You are a squirrely
no-good liar. Your Operational Brain planned on 15 minutes, it's now
14 and a half and the objective is compromised! It pumps extra
adrenaline chemicals all around you - even though you have been telling
it the stupid 15 minute lie for over 4 fucking months! Your Operational
Brain relies on You as much as You rely on it and when You repeatedly
fucking lie to it, it freaks the fuck out.
Brain is also the one that will give you that extra spurt of competitive
energy in a close-fought athletic contest. It wants to win as
badly as You do - and it matches your effort closely to the anticipated
payoff. It will encourage you to play down to weaker opponents and
get furious when you fall behind and it has to kick into overdrive
to get you back in the game. Your Operational Brain will try to give
you a mental edge in an important interview - but it doesn't want
to expend any more energy than is wise in light of the available resources.
If You don't think You have a chance, it will keep you lackluster
and low-energy. It keys your energy expenditure very closely to
the anticipated gain. If You are happy and optimistic and confident
that all the resources You need are Your disposal, it will spend freely.
If You think you are facing a resource shortage, it will conserve
like a motherfucker.
It's just like
any large company - when top management thinks things are going well
and growth is in the offing - free lunches and generous expense
accounts flow, resources are joyously wasted, inefficiencies creep
in, the workers enjoy free caffeine and randomly placed Foosball tables
and all the rest of it. But just let the economy turn - and
boom! cost-cutting measures spread like a bad rash, workers have to
beg and plead for $1.39 worth of pens, it's coach-class air travel,
there is a sudden moratorium on the purchase of company jets and lots
of lowly and previously overpaid Foosball-loving employees get the
boot. Your Operational Brain does the same fucking type of thing.
If you want to waste calories and increase your metabolism
- convince Your Operational Brain that calories are abundant, You
are fucking untouchable and nobody gives a shit if you waste millions
of them. If you want to hoard calories and slow your metabolism
to a crawl, convince Your Operational Brain that you are smack
in the middle of bad economy with scarce calories that you must watch
and count very closely. It'll watch and count them all right - it'll
make your entire body beg and plead before it'll spend an extra $1.39
worth of calories while you are busy starving yourself on some stupid
For another example
of the miraculous and frightening power of Your Operational Brain,
if you are a new mother and overwhelmed and exhausted and feeling
like You get no support from anyone and don't have the money, the
time, or the physical & emotional resources to successfully rear
your offspring, your Operational Brain will work to make you depressed
and blue and keep you from bonding with an infant it's sure isn't
going to survive anyway.
Brain is the one You talk to, or scream at, when You are trying
to force yourself to do an extra fifteen situps or climb Mount
Everest or run a marathon. Your Operational Brain is also the one
screaming back at You - just like Scotty at Captain Kirk.
Brain oversees sweating, and shivering, and heat distribution and
blood sugar and metabolism. It makes you fat and it trims you down.
It lets your face sag and your hair turn gray when you are under stress.
It keeps your skin wrinkle-free when it has the resources to devote
to repair. It lets you get sick when You tell it your priority is
work or the kids' carnival on Sunday instead of the bacteria invading
your body and it makes you well when You tell it to devote its resources
to curing your goddamn infection.
As You might figure,
the management style and relationship between your Executive
Brain and your Operational Brain will have a big effect on how they
get along and how You experience the effects of your Operational Brain.
You have an Executive Brain Management Style and your Operational
Brain has one too. They may not be the same. Personality differences
and large, is relationship management and people management. Some
good technical and analytical skills come in handy as a CEO, but,
fortunately or unfortunately, it all comes down to people, execution,
and all those other boring cliches of management. There's nothing
You can do about it. Your corporate culture will determine how
Your corporation gets run.
So let's talk
about management style and personality types and
see if we can't figure out why You and Your Operational Brain have
the sick, dysfunctional relationship they have - or alternatively,
why they are always slapping each other on the back like old buddies
and playing golf together.
Do You and Your Operational Brain get along?
Or is it a sick, vicious rivalry based on contempt and deceit? You make