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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 88 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Consultants in the Office  (Read 4423 times)
Chris Goodwin
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Posts: 100

Beware ants reversing


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« on: November 18, 2005, 09:42:57 AM »

This attacked me around midnight last night, and wouldn't let go until I committed it to paper, which I promptly left at home.  It's still a work in progres. 

"Towns" are companies.  The Dogs are consultants, riding from company to company to trim the dead weight and improve morale, efficiency, and the bottom line. 

Pride, injustice, sin... (I can't remember what I called these; Pride was Pride, Injustice I think was Injustice, but Sin was I think Toxic Work Environment -- maybe Office Politics?) which invites Demonic Attacks (absenteeism, chronic calling in sick, missing deadlines, inefficiencies, poor customer service)...

which leads to Gossip (False Doctrine) and Poor Management Practices (Corrupt Worship) (going around the chain of command, backstabbing, brown-nosing...),

which leads to Cliques (False Priesthood) and Sorcery (unethical and potentially illegal behavior -- embezzlement, fraternization, sleeping with the boss, harassment and the like)

which leads to Hate and Murder (unjust or unlawful termination, forcing people to quit, even as far as very public indictments and the like)

Demons are toxic people.  Everyone has worked with toxic people and knows what they're like.  Micromanagers, overbearing boors, the tactless, dragon ladies, lying hypocritical sexist egotistical bigots...

Ceremony is buzzwords, counseling.  Your jar of sacred earth is your coffee cup.  Possessions are laptop, cell phone, Palm, other stuff (red stapler?).  Coat is your mode of dress (business casual?  shirt and tie?  Maybe it's called your Tie.).  Horse is your car.  Gun is...what?  Pink slips? 

Thing is, I'm not sure how to handle escalation and fallout. 

The Steward would be the manager.  Townspeople are of course the employees.  The King of Life would be the CEO, or maybe the shareholders.  The Book would be the company operations manual. 

Primary sources are Office Space (of course), 9 to 5, The Office, Dilbert, The Apprentice, your day to day life at work.  It doesn't necessarily need to be generic high tech companies; it can as easily apply to a fast food restaurant or government office. 

I would play it almost straight, with maybe a slight ironic wink-and-nod a la Office Space. 
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Chris Goodwin
cgoodwin@gmail.com
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2005, 09:50:12 AM »

You know, I always thought Papers and Paychecks was always going to be just an inside joke.

This could stand further development.

For the TA, you can substitute outside authorities like the SEC.

Escalation levels:

1. Friendly banter
2. Off-the-record discussion
3. Formal interview
4. Memoranda and Paperwork
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Chris Goodwin
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Posts: 100

Beware ants reversing


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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2005, 09:55:54 AM »

You know, I always thought Papers and Paychecks was always going to be just an inside joke.

I guess that is what I've come up with, isn't it.  Whoa.

Quote
Escalation levels:

1. Friendly banter
2. Off-the-record discussion
3. Formal interview
4. Memoranda and Paperwork

Gotcha.  Consultants have to step carefully sometimes, because there are always powerful people who put up with their presence because the board called for bringing them in, but they can be torpedoed and cut loose if they step on too many toes.    They can be as much a target of paper as the sinners and sorcerors and townspeople. 
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Chris Goodwin
cgoodwin@gmail.com
TonyPace
Member

Posts: 38


« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2005, 09:08:01 PM »

This is a cool idea - I do some business consulting myself and I think some non-gamers that I know would find this to be an interesting thought experiement.

There are some wrinkles. I think the first two levels of escalation need to be merged together, with the final level being shouting in the halls and perhaps physical confrontation. It does happen after all.

The other issue is that a conflict escalation cycle is likely to happen over a long period of time, perhaps weeks. That leaves a lot of space for other characters to be jumping in and saying "But what about Crenshaw and the process efficiency reports? If I can beat him down on that, that changes the whole situation here, and the meetings are going to take a week to play out. Can we just jump out of this for a second and deal with that?"

The obvious answer is yes, and systemically it's not that hard to deal with, but as a practical matter, all those piles of dice and unfinished conflicts are going to be a problem.

Ceremony is definitely use of management methodologies like TQM, Critical Chain, Six Sigma and others.
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Chris Goodwin
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Posts: 100

Beware ants reversing


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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2005, 11:32:32 PM »

This is a cool idea - I do some business consulting myself and I think some non-gamers that I know would find this to be an interesting thought experiement.

There are some wrinkles. I think the first two levels of escalation need to be merged together, with the final level being shouting in the halls and perhaps physical confrontation. It does happen after all.

Oh, that's a good one.  Losing your cool. 

Still -- in the default Dogs setting, guns are the morally and thematically significant weapon.  When someone pulls a gun they're making a statement and answering a question.  What's the equivalent in here? 

Quote
The other issue is that a conflict escalation cycle is likely to happen over a long period of time, perhaps weeks. That leaves a lot of space for other characters to be jumping in and saying "But what about Crenshaw and the process efficiency reports? If I can beat him down on that, that changes the whole situation here, and the meetings are going to take a week to play out. Can we just jump out of this for a second and deal with that?"

In a strictly sim sense, yeah, it can take weeks to play out -- but you can always do stuff like time compression (which default Dogs calls for at times). 

Quote
The obvious answer is yes, and systemically it's not that hard to deal with, but as a practical matter, all those piles of dice and unfinished conflicts are going to be a problem.

Ceremony is definitely use of management methodologies like TQM, Critical Chain, Six Sigma and others.

That's good. 

Prayers and incantations and ceremonial statements are buzzwords.  "We're going to leverage our cross-brand synergy..."
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Chris Goodwin
cgoodwin@gmail.com
TonyPace
Member

Posts: 38


« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2005, 02:27:01 AM »

Well, as far as a thematic equivalent to a gun, the obvious analog to death is 'termination', and a gun is an explicit threat to kill someone, so a 'gun' is a reccomendation to outsource someone's job or eliminate a position, or whatever. Straight out of Office Space.

You can compress time, but the conflicts do happen in the SiS, so I don't think it's realistic to expect that everything else is just 'on hold' until a single conflict plays out. For example, the consultants weren't done with Lumbergh when the building got burned down thanks to the fallout from the 'fixed the glitch' stuff.
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2005, 03:25:07 PM »

Perhaps there needs to be two parallel levels of conflict that can go on simultaneously... a short-term level (perhaps things that can be resolved in a single day) and long-term conflicts.

As for the top level of the hierarchy... well, you can't fire someone without filing paperwork.  That's why I put it at the top.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
zornwil
Member

Posts: 86


« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2007, 09:57:24 PM »

That's interesting, at about the same time as this started, a friend and I started talking about Office Dogs as well. 

I ended up running this at GenCon, went pretty well, though only a couple players.  One consultant sacrificed his career in a final conflict, but won the stakes.

I'll have to dig up what I wrote (not at a computer with that right now), but basically we did the escalations as:

1 - Just Talking
2 - Bureaucratic Wrangling; the level of arguing rules, invoking formalities, etc.
3 - I forget the term, but basically at the level of direct orders and commands, direct challenges to authority
4 - Your Job is On the Line, the level at which you are pushing the visibility of what is going on to senior management with a possible result of termination, calling in senior managers (a +d4) to get involved on one's side against someone

As to a comment above, I set it up so that the companies that the Dogs visit are subscribers to the methodology and disciplines of the Davidson Oligmueller Group, and essentially consultants could get anybody, including the CEO, fired at these companies.  Of course, whatever follow-up might occur in a real world is another matter, but usually this played out in the game as the direct reporting of a cause-for-dismissal impropriety or reporting the manager to the board and playing out that conflict. 

As said, I'll have to find more and post it, I meant to put this out in a PDF a while back, will also have to read more here and see what we can merge, but it's remarkably similar.
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- Wilson
lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2007, 01:45:27 PM »

This is just a moderatorial note. Unlike any threads on the Forge at large, and unlike most threads here in the lumpley games forum, I think it's just fine to resurrect old alternate setting threads. If anybody has any questions about this, start a new thread, I'll be happy to answer.

Here, carry on!

-Vincent
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2007, 02:00:43 PM »

"Bob, this year is a Perfect Storm of Opportunity and we're really looking for you to Raise the Bar.  I'm concerned that you're going to have trouble Moving the Needle so I need you to Take Ownership of this Initiative and Drive it Forward so your department can be Best in Class."

Yeesh...give me demons and occult sorcerery any day...;-)
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