February 29, 2016
My client (a luxury-watch brand in the +80K $ price range) had struggled for two years with a watch that just did not work. The swanky “we know everything” producer of the mouvement for this watch (a subcontractor to several famous high-end brands) had us endure hours of useless meetings. A bunch of the better payed elements of sayed factory would be present. Engineers, designers, boss of this, boss of that… no watchmakers. Drawings were shown, theories made. Everybody were blamed. Casemakers, dialmakers… none of it made sense to the only watchmaker present, me. Casings and dials were remade for eye-watering amounts of money. The solution to the problem was one tiny spring that was too strong and blocked the calendar mechanism of the watch. A fact I pointed out at our first meeting and was promptly sneered at. A proper watchmaker would have found the problem (and did) in one day for a cost of 500$ + a one-hour meeting with a prototypist.
It puzzles me that 4 times out of 5, when I try to call somebody in a Swiss watch factory, the person is in a meeting, going to a meeting or has his day off. My wild guess is, this concerns about 10% of the employees in any Swiss watch factory in the luxury segment.
Well, I finally found the answer to this riddle, in this fine article by Anne Fisher / Fortune magazine:
Here are the eight tactics the OSS (baby CIA) recommended for tripping up an Axis agency from the inside:
1- “Insist on doing everything through channels. Never permit short-cuts to be taken to expedite decisions.”
2- “Make speeches. Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your ‘points’ by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.”
3- “When possible, refer all matters to committees, for ‘further study and consideration.’ Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.”
4- “Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.”
5- “Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, and resolutions.”
6- “Refer back to a matter decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.”
7- “Advocate ‘caution.’ Be ‘reasonable’ and urge your fellow conferees to be ‘reasonable’ and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.”
8- “Be worried about the propriety of any decision. Raise the question of whether [it] lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.”