"WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE" *
"Pink" commands a 100-person organization employing uniformed personnel and civil servants. "Brown" is Pink’s deputy, which means that Brown is responsible for monitoring day-to-day operations and levying assignments on the various work centers within the organization. Brown also serves as Pink’s ‘walking encyclopedia’ of unit personnel—Brown knows all of their vitals, including when they joined the organization, when they were last promoted, and when they can retire. Because he knows them, Brown is much closer to the people in the organization than Pink.
On one particular day, Pink receives notice that two civil service positions will be eliminated from his unit. Even though only two positions are involved, this pending personnel action is potentially quite explosive, and so he takes it quite seriously. Pink immediately summons Brown for a discussion of the situation.
"I’ve just been notified we are going to lose two of our civil service positions," Pink tells Brown, "and I don’t want the situation to get out of hand. I want to minimize damage to morale."
"Well, sir, I think the solution is to maintain positive control," says a worried looking Brown. "If we let the personnel folks dictate the positions to be cut, then we may end up losing two of our best people. Problem is, how do we maintain positive control of the situation?"
"Now that you mention it, there may be a way. Is anyone in the organization retirement eligible? If we can get a couple of senior citizens to retire, then we can cut the positions they vacate and retain all of our younger talent."
"Yes, as a matter of fact, there are," offers Brown. "Mr. ‘Mahogany’ and Ms. ‘Teak’ are both retirement eligible. But they don’t seem ready to make the leap, yet."
"Mahogany and Teak," repeats Pink. "No big loss there¾ I don’t even know who they are! Can we give them a reason to retire?"
"Well, sir, I can have a heart-to-heart talk with them and suggest they retire for the good of the organization."
"No, it would take too long, tip our hand, and probably cause them to file a grievance," Pink answers. "Just double or triple their work loads until they find the door on their own."