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Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Hugger-Mugger and Helter-Skelter -- Today's visit to Dictionary.com's Word of the Day page resulted in this gem...
Word of the Day for Friday May 16, 2003
hugger-mugger \HUH-guhr-muh-guhr\,
noun: 1. A disorderly jumble; muddle; confusion. 2. Secrecy; concealment.
adjective: 1. Confused; muddled; disorderly. 2. Secret.
adverb: 1. In a muddle or confusion. 2. Secretly.
The word itself made me smile and consider it as a possible "Friday Fun" subject, but then it hit me that in strategies or plans, the potential for a cause-and-effect loop between confusion and concealment is real. Then, with a hyphenated h-word in my head, I flashed on another -- Helter-Skelter, which implies to me not only a disorderly jumble and confusion, but also reactive running around to try to deal with it. Helter-Skelter also has its own cause-and effect loop. Here's a couple rough logical sketches...


Note the possible connection between the two, given several overlapping entities, but especially "incomplete analysis" that can turn a hugger-mugger into a helter-skelter and vice versa. For such loops, there are multiple ways out. Clarity of goals, effective plans, thoughtful analyses that uncover hidden assumptions, and Deming's directive to "drive out fear" can help avoid the death spirals, muggings, or finger blisterings associated with hugger-mugger, helter-skelter behaviors.

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