During an episode of “managing-happily-ever-after disappointment” a quarter-century ago, The Enjoyment of Management by Frederick and John Dyer seemed like the right book for me to read. One chapter covered “the fight-the-report syndrome.” Everyone probably has had an experience with FTRS, but may not realize how extremely common it is.

FTRS works in four stages: 1) A problem is identified. 2) A program is set up to correct the problem. 3) The program is favorably received, with relief that something is being done about the problem. 4) With the passage of time, however, people come to see the program/solution as a new problem. An example that has happened in the staff of every organization I have been involved with goes something like this: “We don’t know what’s going on.” “Let’s have more meetings.” “This meeting really helps us get coordinated.” Then (skip a beat), “What? Another meeting? How are we going to get anything done around here?”

What’s management to do? Maybe the solution could be fine-tuned or a new solution could be found to prevent a recurrence of the original problem while being more acceptable to the people involved. If not, you could paint a picture of the original problem with enough clarity that people reappreciate the present solution. For matters of mostly in-house social importance, you might just let the pendulum swing.

The FTRS describes situations in which nothing changes but people’s perception or patience. But, of course, virtually everything changes, making today’s management solutions tomorrow’s ineffectual routines and the day-after-tomorrow’s fatal mistakes. While there are no happily-ever-after solutions, there are constantly new and exciting solutions to be found to the changing opportunities in the health/fitness services industry. (Speaking of which, get your new solutions recognized in the 1995 nova7awards. See page 47.)

If we did have “ever-after” solutions, where would be the excitement of taking active part in the continuing story? We can ride high on the triumphs on better days, and rediscover ourselves and our business on the merely survivable days. Even a bad day, faced creatively, burnishes one’s character and increases the potential for new triumphs.

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