Chapter 11
Operational control

Today two entities exist to control the proper functioning of individuals, companies, administrations, associations. On the one hand, investigation journalism, the role of which is to highlight what was hidden without being private, that is to say, to fight against dissimulation. On the other hand, the police justice couple, whose role is to fight against cheating.
We propose adding operational control to these two structures, the aim of which is to promote the application of state of the art. Operational control fights against incompetence and decision-making on an inept methodological basis, as seen in Chapter 4. This is the keystone of the whole building.


Operational control is exercised periodically over all organizations. It is exercised by a small group of external people, drawn by random taking into account geographical constraints, among those with the required skills and not presenting a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can be reported either by the person controlling or by the organization controlled. In the controlling group, we must find 50% of people who have already carried out the activity of the controlled organization, 50% others.
Controllers may interview, in private if it seems desirable to them, whoever they wish in the organization being controlled.

The control aims to assess each of the following points separately:
1. The interest for the community of the raison d'être of the controlled organization, formulated by its president.
2. The completeness and sincerity of the content of the problems logs and strategic thinking log.
3. Alignment of activities and resources with the raison d'être. This concerns the functions of treasurer and president.
4. Organizational effectiveness, especially through the problems log. This concerns more particularly the director.
5. Any transfers of work to unpaid third parties, for example by imposing on them online input that is not easily automated, or coming to fetch information.
6. The allocation for each strategic study of means commensurate with the challenges. This concerns more particularly the president.
7. The quality of implementation of the result of strategic studies. This concerns more particularly the director.

Note that we have intentionally used the term operational control, not audit. Indeed, the objective of control is to verify the relevance and the methodological quality in the first place of the strategic studies that have been carried out, and not to carry out these strategic studies and to propose solutions. The basis was described in Chapter 7, in the section "Conditions for a reliable decision-making process". However, it seems to us useful here to recall the following point, even if it means repeating ourselves: it is a methodological evaluation aimed at ensuring that the four conditions for serious reasoning have been met. In particular, the control must be very vigilant to consider as invalid all forms of methodological conformism. By methodological conformism we mean the application of a recipe that does not really work, on the pretext that it is the standard, and therefore "one cannot blame us". We also consider as a form of methodological conformism the use of social support to validate an unsubstantiated solution. Finally, operational control must encourage reasoned risk taking. The objective at this level is clearly to fight against the myth which replaces reason, as described in the article by Meyer and Rowan mentioned in Chapter 3.

Following the general assessment of the company, the control group:
1. Assigns notes to strategic studies, which adjusts the strategic rating of their authors. This is where the link is made with the analysis of the mode of reasoning that we proposed in Chapter 7.
2. If necessary, adjusts the notes of the older studies according to their consequences once they become visible.
3. May decide on the compulsory allocation of resources to certain existing or added strategic questions.
4. Can make suggestions for improvement, but not just to do well.

May decide, following a second check which would confirm the conclusions of the first:
5. To definitively resign the president, the director or the treasurer.
6. The split, if the single level management is not effective, that the workforce is large and that there is no obstacle linked to a critical size essential for the activity.
7. The dissolution of the structure, in the event of a major dysfunction from a qualitative point of view.
When the first check reveals serious shortcomings, suggesting the application of points 5, 6 or 7, the second check will be entrusted to people with a higher strategic rating. A bit like in the case of a court of appeal.
On the other hand, a second check is also carried out on part of the checks taken at random, to assess their quality.

Is the game worth the candel?

When we combine the formalism of the strategic thinking log imposed on each organization (previous chapter) with the organization of all the associated controls, we arrive at something quite cumbersome to implement. It therefore becomes legitimate to ask the question: Is all this really worth it?
To answer it, several elements must be taken into account. First of all, Marx already noted that industrialization generates much more complex interactions between organizations, which is even more true following the second industrial digital revolution. So weighing the decisions well becomes more important than before, because the indirect consequences are heavier. This is why we have made it clear that this new formalism must be imposed with all the more force as the stake of the decision to be taken is great. On the other hand, at the beginning of this book, the chapter on cognitive dissonance showed us that "the natural reason of individuals" does not exist. This is all the more true since the people who perform best in the supervisory functions of companies in the current capitalist system are those who are more inclined towards action and power games than to reflection. Hence the fact that it is important to impose a mechanism that allows a posteriori control of the arguments leading to the decision, and the establishment of the strategic rating of individuals, so as to ensure that decisions are effectively taken at best, by the fittest.

In addition, the effect of the second industrial revolution, that of the digital, is considerably underestimated. In chapter 6, we saw that at the time of Marx, the boss managed to get a fairly precise idea of ​​the actual situation of his production tool by a simple tour in his workshop, and that it is no longer true as soon as digital comes into play. In fact, with the proliferation of digital, we have gradually switched to a boss who makes decisions, often just by watching PowerPoint presented by salespeople. Then, when the concrete problems arise, he tells his employees that production must come out at all costs, so that they must "get out of it", often supported by the specter of unemployment, that is to say an argument of the type if you do not succeed, others wait at the door to take your place. This is formulated with more or less tact depending on the character of each, but always on the same unacceptable background: the dissociation of decision-making vis-à-vis the associated responsibility.
This drift is found in the practice of operational objectives that teams are asked to achieve, or even to set beforehand in the most perverse cases of management. An employee, from the moment he is subordinate, that is to say does not take strategic decisions, is bound to a duty of providing the company with resources, that is to say his workforce, time, knowledge and loyalty. He cannot be held to a duty of result. Now precisely, this unhealthy seesaw has taken place, but gradually, so that individuals have resigned themselves to it as it progresses. However, although progressive, under the effect of the complexification of digital processes, the drift has arrived at a shocking level, so it is high time to put things right. We cannot ask people to bear the consequences of decisions that were taken lightly, without taking into account the reality on the field, because after a while, it is trust in social organization that vanishes, therefore the return of each man for himself, of the simple balance of power, and ultimately of populism.
However, having decisions taken democratically by people in the field, as in a cooperative enterprise, or in the context of participatory democracy, is not the general solution to this problem. When problems become complex, operational staff are not always mentally capable of anticipating future problems on paper. They are just able to see them once the decision has already been made and the new system in place. Hence the importance of ensuring that the decision will be made following a study of an adequate level vis-à-vis the consequences, by individuals having demonstrated their specific aptitude to conduct strategic studies. The end goal is confidence in the "social contract" resulting from confidence in the quality of the decisions taken.

To come back to the cost of the formalism imposed for strategic decisions and their operational control, the structure of organizations that we have described in the previous chapters also has the effect of limiting the undesirable effect of Parkinson's law, that is to say the multiplication of unproductive hierarchical stages. So in the end, what we do is transfer an unproductive and trust destructive additional cost in the social system into a constructive additional cost, mainly by improving the indirect consequences of the decisions taken in each organization.