Monday, October 7, 2013

Man Camps (Unintended Consequences)

What if someone told you that your community could have thousands of new jobs, increased home values and lots of tax dollars to build roads and schools?

Heading up Route 85 in North Dakota towards the northern entrance of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we kept seeing what looked like poorly maintained camp grounds.  There were groups of trailers and trucks down dusty driveways with very little shade.  We were also on a camping trip, but these did not look like a place we would stop. 

Talking with the locals, we learned these were the “man camps” for the thousands of oil workers that have arrived in North Dakota since the hydraulic fracturing(“fracking”) industry started.  This is not a blog about the pros or cons of fracking, but of the unintendedconsequences of growth and progress.  ND now sports the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.  There are jobs for everyone.  There are also overcrowded roads, massive rent and real estate price increases, law enforcement challenges, crime that was never seen before and the sense of “community” is disappearing.  One law enforcement officer described it as a return to the Wild West – cowboys with money, without wife’s, out doing whatever they want.  Only this time they replaced the horses with new 4X4 pick-up trucks with rifle racks.

Independent of your opinion on fracking, leaders in all situations must try their best to consider the unintended consequences of their decisions.  Benchmarking others is a great way to do this.  It is amazing what can be learned from a simple phone.

What “no brainer” decisions have you reversed once you learned the unintended consequences?


Anonymous said...

Great piece, John. The problem is that we often don't take time to look at "unintended consequences" until it's too late. From teenagers on, few people recognize, in advance the consequences of their actions....

Anonymous said...

Hello Sir,

Its great to hear from you through your leadership development blogs...:) They are awesome as always..:) I am an Industrial Engineer and work in the IE Dept, here at TASL.

I got introduced to you, through the Weekly friday metrics presentation at TASL, which I used to prepare and publish.
Was great interacting with you, though indirectly.. I have a note of all your comments and feedback given in the sessions.Thanks for it.

It is through you that i realized the importance of tracking metrics.Moreover, my beliefs became much stronger after studying ''THE TOYOTA WAY'', where it speaks about data measuring and tracking metrics.

However, i am a little confused how to apply the same metrics for my development and learning in the Industrial Engineering domain, request you to kindly suggest a few ideas.

John Bishop said...

Hello Tarun.

It is great to hear we are still in contact.

The answer to your question is not too difficult. I like the 3E's.
(Education, Experience and Exposure).

Create a scale for each and you will note that one E typically lags the others. For example, when you first got your IE degree, your Education score was high, your Exposure score was medium but your Experience score was low. After working a while, you Experience score rises, but you need more Exposure. Once Exposure and Experience continue to increase - you need more Education (masters), etc.

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