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Meeting "Structure" as method of detecting Corruption

Page history last edited by James Dunn 10 years, 10 months ago


An example of lost enterprise due to corrupt practices using assets outside of intent involves the country of England.  A significant portion of the countries resources are utilized outside of intent.  This depresses the creation of their Gross National Product (GNP).  Speculative risks prevent investors from supporting timely investment and developments which results in a spiraling economy where perceived risks promotes greater corruption and the hording of assets; i.e. economic depression.







Download Meeting Files: Action Item Log and Worksheets

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Primarily, corporate meetings are how detection of internal corruption is accomplished.  Methods of destroying corrupt practices and restoring employee confidence (innate corporate contributions) is discussed below.



"If you are going to listen, Do Something" ~ Thomas Dunn, Millwright, James River Paper Company

Being an active listener is useless unless something is done with a return on investment for the company. Too often participants interact at a meeting for political purpose but provide limited or no useful related follow-on efforts.

Use an "Action Item Log" and "Action Item Coversheets" at every meeting.
A meeting without PRODUCTIVE Actionable Developments is a waste of time.
Any meeting that lacks productive Actionable Assignments, or produces assignments without accountability, is participating in the illegal allocation of company resources.
Samples of my copyrighted templates are enclosed, other less developed templates are available online.

Always publish the meeting AGENDA at least 24 hours before a meeting is scheduled. Time is needed by participants to collect related information and do their normal job tasking. Read into the AGENDA and if more effort is needed to prepare, make sure the participants are aware of the depth to which preparation is needed. A participant may think a meeting is a waste of time because they prepared heavily and the meeting agenda item did not cover much of what they prepared to present.

Frequently change the format of meetings. Make meetings interesting to promote creative processes and to capture relationships not easily understood. Examples might be:

"Rotating Dissection"

Split participants into groups, discuss agenda, then rotate members in each group and re-discuss the agenda. Each member has a notepad to print significant relationships they discover.  An Assistant uses OCR scanning to capture these notes digitally and then correlates the related information.  This is then submitted to all participants to gain a better perspective of the Big Picture.  This is useful for technical developments to support a Statement of Work or other technical topic.

"Rotating Topics"

Split participants into a circle of groups, assign a topic to the location of each group, then rotate one member of each group clockwise until all members have rotated through all groups.  Each member has a notepad to print significant relationships they discover.  An Assistant uses OCR scanning to capture these notes digitally and then correlates the related information.  This is then submitted to all participants to gain a better perspective of the DETAILS of an established effort.  This is useful for finding weaknesses in on-going technical developments to support an upcoming milestone (eliminating unanticipated customer inquiry).

Provide "Topic Breaks"

A critical agenda topic is presented in the meeting, then there is a short break and attendees discuss related issues amongst themselves with small consumable notepads. Each Participant actively and legibly prints their major points.  After 5 minutes Participants quickly change discussion partners for 5 minutes.  The number of changes depends upon the size of the group and the importance of the topic.  The participants hand in the notepads when returning to the meeting. An assistant uses an OCR scanner to compile and correlate the comments generated from the related Topic Break. These are provided to management to determine priorities and assignments to productively address the critical agenda topic so that broad input is provided but wasted time is minimized.  This is a particularly valuable technique for capturing creative insights.  Participants can quickly capture creative thoughts on the notepads before those relationships are forgotten.

Standard Meeting using "Roberts Rules of Order"

This is good practice for training personnel to interact in political environments.  This style of meeting is useful for low-creativity normal course of business agenda.  Do not use this style of meeting if any topic of an agenda is not well defined.


"On the Spot"

This is a meeting technique where chairs are placed in a circle.  Each meeting participant takes a turn standing in the middle of the circle and voices their random concerns about any agenda related topic.  Human nature is to relate indirectly to issues they cannot directly identify.  An Assistant notates all of the concerns presented, OCR scanning them into a document, and attempts correlation of the subjects presented.  A committee is assigned to extrapolate risk factors, correlate them to business practices, and potentially modify project development or business policies to adapt to changing trends.  Monitor strictly to avoid illegal allocations of corporation/company resources.  This form of meeting often outs sensitive issues and can be used to detect corruption; especially when office politics is the directed agenda of interest.

"Talking Stick"

An age old Native American technique that allows for everyone to have a voice, and prevents interruption of trains of thought.  A topic is chosen, and a decorative stick is passed from person to person desiring to speak by raise of hand.   An Assistant uses a Dictaphone to record the entire event.  The Assistant then transcribes and correlates the provided information and relationships.  This is a useful technique for old topics that are being reviewed.  This technique is somewhat destructive in a topic that needs creative input because of the amount of time that may be needed before a chance to talk is obtained, and the creative thoughts may have passed.
Many other meeting structures are available for generating interest and capturing creativity at meetings.

Illegal Allocation is the foundation of Corruption

The corporation Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Operations Manual define the rules and regulations of the corporation/company. Any variation is illegal allocation, to include incremental changes (waivers) in regulations to allow Corporation internal Empires to misappropriate use of corporation assets.  Having well-defined rules and regulations is critical to "detect" non-productive efforts caused by illegal allocations and Empire Building.

Corruption cultivates quickly because comparably little thought and effort is required to illegally allocate resources (low or negative return on investment with high risks of losses) as compared to broad productive developments with the same corporation/company resources.  This is why negative feedback is needed in the “Structure” of business processes to slow down utilization, so that the best ethical/business uses of the resources are detected, identified, characterized, correlated with related environments, and then have efficient capitalized development instigated to derive significant outcomes with low risks.

First document who is participating in the Empires (likely more than one Empire), and then keep people with valuable skills that are actively used (documented, not hearsay), restructure management to be productive, and Kill the Kings (metaphor, eliminate them from the company). If significant damage has been done to the Corporation/Company then "Prosecute" the Kings for fraud and theft of company resources; be consistent. This helps keep these Kings from harming other corporations which may be one of your suppliers (increasing costs to produce your products).  Failure to prosecute encourages corruption (illegal allocation) because by precedence there have been no consequences.  If Empire Kings have been less destructive and they possess some redeeming skills, then mentor them and/or provide training.  If they continue to be incompetent, demote them into a useful and productive role.  DO NOT CONTINUE TO SUPPORT INCOMPETENT MANAGERS IF THEY DO NOT EVOLVE PRODUCTIVE CHANGE, DEMOTE THEM TO LEVELS AT WHICH THEY CAN PRODUCTIVELY CONTRIBUTE.

"A measure of the corruption within a company is the number of managers needed to provide similar products and services for the same size company" ~ James Dunn, Grants Program Manager, SIPI Foundation

Empire Building, Good ole Boys Club, Glass Ceilings, ... are all active efforts of internal illegal allocations of company resources. Great amounts of company assets are wasted recursively by incompetence and willful deceit. More company resources are dedicated to pandering, than to productivity and productive opportunity developments.

Empire Building creates an environment of distrust and sense of uncontrollable risks.  As a result employees will micromanage their assets (time, ideas, leadership skills, ...) rather than managing their time to provide enhanced productive developments to benefit the corporation/company.  These are significant losses to evolve the products/services provided.
See enclosure: Predicting the Future.jpg

To eliminate this waste, detection must start at the top by IDENTIFYING managers who have very limited or no "actively used" skills related to the areas they manage, who exist by creating networks of Yes-Men (Yes-Person is more accurate, but not the cliche) who are the sacrificial layer that protects them from scrutiny. Nothing is ever the fault of these Empire Kings, speaking influentially is their strongest skill, and in essence, they are the cause of huge ineffective management systems and great losses of innate human enterprise.

Breaking Destructive Coalitions (Killing Empires)

First the coalitions need to be detected.  This is often easy as in the form of suppliers that band together to price-fix and eliminate competition.  This is seen in Oil Companies, National Defense Contracts, Contractors supporting City Developments, Automotive Industry Suppliers, Permit and Regulation Officers, Unions, .... and even managers that promote compensation based upon loyalty to the Empire rather than productive skill set and contributions.  A proactive method of detection is to compare labor costs against productivity of various corporation/company "random" cross-sections.  Empires selectively provide reporting to make themselves look good, while the corporation/company suffers.  Business reporting as usual will not help identify these empires and the incompetent managers.  Realize the employees are all too familiar with being fired for speaking out openly about problem managers and their Empire King who supports their firing practices.  Cross-sections might include the following:

1) Evaluating all firing of employees and the related supervisor chain of command for those employees (look for correlations),

2) correlate cost centers historically and look for trends related to specific managers,

3) coordinate with other similar sized corporations/companies and evaluate similar costs for doing the same processes,

4) quietly randomly monitor the use of browser software on company computers and the URL's visited (do not ever disclose that computers are being monitored, use this as a bases of investigation, not a reason for punishment; often personnel are under-utilized by incompetent managers or the "organizational structure" prevents performance control of employee productivity),

5)  create "Bitch Session" meetings with "ethical" high level managers who can instill the "requirement" to out lack of productivity concerns (incompetent managers will surface and further investigation should result in mentoring, training, demotion, and if all else fails, elimination),

6) monitor the Action Item Log of Meetings and determine if there is any dissent that results in productive change, if not then there is an incompetent manager running the meetings and participants are being coerced to keep silent,

7) ... great diversity in cross-sections exist to allow for detecting Empires without creating rumors and depressed enterprise amongst employees.

Actively Cultivate Competition.  Provide diverse small developments and nurture them to grow into niche suppliers of services and products.  When there are a vast many suppliers with "differing" needs, there is competition.  Selectively "Avoid" using a Vendor/Supplier and discuss with other users of their services to avoid using their products/services.  Even if they reduce their pricing to reasonable levels, provide them with small contracts to keep them afloat but keep them struggling for contracts.  Provide reasonable compensation, but develop other in-house resources (cottage industries for example) to prevent suppliers from bullying and price-fixing.  Then selectively pull contracts from other exploitative suppliers/vendors to bring the entire coalition in line with "reasonable compensation".  Putting them out of business is counter-productive and increases sustainability risks.

Anytime a manager begins relying upon a single provider of ANYTHING they are increasing RISKS for the corporation/company; this includes single coalitions.  If cottage industries or other mechanisms are not actively pursued to weaken destructive coalition practices, then those managers are incompetent.  They need to be provided with continuing education in this regard, or be demoted/removed due to their incompetent business practices; demoting the incompetent back down to a level where they were able to productively provide for the corporation/company.  Don't allow Empires to be built by Incompetent Managers who waste Corporation/Company resources to create a foundation to protect their position at Corporation/Company expense.  Incompetent Managers are incapable of protecting the corporation/company from related losses and destructive influence.

Corollary: These destructive managers will eliminate anyone who attempts to make obvious the risks being suppressed by these managers; Empires Destroy to support personal gains since they can not competently operate in their environment.  These managers can pro-actively protect their positions by getting the training and implement the developed skills to become competent managers.  However, their nature in-general will attempt to manipulate the system to do the least to get paid the most; rather than be productive, and be recognized for accomplishments (see enclosure: Predicting the Future.jpg and relate how accomplishments are tied to self-esteem, sense of entitlement, and the respect toward others)

Promoting someone (internal employee or external new-hire) with weak accomplishments, pushes them into a destructive environment for the corporation/company.  Instead, first mentor them in creating their own significant accomplishments within the corporation/company.  Allow all employees/managers to always be productive within their limitations by helping them to obtain continuous improvement within their skill set before advancing to the next level in their expertise.


Retain ONLY those managers who have a systems engineering perspective of how their employees must interface in order to meet the needs of the project, to schedule time to be "efficiently" productive, while continuously evolving incremental changes to broadly promote greater and more efficient enterprise (which includes efficiently retaining expertise).

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