The Cardiovascular Equipment Sign-Up System
In 1984, Sam founded Centratel, the number one commercial telephone answering service in the nation, located in Bend, Ore. With a background in engineering and publishing, he is a telephone answering service industry consultant, writer and speaker, and has served as president of several regional and national answering service organizations.
Sam is author of the book Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, published by North Sister Publishing, Inc. in April 2008. He also founded and directs Kashmir Family Aid, a 501C3 non-profit that aids surviving school children of the Northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir earthquake of October 8, 2005.
Originally from upstate New York, and an Oregonian since 1975, he is married to Linda Carpenter. He has a daughter and two grandchildren. He and Linda are also in the process of launching an Internet business that promotes communication between absent adults and their children and grand children. Outside interests include climbing/mountaineering, skiing, cycling, reading, traveling and writing.
Here’s a remove-the-system-altogether scenario. It’s the ultimate in simplifying things. My staff and I take delight in chucking unnecessary Centratel protocols. System-elimination is great to see in personal life, too.
The cardio room at the gym where I work out is equipped with dozens of treadmills, step climbers, and stationary bikes. It’s a busy place, so queuing up to use any of these machines was done by noting one’s initials, the desired start-up time, and the machine number on a sign-up board. It seemed sensible to use this procedure in order to promote efficiency and prevent conflict.
All club members knew the logic of the system and in the course of any given day, hundreds of us took the time to sign up for the various machines we wanted.
Then one day the sign-up board disappeared without explanation. Why did the new club manager remove this logical, order-inducing system without so much as a warning? Probably because the sign-up board was a classic Rube Goldberg creation that attempted to cure a problem that didn’t exist.
Obviously, “common courtesy” is a system that lies outside-and-slightly-elevated from minute-to-minute goings-on. It’s a collection of unwritten rules—a system— that supersedes immediate personal ambitions. Common courtesy is the most fundamental and rigid social system in our culture. Today’s common courtesy system is a beautiful thing, much improved over Neanderthal days when the lack of it caused strangers to be killed. Things have improved!
Sam Carpenter is author of the book, Work The System: The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Making More.