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That Ol' Ace In The Hole

By Art van Bodegraven | 07/31/2016 | 12:34 PM

Mighta been a country song of that title. The concept relates to hidden power, a hole card in various forms of poker, invisible to other players, that would propel an apparently losing hand to victory. Sometimes, an unscrupulous player would bring his own ace, and keep it up his sleeve — hence another phrase that baffles ESL learners.

In politics, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley could always hold back on revealing Cook County totals, the ace, either in the hole or up his sleeve, coming in handy if his party's candidate was faring below expectations. In business operations, many managers like to keep a stash of last-minute sales, a few loads of late-breaking shipments, previously invisible cost reductions, or other pleasant surprises used to offset or overcome unrealistic, or unattained, objectives set by the bosses upstairs.

In an age of honesty, open-ness, and transparency, such tactics violate what we hope is becoming the New World Order. If the culture of one's employer tolerates, expects, or conducts public human sacrifice in the absence of aces in the hole … Well, one really wants to think about the toll such a toxic hot tub exacts on values, satisfaction, and peace of mind. What naturally follows is contemplation of working environments in which trick plays are not accepted, expected, or rewarded.

Life is too short in the best of cases …



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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