It’s another rainy day, I’m bored and I have the time and opportunity to pursue an “old-timers” passion – “Be a nuisance”. We are currently in a MCG. During the last few days I noticed a few minor infractions of published R & R’s, as well as, unwritten common-sense rules. There is nothing unusual about that type of not-so-good behavior, we see it in practically all the MCG’s. I will not attempt to identify the specific rules but will use one rule, which is common in all MCG’s, as an example to illustrate my point. I like to go for long walks. Before I begin my trek, I inhale a healthy dose of WD-40 to get my old joints lubricated and start the cogs in my brain in motion (Just my attempt at humor – don’t try it). Anyway, on my recent walk I began to think about MCG R & R’s, why do we have them, how do we create and enforce them, and how violators are their own worst enemies. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I have witnessed a taught leadership approach to maintain control and discipline of individual or group actions – I don’t recall the exact name of the approach, but I will simply call it the 1234 approach. I seriously doubt that most MCG staff are aware of the approach, it’s phases or intentionally use the approach. It is something that just happens naturally in the day-to-day operation of the MCG. The common rule I want you to consider as the leading character in my attempt to explain the approach is: picking up after your pet. Phase I: Utopia. The R's & R's are established and everybody abides by them. Such a wonderful world, everything is great. It don’t get no better. Phase II: Utt Oh (sic), someone is misbehaving, can’t have that, got to nip it in the bud, we must do something to stop it. This is the phase that major mistakes are made. The correct approach in this phase is to identify and then approach the offender, tactfully make the offender aware of their questionable behavior. That’s usually all it takes in this phase, you don’t need to use the guillotine threat. Most of the time the offender will recognize their wrongdoings and take corrective action. The big mistake I see over-and-over again is something I like to refer to as: “Managing by Pencil” (Who uses pencils anymore?). What happens is some type of broadcast (which usually begins as: It has come to our attention, blah, blah) is made to all occupants in the MCG. It’s just thrown out there with hopes that it will stick. The insinuation can be insulting to non-pet owners and responsible pet owners. The results are; you made of fool of yourself, lost credibility, pissed-off (telling you the way it is) a few people, and did not solve the original problem. Phase III: This phase kicks in only after the failure to receive the desired results from Phase II. A very direct presentation of the violation is made to the perpetrator and the consequences of non-compliance are clearly defined and understood. The MCG at 29 Palms, CA is a perfect example of this phase in action and being used correctly. Because many of the MCG occupants are not available for an eyeball-to-eyeball interaction, they receive a personalized written notification the describes the discrepancy and consequences. Phase IV: This is the bad one, where the rubber meets the road. The other phases have failed, it’s time to sharpen the blade on the guillotine. Drastic action is taken. Hopefully the action is directed solely toward the villain but on some occasions the penalty is wrongfully applied to the masses. There is the potential for extreme change to the current pet R & R’s: they are changed to read “No Pets Allowed”. Who are the winners and losers now? Who caused this action. Think about it the next time you ignore or try to stretch the meaning of a MCG R or R. One final comment: The most disastrous thing a leader could do is to go directly from Phase I to Phase IV, bypassing Phase II and III. Semper Fi.