Punk rock purpose

There you go, 3 chords, now form a band.

This cartoon from a Punk fanzine in the late 70’s tells you that you, yes you, can form a band. No years of training, no expert or arcane knowledge.

It doesn’t just tell you that you can, it urges you to by showing you how easy it is to start. To start you need to want to, and that’s it.
That’s how easy it is to start systems thinking.
Pick one thing from this list and go do it.

  • Go to where your customer first contacts your organisation. Listen to what they say when they ring up or speak to your staff, write down exactly what they say word for word. I promise you this will be the most fun and most useful customer research you will have ever done. Think carefully about why they are contacting you.
  • Buy “The new economics” and read it.
  • Get some quarterly performance monitoring report with at least 4 quarters in it. Get the underlying data that produces it, down to case, record or client level. Put it on a control chart or ask someone to do it for you. Decide which gives the most truthful a picture, and think why.
  • Get some frontline/core service people together. Look at previous attempts in your organisation to change or improve something. List them and write down the current state of these efforts. Discuss the common reasons why they fail and disappear or succeed and stick
  • Google “Portsmouth Housing systems housing”
  • Take details of 10 completed jobs from your system, count how long they have been in your system from entry to exit. Total up how long the actual work took. Turn it into a % by dividing the smaller number by the larger number. Make a promise with yourself that you will find out why it is so small
  • Stand and watch what happens where staff are working. If you were a Martian who had no idea what your organisation did what might you think the purpose is from what you can see? Does it look like a document storage factory instead of a Housing Benefits office? A crime recording organisation instead of a police force? Whatever it is, is what it does. POSIWID.
  • Listen to Hayley.

This is just a list of examples to start. You could start elsewhere with different questions, but I think the most important thing is curiosity, the need to ask different and better questions to get different and better answers.

It’s as easy as…

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