Do you work in The Adminisphere? Answer the questions below, score 10 points for each “yes”. Whatever the score don’t hate yourself, it’s the system, innit?
- Do you regularly put the words “policy” (meaning longwinded) and “brief” (meaning short and to the point) together to call a document a “Policy Brief”?
- Do you sit in arms reach of someone with “officer” or “strategic” in their job title? Score double if you answered yes and you’re not in the armed forces.
- Is any of your work cascaded to other people in your organisation rather than used?
- Is your office’s de facto purpose “creating a better future through typing”? Score double if someone else types your work for you
- Do you refer to “the front line” without actually being in a war? Score double if you do so respectfully.
- Does it take both you and a colleague a good 20 minutes to vet an email before sending? Score double if the recipients take less than 20 seconds to delete it unread
- Do you “take” your work to meetings, rather than “do” work outside meetings?
- In the course of your work, have you and a colleague ever used documents to make links, join up, align priorities or assign actions? Score double if you have been able to join two documents together using aligned priorities rather than with a conventional paper clip or staple.
- Have you stood at the office printer more than you have stood in the actual workplace? Score double if you don’t know the difference.
- Have you ever used the phrase “strategic” as a cover-up for “I don’t know” or “Please don’t ask me that” for example, “Should we be spending this much money on an untested product?”, “ah, that would be a strategic matter”. Score double if you meant it.
How did you do?
Score <20: You wear a pair of overalls to work.
Score 21-40: You are an aspiring bureaucrat. Work hard, keep your palms smooth and tie knotted, and you’ll get there in the end Sonny-Jim.
Score 41-60: You call people “Sonny-Jim”
Score 61-100: You never call a spade a spade if you can call it a strategic policy-led implementation tool.
Score above 101: You are a strategic policy led implementation tool.
The Adminisphere is “the rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the common worker. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.”
This place is often the cause of the problems in the system as it is the heart of the thinking of the organisation. Don’t worry if you work there! You have the opportunity to be the cause of the solutions to the problems. You have access to senior managers, you have influence and you can use these powers for good.
Keep systems thinking, and have a lovely day!