Can we guess the thinking behind this poor man’s approach?
- C&C management is mechanistic in thinking. The solution is to be engineered. If it has been engineered once, it can be used again.
- The flavour of the month is never a risky choice. Safety in numbers. They’re like nosy neighbours forever looking over the garden fence at next door’s new hover mower.
- Local Authorities copy off each other. There’s hundreds of them, it’s inevitable, like how in a crowd people are more likely to act like others in proportion to the size of the crowd.
- Local Authorities know more about and have more in common with each other and “the Council side of things” than they know about or have in common with their residents. Again, hunan nature to align yourself with other Strategic Partnering Managers who you meet regularly at conferences with rather than some amorphous “community” .
God there’s simply loads of reasons but I’ve got at least 3 more Zombie comics to type words next to so best move on. Conscious of the time.
I hear you ask
“What’s your beef with comparing against others and learning from them then? You lot claim to love learning”
Here’s my own experience of it.
A few years ago the UK had a system of audit and inspection for Local Authorities by something called the Audit Commission (AC from now on). It inspected, graded and reported along themes such as value for money etc. These grading reports were treated seriously as the results could be bad or good for careers at all levels, and for the LA as a whole too. All LAs were in the same boat, so looked around frantically at each other to see what everyone else was doing.
There were conferences specifically around this, so LA’s could share best practice around being audited. Huzzah! If Deming weren’t already dead by then, this double whammy surely would have been the final straw. I was rolling in my grave already.
My then manager saw an advert for a conference coming up boasting that Somebody Important would be there to share best practice as an LA that was leading the way in preparing for an audit. My manager was excited, as the audit criteria had recently changed and he felt as unprepared as others, so he eagerly booked himself onto the conference.
The next day at his desk he was approached by Somebody Important in our own organisation. “Could you make me up a PowerPoint on preparing for an AC inspection? I’ve got to give a presentation at this conference see.”
Yes Reader, he had to type up all the stuff he didn’t know and felt unprepared for, to give to someone else who knew less to deliver in front of an equally ignorant audience, in which he was going to be sitting. A snake eating it’s own arse couldn’t be more futile.
“Benchmarking is the fast route to mediocrity” says some non-dead Management Guru.
Was he at this conference too?
Only 3 more Zombie Deming comics to go. It’ll soon be over, don’t worry.