Great Minds Tuesday


“Great minds talk about ideas
Average minds talk about events
Small minds talk about people.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Your task today at work is to see the ideas and thinking that lie behind Tuesday 16th October 2012 and avoid the surface noise of people and events.

There’s always people. Look around you, bloody everywhere, customers, co-workers, managers.
It is very easy indeed to mistake them for the system they act in.


“I rang the help-desk and I wasn’t listened to.
That really annoying woman answered the phone, God she’s irritating, doesn’t listen and barks questions at me like a right Hitler then slammed the phone down. God what an appalling woman. The sooner they get rid of her the better.”

Small mind alert! You are only seeing the person,  attributing to that woman in front of you the characteristics of the system. It doesn’t matter if she works there or not, getting rid of the person still leave the system, the way they do things on the IT help-desk. That still remains. Try again!

“I rang the help-desk and I wasn’t listened to.
The person who answered just barked questions at me that were irrelevant to my problem and then slammed the phone down!
She sounded really annoyed, as she has to ask the same dippy questions every call, as she is constrained by the script in front of her, and she couldn’t ask any real questions of me as she is expected to comply to the procedures regardless of what I was saying.
God what an appalling service.
The sooner they out-source them the better”

Average mind alert! You are talking about the event, the thing that happened which was the way the service was delivered, the performance of the system.  Better though, this time you aren’t focusing on the person and have moved to the actual system in action, what it does when it gets up in the morning, people come into it, and the system awakes. Problem is, there’s one more level that lies behind the system….

Try again!

“I rang the help-desk and I wasn’t listened to.
The thinking there is that the service should be delivered through a point-and-click system, where the staff ask questions from a script as it is cheaper and easier to de-skill the staff and load the “knowledge” into an IT system. It results in customers being squeezed into a pre-determined “problem” that they may not have.
They think that  it is cheaper and more effective to focus on the transaction at hand, answering the phone and going through the problem handling process on an IT system, rather than listening to and attending to the customers actual problem. Because they focus on the immediate transaction they don’t see the actual problem. They can’t see the true cost is end to end, and think only about how to deal with the slice of a problem they choose to focus on.
God what appalling thinking.
The sooner they change their minds about how work actually functions in reality, the better.”

Great Mind! Well done! You can see the thinking that lies behind the system that lies behind the performance.
thinking system performance

The thinking creates the system which creates the performance.  When you know this then you know:

  • retraining or firing staff won’t change the system they operate within
  • out-sourcing the system to another lot of people who think in exactly the same way won’t improve anything
  • changing the system through tools and this-months-improvement-method doesn’t touch the thinking, so may as well save your time and not bother
  • setting targets of the staff within the system won’t change the system

Don’t bother changing anything else. Change the thinking, then everything changes.

Who are you going to be on Tuesday 16th October 2012? Pinky or Brain?

This entry was posted in change, command and control, purpose, systems thinking, Uncategorized, vanguard method and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Great Minds Tuesday

  1. Leyton says:

    When you get right down to it, I think Pinky was actually the smart one. Narf! hehehehe 😀


  2. Pingback: Juicy gossip | thinkpurpose

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