Managers were in shock today at reports that their management models were found to contain up to 100% horse meat.
Samples taken of a variety of different models were confirmed as containing “mainly horse”
Tests were conducted to establish whether the claims made for the models were truthful and accurate. The report examined the following claims and found them to be unsubstantiated.
Manufacturers claim: “PRINCE2 is a de facto standard developed and used extensively by the UK government and is widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. It embodies established and proven best practice in project management.“
Report findings: “The claims made were found not to have any basis in fact and the product sampled was mainly reconstituted horse gristle. And PIDs”
Manufacturers claim: “Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) is a disciplined way of thinking and taking action that communities can use to improve the lives of children, families and the community. OBA can also be used by agencies to improve the performance of their programmes.”
Report findings: “Rather than a disciplined way of thinking, our tests have shown that the approach is a blend of 100% mechanically recovered horse meat made palatable with a layer of semi-convincing diagrams.”
The study found that the extensive range of cheap and shoddy management models had been contaminated at source rather than later in the process. “We found that it wasn’t added later in the process, but was there from the start, using cheap meat as the basis upon which to make startling claims about levels of improvement, engagement and budgetary savings. But that’s bollocks, literally in some cases”
A shell-shocked Local Authority manager, Judith Swales, said her organisation were taking immediate action.
“We would like to reassure residents that we have taken all possible action. We have taken all our Service Improvement Plans and quarterly performance reports off the shelves to ensure that none of this adulterated thinking reaches our residents. In future we will be looking at where we source our thinking a lot more carefully.”
Industry commentators stated that these findings are “not surprising”.
Geoff McDonald of the Association of Systems Thinking said:
“We have been warning the industry that sourcing cheap easily produced management thinking will result in these type of situations. Disreputable fly-by-night management consultants are thriving in the current environment of public sector cuts and the triple dip recession.
We urge all managers not to buy into thinking that seems plausible and can be just picked up and used without changing anything fundamental. These are often the sign of a cheap adulterated product. If you are at all suspicious, give it a quick sniff. If it smells like crap, it probably contains some.
Rather than avoid all thinking, we urge managers to simply avoid the cheap easily produced thinking, and instead invest in quality bespoke thinking that can be easily sourced locally from reputable suppliers. “
The Association have issued a quick guide to management models for worried consumers. Below is their 3 point test to ask a supplier before buying into the thinking.
- What is the underlying theory? Ask a potential supplier the mental model of work and people that his theory relies on. A good supplier will be able to state whether it relies on up-to-date knowledge about organisational complexity and how motivation in people actually work, backed up by scientific studies.
- Is there a lot of paper involved? A common symptom of cheap thinking is the idea that writing things down on paper has a huge influence on reality. Studies have shown that this is an urban myth, but one that will not die, especially in the public sector.
- Is it tool-heavy? Producers will often mask the blandness of cheap thinking with the addition of large amounts of tools, such as Value Stream Mapping or Performance Reviews. This will fool the consumer into thinking that they are doing something of value, when they are merely doing something.
This blog advises that no matter what the name of the thinking, if at heart it does not concentrate on purpose from the customers point of view, then it will give you botulism. Probably.