Poof goes the purpose

“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.” G.K. Chesterton

Anything goes when purpose isn’t there to tie everyone to reality. There’s no fad too superficial, no gimmick too glib, no novelty too silly. When purpose has gone the criteria is what feels good not what is good.

The same goes for this blog.

The purpose of it is “blog about systems thinking. Deming and Vanguardabout ME doing it, an amateur…It is about the onion patch and doing guerilla systems thinking..I am an amateur trying things out, one with little experience and too much book learning.”

But at work I am not “doing guerilla systems thinking“, or “trying things out”, I’m a Policy Officer if you didn’t know by now. We don’t do useful or real things, preferring to stick to paper-space rather than the messy world of meat-space.

I still type stuff here, as it’s enjoyable, but it is not the same as purposeful. So until I start doing something systemsy, if I want to type things into a blog I should be typing it into a different blog. When/if I do get the chance to start doing something systemsy, I’ll come back here and type about it. Ideally that would be next week but I doubt it as it has been almost two years since I’ve had a beneficial effect on core council services, i.e. the purpose of the council, so don’t hold your breath that the next post will be next week.

I’ve tried to do things to bring systemsy stuff to managers attention, and I will try to keep on doing it. The problem is there is so much noise in Local Governement. Just from people sitting around me we are bombarding managers with “GIVE ME YOUR QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE UPDATE”, “GIVE ME YOUR POSITION STATEMENT”, “HERE IS AN INFORMATION STRATEGY I WANT YOUR FEEDBACK FOR”.

Add in the noise from initiatives from Human Resources, Finance, Legal, the political side, THEN add in the “normal” noise and demands from being, say, a manager in charge of vulnerable kids who need protecting from nasty people or themselves. THEN add in a continually reducing budget. That is a lot of noise. What are the chances that more noise will make a manager prick up their ears?

Seth Godin has a story about a purple cow.


So if MY cow is purple enough, some manager somewhere might be dissatisfied enough and curious enough to take a closer look.

Or not, as the case may be, The odds are against it.

Till then…

systems thinking

Keep systems thinking and have a lovely day!

This entry was posted in clarity of purpose, communication, me doing it, systems thinking and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Poof goes the purpose

  1. i am in just the same situation as you. Different job same situation. Not DOING it but reading and thinking and blogging. At least we can blog rather than just exploding with frustration!


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      Yes, it is excellent for mental digestion and frustration. But I’ve noticed that the ideas are harder to come by now, living off something from ages ago. I am champing at the bit to do something useful, and I wouldn’t want blog to look like I already was doing something useful. Or turn it into a blog about being annoyed I didn’t have anything useful to do. Which it pretty much is, unless I leaven the bitterness and misery with a dash of something good and useful.


  2. I hear you. Keep the faith. Play the long game.


  3. Fried Ape says:

    Please don’t lose heart and do keep blogging. You raise my spirits.


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      Thank you that’s nice, but I would t want to put tripe here if that’s the only thing I have to put here.
      And BY GOD you must be in trouble if THIS stuff raises your spirits!


      • Fried Ape says:

        Not so much in trouble, but it’s nice to hear a friendly voice in the trenches. You have also sent my thinking off in new directions. I decided to start my guerilla movement by teaching people how to use control charts.
        Drop me a private note if you want to talk about things you could do – we have some shared experience.
        Best wishes, whatever you decide to do.


  4. It just occurred to me — perhaps you misperceive your purpose? Or perhaps what your purpose was is not your purpose now? Perhaps your work is simply the fuel to provide the energy for your blogging, and the influence of your blogging is your purpose and power?

    Consider: I am thousands of miles away, in the USA, a couple of hours away from “going on holiday” many more thousands of miles away, and I’m thinking about you and your work and your blogging and your purpose …

    That’s power, no? And purpose …


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      That’s very interesting. A recent change of administration here has led to a new manager saying very similar. That me being paid by this organisation whilst other organisations benefit is silly. I agree. There was a post I did “4 charts I can’t put in a performance report” that some senior bod from a national organisation said THEY would be putting into a report about performance management and taking into THEIR boardroom.
      And I appreciate this is something quite cool. I am mind blown that the Internet is such a level playing field that influence can be democratised so radically compared with organisations.

      However I am keen not to type stuff I’m not excited by, and what excites me is discovering new things, or new aspects of things, and I’m just not discovering or learning at the moment, and haven’t been for a while.

      I’d rather go away and do exciting new things and come back with them, that would be a worthwhile gap.
      I’m going to keep on paying for the website name, so it doesn’t lapse.


  5. 1515vcs says:

    Things are pretty noisy at my work too and it is hard to focus on doing the right thing so I sympathise. I really hope you don’t stay away too long as I enjoy reading what you write (type) and the words often spark off explosions of ideas in my brain. A good thing.

    All the best for your onions, may your sets take root and make a real difference.

    Till the next time…so long


  6. Morag McGill says:

    Gut reaction: I’m going to MISS your posts so much! I so enjoy your intellect, the way you share your thoughts with guts and humour…. a bend towards the “systemsy possible” whilst anchored to reality. I love your transparency. I understand your reasoning and – ok I won’t hold my breath – but I’m looking forward to hearing back from you either following your desired chance to implement or because you took up the suggestion to re-examine your purpose. “Arrivederci ” (I live and work from Italy and you’ve reached out all the way over here too…albeit I work not with Public clients but multinationals…still find your thnking refreshing ad relevant) THANKS and “see” you back soon.


  7. richardprichard says:

    Years ago I was faced with a tricky choice. To stay in [what appeared at the time to be] a safe local govt job or to accept an offer working on a time-limited contract.
    I’m not normally good at schmoozing and networking but I had adoped one of the Asst Directors there as a kind of mentor. I shared my problem with him. He was a firm believer in managing yourself and career proactively and consciously. He shared his technique with me: Begin with where you want to be in 5 yrs. Does choice ‘A’ or ‘B’ bring it nearer or make it more likely ?

    The point I’m trying to make is that this blog is an excellent asset for you to use to bring about your 5yr goal. It demonstrates you can think for yourself, communicate really well and cope with the ridiculousness of it all. If you continue to post the transition to doing something more aligned with your passions becomes more likely than if you stop. This is part of your CV.

    May you live in interesting times.


  8. ThinkPurpose says:

    Yes Mr Rich Pritch, you are correct about the CV business. It’s quite useful having something to point to and say “that’s me, that there”. It will still be here. I could even, if need be, take the date of posts off the screen, so it isn’t tied to a date and time.

    I read last week Noel Gallagher described his brother Liam as “the angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup.”. I wouldn’t want the blog to be me waving my fork around shouting “WHAT’S ALL THIS SOUP BUSINESS! YOU NEED A FORK YOU DO!” which I think it was in danger of becoming. People seem content enough in the main to continue eating their soup with a spoon as they aren’t aware that solid food exists as a concept. Soup isn’t good enough for me but who am I to disabuse people that there are other foods more substantial that not only requires a fork, but a knife and a set of sound teeth to chomp with.
    Sounds like a lot of hard work all that. Easier to keep on dribbling soup down your tie.


  9. Pingback: The day I became a Policy Officer | thinkpurpose

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