About a month or so ago I started getting loooaads of traffic for a really old post from when the blog was still good.
This one was about 4 German words we should all use, which is why it was called 4 German words we should all use. You should go read it, it’s quite good.
Anyway, I noticed that the source for the traffic was Google, meaning people were searching for something and it was directing them to this post.
I was curious so left a note on the post asking new arrivers where they’d come from. Turns out the word Verschlimmbesserung points to this post, if you google it and if you ignore Urban Dictionary which is the first link. So yay me.
This weird word is enjoying a brief period of being fashionable, it has appeared on some famous YouTuber’s..erm Youtube, and it also was on BBC radio! Go Verschlimmbesserung!
This is excellent because Verschlimmbesserung is a one word encapsulation of this entire blog.
If you’ve got this far and still haven’t clicked on my post, here is the definition…
“A supposed improvement that makes things worse.”
If that isn’t command and control management in one hard to pronounce word, then what is?
So, what’s the point of this post then?
I never set out to type blog posts about German compound words, and yet here we are. I also didn’t set out to type blog posts that anybody would ever actually read, and yet here we are as well. This got me thinking. I found out specifically who was coming for the delightful Verschlimbesserung, but I have also found out over the years who is coming for everything else too.
In short, I know who I am, I’m a chippy lower-middle class oik, but who are you?
Ok, you undoubtedly know who you are, but who are the other people who click on this nonsense? Ever since I started I’ve been keenly interested in why and how people get here.
I just fire up my phone and here I am, but other people have to know about this place or somehow are led here.
I’ve been keeping tabs, and here is who you lot all are. There’s roughly THREE types of people who follow this nonsense….
1: IT people
Loads of these. For some reason often from Finland. I think it could be because IT actually produce stuff, and so therefore have come up with models of “how to make stuff”? Unlike call centres etc, which don’t produce stuff. I HAVE heard of “Agile” and “scrum” and the like, though don’t want to know any more than that about those things, so I’m thinking there is a history of models of doing things in IT that just aren’t there in callcentres etc and this is why people come across this place. They are agilistas or whatever, and being IT types are also on the line, so and hence googling and following people who are akin to systems thinking they come across this place? You know, nerds
This is guessology of the crudest sort, but it’s all I have to go off, and I HAVE noticed that of all the corporate type functions, finance, legal, procurement etc, there is only IT in any appreciable numbers. I’m also guessing that they follow the usual route of dissatisfaction with the usual ways of doing things, and curiosity leads them to many places including this one. And as a provider of functionally illiterate systems-thinking memes, i salute you.
Or IT people are nerds.
2: Systemsy types
By which I mean, consultants, people who work as “improvement types” of a systemsy bent, individuals with a personal interest in and a pursuit of knowledge about systemsy things. People who are into organisations and why they are they way they are. Could be HR types, could be. No reason why not.
They run from people with Grand Titles like “Director of Systems Thinking” etc, to people who just have systemsy blogs to their name. Either way, they’re into improvement and organisations either professionally or unpaid, to keep their amateur status.
I’m guessing, again, that they come across this place as part of their ongoing professional or personal interest in organisations and why they don’t and could work properly. I’m in this group, but safeguarding my amateur status by being totally inept at it in real actual life.
I’ve noticed the more “practical” posts tend to resonate and get spread around a lot on twitter by this lot. Things like that marbles post or stuff to do with measures. From browsing around I’ve found out people actually went out and bought jars and marbles to do their own version! Fantastic.
And this one, this lot loved this one.
Best of all is the last group though…
3: Normal ordinary people
These are the best. This is what happens…
How would I know that somebody is a normal ordinary person? Well a person subscribes to blog…
Then I see who they are, roughly. Linkedin, or work email addresses tell you that, I’m not peering in their bathroom window at night or anything.
THEN somebody else from the same place soon afterwards signs up too, days or hours usually…
So now there’s a pattern. And then more….
I know then that they’ve shared links or posts around their colleagues and for some reason systemsy stuff resonates with a fair amount of people in the place. Not hundreds, but more than where I am. Which isn’t saying a lot. In fact it’s saying “more than none“.
Then I google said organisation, curious like, to find out more and turns out they’ve got someone in, like Vangrad, to turn the place systemsy.
Either that or a new broom has arrived to turn the place systemsy. Events happen, as events tend to do, and somebody googles a word they’ve heard like “demand” or “purpose” and hey presto they find something about the stuff they’ve been doing in meeting rooms, but this time with added knob jokes and crudely drawn cartoons.
As I often say when spotted copying cleverer people, I don’t create I curate. I don’t add something entirely new, I turn what exists into a slightly funner or at least shorter version of itself. This is a thing! There’s so many dull versions of systemsy stuff, or at least long versions, that funner and shorter is a viable alternative to those who don’t identify especially as systemsy types right now. “Just” normal ordinary people working in places that are getting better by studying work, thinking new thoughts and making things better.
This last lot of people are by far the most exciting. They are in banking call centres, insurance companies, large public sector organisations, all sorts. It is always exciting to see it start, as I know that means there are people who will be coming into work excited to do something worthwhile.
If you want to add a comment to say which of the 3 types you are, you are more than welcome as i love comments and finding out about people in other places doing systemsy things.
One more thing, as well as being number 2 for an obscure German word….
We are number 35!
The fantastic Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, has done a listing of the top management improvement blogs. Wallowing around in the unfashionable end at number 35 is this one.