Search Results for: targets

Only bullies, cowards or fools set targets

This is the story of a teacher in a UK school who was set a target of 75% exam pass rate. This summer the pass rate was 65%. If we ignore all the things we know about measures and targets … Continue reading

Posted in systems thinking, targets | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Why targets are good

Targets are good. They work. Comparing this quarters performance with last quarters, is good. It works Benchmarking performance against a group of other organisations, is good. That works too. Calm down! Let’s go back a bit…. Q: What’s the first … Continue reading

Posted in data, systems thinking, targets, thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What happens when targets die?

Tell someone that targets don’t work, and it’s like telling them someone had just died. In a way it has, a small bit of their mind has ceased to be, the bit that made sense of work and how it … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, systems thinking, systemz comix, targets | 9 Comments

Zombie Deming advises on the use of targets

Targets! Robust! Stretch! Aspirational! Bollocks. When the Audit Commission was around targets were everywhere. Partly due to the existence of a national framework of indicators that Local Authorities and lots of other public sector bodies had to report against. With … Continue reading

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3 reasons why I hate pretty graphs

People prefer the pretty guy over the uglier guy cos they like pretty things more than they like things that are right. For over a decade I’ve been working in an area where the obsession has been about finding just … Continue reading

Posted in data, measures, statistics, systems thinking, thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Folk management

How do you think organisations work? This is how Jeremy thinks his boiler works…. This is what a fair few people including me think a boiler works like. Not in as obviously ludicrous way, but  comments I’ve sourced from nearby … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

The secret management model that must not be named

It’s my annual appraisal tomorrow, the lowlight of my year. I announce my opinion of appraisals out loud, and nobody disagrees, most agree, for the usual reasons. “why once a year do you talk about work and how it’s going? … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, plans, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Why WIFFY’s are bad and to be squashed at birth

YEARS ago some clever lady told me… Avoid What If’s, these are called WIFFYs. Never allow them. If you see somebody asking “But…what if?” stop them there and then and ask “has it? do we have data that it is? … Continue reading

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I am totally negative

I am relentlessly negative about all of the following -Targets -Plans -Best practice -Benchmarking -Strategic awaydays -Strategic plans -Strategic anythings -Performance appraisals -Service Standards -Scrums (outside of a rugby game) -Trendlines -Assessments for access to services -Policies -Target operating models … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control | Tagged | 1 Comment

Reality has a liberal bias

This is a  quote from an American comedian, taking the mickey out of imaginary Republicans complaining that reality itself is as biased as the liberal-elite media against Republican beliefs and actions. It is a joke about how people convinced they … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, public sector, statistics, systems thinking, targets | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Why killing Sweat Angels is the most valuable work I do all day

Most readers of this blog probably sit behind a desk all day, like me. Sipping tea in nice surroundings with nice people. They don’t have to push a mop around the floor cleaning up after others. Dreaming about the dignity … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, purpose, systems thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a pony

You’ll not like this, but you’re not getting a pony for Christmas. You’re also not going to persuade your organisation to go systemsy.  You’re not going to get managers to ditch targets. You’ll not be introducing control charts throughout the … Continue reading

Posted in change, systems thinking | Tagged | 4 Comments

Why you SHOULDN’T try to improve performance measures!

Imagine you come across a right mess of performance tat, all targets and comparisons against this time last year. Like this!   You’d want to try and fix it wouldn’t you? Turn them into measures of purpose, chuck the targets and … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, measures, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

I turned down a 40% pay rise…here’s why!

Years ago I turned down opportunity of a 40% pay rise. Here’s what happened…. When I came into work there were 4 emails from colleagues, all saying the same thing… APPLY FOR THIS JOB. A job was advertised paid more, … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, knowledge, lean thinking, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

Naughty…but nice

Say the phrase “Command and control management” out loud. Doesn’t sound nice does it? What do you think when you hear it? Things like… Call centre staff told to poo on their own time. Hospital patients dying to meet hospital targets. … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, change, command and control, public sector, systems thinking, thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

How NOT to do demand

Just like Batman, demand management is an insane attempt to solve a problem. In this case demand  management is an attempt to solve the problem of less money in the public sector, but in a totally insane way. We here … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, clarity of purpose, command and control, Demand, purpose, systems thinking, targets, vanguard method | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

How to write a report (part two)

Remember last week’s post told you all about How To Write A Report? To write a lush report you’ve got to remember not to just report numbers and facts but actually do some analysing because… The purpose of analysis is … Continue reading

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How to write a report (part one)

Hi! If you’re anything like me, you’re an office drone who types for a living. It isn’t as important as making things or healing people, but it IS a living. One of the main tasks of modern-day typists like me is … Continue reading

Posted in communication, public sector, purpose, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

The Spice of Life

Originally posted on Squire to the Giants:
Variety is the spice of life. If everything were the same it would be rather boring. Happily, there is natural variety in everything. Let me use an example to explain: I was thinking…

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The loneliest whale in the world.

Meet the loneliest whale in the world. She doesn’t speak the same language as other whales so they can’t hear her. This is the same as systemsy talking. Once your mental model changes from stupid ol’ command and control to … Continue reading

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Your cheatsheet for why league tables are total balls

Public Sector bodies waste huge amounts of money on total balls. One of the most futile are the self-created league tables of performance indicators, showing where their organisation is on sorted lists against other similar organisations. Even though the government got rid … Continue reading

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All children in Rotherham are safe

All children in Rotherham are safe. Sounds pretty sick doesn’t it? These aren’t my words, they are what the “Performance & Quality” team of Rotherham Council said here. Look….   This is a coloured scorecard, green signifies that that particular “theme” … Continue reading

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How to hide Fred in a performance report

These are clients of an Adult Social Care service, look how unhappy they are… These are the symbols on the performance report for that very same service…. Why are these so different? The faces of the old people are measuring … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, customer, data, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How to run a call centre

The following story was provided by a fellow onion working somewhere in the world. I’ve changed the details to provide anonymity. …there was a company that wanted to find out how to sell more to its customers. It bought a voice recognition … Continue reading

Posted in RuinedByBestEfforts, systemz comix, targets, tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

25 things (that just might work) about measuring the right thing

I’ve concocted 25 suggestions, questions, hints and tips for a colleague policy officer who has seen the systemsy light yet still faces the task that everybody else hasn’t. Here they are. One just might work. All might be complete duff. No … Continue reading

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How do you make it hard to find a job?

It is hard enough to find a job if you need one, but if you don’t work, the system that is supposed to support you find a job certainly doesn’t work too. It is broken at the most crucial part … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, public sector, purpose, systems thinking, systemz comix | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Who’s the cynic?

What’s worse? A dreamer or a cynic? Seth Godin posted his answer to that question last week. And got it all wrong.. So wrong, that here it is in full. Let’s see what he has to say… The selfish cynic … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, psychology, purpose, systems thinking | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Reductio ad Hitlerum

Everyone knows Godwin’s Law, the First Law Of The Internet that broadly says in an internet argument the first person to invoke comparisons with the Nazis has lost. I think this is unfair, not on the Nazis obviously, but on … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, public sector | Tagged , | 4 Comments

What is Tiny Data and why is it crucial?

We all know that Big Data is cack. “So if you don’t like Big Data, what’s your alternative then?”, I hear nobody cry. There’s all sorts of data, here’s some definitions I just made up. Definitions Big Data: Data and … Continue reading

Posted in data, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Why I care about systems thinking

If I worked in a real job I mightn’t care, as I’d have the job to care about so I might never have got interested. But I don’t, so I did. My job is promoting and implementing an incorrect theory. … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged | 3 Comments

How to handle raw meat

Q: If the chef wiped his arse on this lovely piece of steak before cooking it for you, should you worry? (i)Yes, (ii) no or (iii) it depends? You should worry. There is a legal requirement in the UK that … Continue reading

Posted in knowledge, psychology, systems thinking | Tagged | 2 Comments

A load of old cobblers

Who’s got the mankiest shoes? Cobblers! They spend so much time mending other people’s shoes that they have no time to mend their own. There is a “humorous” saying in large organisations that HR have the worst sickness, Finance are … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Arse about face

We are coming up with this years Council Plan right now. There are a different amount of groupings, 3 so far, last year there were 5. They might be called themes, last year they were called priorities. Each year we … Continue reading

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Wake up! It’s Quarter 4 reporting!

The same thing is happening again, so the same blog post is here again. Why bother writing anything else new? This is the enduring feature of organisations that don’t/can’t learn, they not only stay stuck, their stuckness is invisible to … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, leadership, plans | Tagged | 1 Comment

Grow your own Performance Management Officer

I went to see my 9 year olds school work at his school this week, much to my dismay I found they were training him up to work in Performance Management. This is what he is learning. This is a … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, communication, learning, public sector | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Kittens are nice

Here is a kitten in a cup. It is nice. Shall I tell you what isn’t nice though? Using performance indicators to “measure outcomes” in return for money. It is also called payment by results, it is used in a … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, public sector, targets | Tagged , | 3 Comments

3 mindblowing assumptions of performance staff

I work right at the empty heart of command and control in corporate performance monitoring. Here you will find the usual nonsense about targets and benchmarking and that, but there’s also some others weirder assumptions, ones that people don’t usually … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, psychology, public sector, systemz comix | Tagged | 2 Comments

I am Spartacus! And so’s my wife!

This year I came out. Lots of people knew I was that way inclined and in front of them I didn’t have to hide, but I wasn’t totally out. To some people I pretended and in some circumstances I pretended. There was … Continue reading

Posted in change, learning, me doing it, systems thinking | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Knowledge is not Opinion

If I’ve learned anything at work, it’s that work isn’t much a place for learning. There’s plenty more in other places that go into whys and wherefores of this. Both me complaining and others explaining. This isn’t about that. But specifically… Whatever … Continue reading

Posted in experiment, knowledge, learning, systems thinking | Tagged | 4 Comments

Wake up! It’s Quarter 3 reporting!!

Weeee! It’s Quarter 3 performance reporting! This time of year nobody works harder in a Local Authority than a Policy Officer. Not gritter drivers, not the bin men driving through icy streets. Not nobody. Once every three months I get … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, leadership, plans | Tagged | 2 Comments

An open letter to corporate colleagues EVERYWHERE!

Hi! Do you work in the corporate part of the public sector? The bit in the middle that is often called Chief Executives Directorate, or Organisational Services and changes its name every two years? Me too! You’re probably worried about … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, public sector, thinking | Tagged | 3 Comments

It’s not rocket science

Rocket science? Piss easy. Just maths with equations calculators and that. Rocket engineering on the other hand…ROCK HARD The equations and science behind rockets are relatively straight forward (I am reliably informed by the internet). But the engineering of that, … Continue reading

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Futile Flipcharts

I saw this flip chart yesterday, left behind in a meeting room.  I felt so sorry for those beleaguered slightly pathetic three words, curvy bubble and wonky line. I thought, “they deserve more than this, let’s make them famous!”, or as famous … Continue reading

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Diet Shmyat

What diet are you on? South Beach? The Zone? Atkins? You ARE on one, even though it may not have a name. Although what we eat doesn’t have a name that it’s commonly known as, “the modern diet” is a thing. … Continue reading

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How to make a pig fatter (part 2 of 2)

The best customer feedback I’ve ever seen. And nobody asked them for it. Customers were so delighted at their re-designed service they spontaneously said these words. But before all this, before the thinking changed the service, this was how we … Continue reading

Posted in customer, knowledge, me doing it, systems thinking, systems thinking in housing benefits | Tagged | 1 Comment

You and whose Broom Army?

Are you going to clean up the mess the Audit Commission has left behind? The AC aren’t, so who is? They left behind a terrible legacy in the public sector, destructive ideas around plans, targets, standards and all the paraphernalia of a command and control … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, public sector | Tagged | 6 Comments

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 … Continue reading

Posted in change, command and control, purpose, systems thinking, Uncategorized, vanguard method | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Zombie Deming takes issue with a poster

Oh dear! Somebody should have warned him! So, what would cause a perfectly sane manager to stick “WORK HARDER” posters up and not expect to be lynched? Command and control thinking as at it’s heart control through commands. The purpose … Continue reading

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John Seddon is not systems thinking

Truth or Lie? Read on to find out… One of the cool things about WordPress is that you can see what people have entered into search engines that pointed them to your blog. Some people find mine through phrases such … Continue reading

Posted in John Seddon, systems thinking, thinking, Uncategorized, vanguard method | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Turf Wars

Never: play pool with a man named after an American city (eg. Cincinnati Joe, The New Orleans Kid) fight a European war on two fronts (eg. Hitler, Napoleon) try to argue somebody into Systems Thinking (eg. Me) That last one’s … Continue reading

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