Author Archives: ThinkPurpose

Why do you need a hole in your head?

Why is it that a…  …is a really essential thing to have? Here’s why! You’re the head cook in a primary school. It’s your job to design the menu and make the meals. You want to make the healthiest food … Continue reading

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Ooooohhh Matron!

Originally posted on thinkpurpose:
  Quick! This patient is haemorrhaging fast! We need to get him to the Lean Project Room! Nurse, 30 mils of Takttime and VSM intravenous! Intubate and bag him! He’s going AS-IS!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Why Not to Trust Statistics

Originally posted on Math with Bad Drawings:
Math with Bad Drawings View original post

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How to spoil someone for work (for ever more)

  There were 7 reasons why you shouldn’t touch systems thinking, and here’s an 8th… 8: You might get a sniff of systemsy heaven, but then end up working in command and control hell. Systems thinking makes no promises about being … Continue reading

Posted in systems thinking, systemz comix, targets | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Are you a policy fashion victim?

I’m a big fan of Nassim Taleb but clearly he’s no fan of the likes of me. My one saving grace?  I do deadlift, 127.5kg for 6 reps, Mr Taleb. He’s never heard of me, but he knows my type.  I’m a … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Look around my eyes, don’t look into my eyes. LASER BEAMS come out ’em

I am trained in advanced persuasion and negotiation. Advanced, mind. So much so that you really should look around my eyes, not into my eyes, cos God knows what I could do with my madd skillz in brain manipulation. This … Continue reading

Posted in experiment, plausible, plausible but untrue, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The 1 thing nobody has ever said about a scorecard (and the 7 things they often do)

What people often say about scorecards 1. This colour symbol is wrong, shouldn’t it be a green? 2. Why isn’t that an up arrow? 3. There’s a spelling mistake in the comments 4. The formatting is slightly off. Needs more … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, measures, purpose, questions, systems thinking, targets, thinking | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

The Systemsy Policy Officer takes a bow

There’s loads of models of work hanging around. Everybody has one. There’s the dopey triangles with important people at the pointy end… There’s the more credible, though no less hopeful, model of a sensible organisation designing their system around purpose … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

E=Q*A FFS!

In my last post we all had a good giggle about how some improvement methods relegate the actual improvement to an afterthought, with managers doing it as a result of being sold and persuaded of a really good idea provided to … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, lean thinking, plausible but untrue, public sector, systems thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Is this true?

Every organisation is a learning organisation. It’s just that most aren’t very good at it at all. Yes, I said it. A learning organisation is just any organisation, whether it chooses to learn how to get better at pursuing its … Continue reading

Posted in learning, systems thinking, very short posts | Tagged , | 21 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

I’ve had it with average and why you should too

Who’s the biggest out of these two guys? Is it the guy on the left? He’s barrel chested, bulky looking guy. Could be. But he’s kind of short. What about the guy on the right? He’s biggest cos he’s taller? … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, data, knowledge, statistics, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

3 more things performance management GETS ALL WRONG

As Jay Z asserts, there is plenty wrong with performance management. And here’s 3 more! Name  The reverse pantomime horse gambit What is it? An organisation decides to do something, writes down a group of words and calls it an objective/goal/priority AND THEREFORE IT … Continue reading

Posted in data, measures, public sector, statistics, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to be fooled by randomness

This is a roulette wheel. It is a machine for producing numbers between 0 and 36. Sometimes it produces a 7… Then sometimes it produces a 13… If a 7 is produced on one spin and a 13 on the … Continue reading

Posted in data, leadership, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How to learn Kung Fu in 1 easy step

Q: How do you learn Kung Fu? A: Attend a 1 hour training session in Kung Fu. Hey presto…. April Fool! That won’t work, if you want to know Kung Fu you’d have to train for years. One hour will do … Continue reading

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

7 signs it is all going to go wrong

1: Men with pens in rooms If you’re in a room with men with pens, just leave. It will inevitably result in documents. Certain and self assured documents. That’s what the pens are for. If you’re in a room with … Continue reading

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

Give it away for FREE!

Imagine you go to a bus-stop and take out a ten pound note and shout to the people waiting…. Everybody will think you’re mad and ignore you. Now imagine you took that £10 and posted it through your neighbour’s letterbox. … Continue reading

Posted in communication, customer, learning, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Service Level Agreement- 3 little lies

A Service Level Agreement sounds so reasonable. Eminently reasonable. It sets out explicitly what will be done for a customer. A service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a service provider (either internal or external) and the end user … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

I’m a glittering generality!

I have a job! A proper job which pays taxes, but I’m no hard working taxpayer. This is not because I’m bone idle, though I am, but because “hard working taxpayers” don’t exist. There are people who work hard at a job, … Continue reading

Posted in communication, plans, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I don’t know much about control charts (but I know what I like)

I’ve never been trained in using control charts, never passed a test or worked with anyone who’s knowledgeable in them. Everything I’ve learned has been off of the Internet Or books, books as well, they’re famously good for learning. Cunninghams Law … Continue reading

Posted in data, deming, information, learning, measures, statistics, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Do you pretend to do pretend work?

Originally posted on thinkpurpose:
Is this work? No, it’s art. It’s the minimum wage machine! The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 4.97 seconds, for $7.25 an hour…

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Who’s the cynic?

Originally posted on thinkpurpose:
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…

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What fresh hell is THIS?

No fresh hell sweetie. Just the latest incarnation of a stale and very familiar hell. Do you recognise this… yawning at yet another exactly-the-same organisational transformation? wiping sleep out of your eyes at yet another whizz-bang IT venture that’ll save lots … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, 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

The one thing you shouldn’t bother changing and the one thing you should

Lots of organisations try to change culture. They try and change that loads. But nobody really knows what it is. Not enough to point at and say “that’s culture there” and “that isn’t“. The Harvard Business Review says… “there is … Continue reading

Posted in change, command and control, plausible but untrue, psychology, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Audis in houses

Originally posted on As Easy As Riding A Bike:
Note This piece really isn’t intended to make the case that drivers of Audis are worse than drivers of any other vehicle. That may or may not be the case; I wouldn’t like…

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Miss Universe and who’s to blame

Miss Colombia was crowned Miss Universe 2015! And THEN a few minutes later, the tiara was removed from her head, the sash from her shoulders and put on Miss Philippines. Miss Philippines was now Miss Universe instead of poor Miss … Continue reading

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The Zinn Principle

We were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed … Continue reading

Posted in learning, questions, systems thinking | Tagged | 2 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

Posted in change, command and control, learning, public sector, systems thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Not one reply

Exactly a week ago I invited readers to send in their own stories about how offering data, creating normative learning opportunities and plain nagging had resulted in some type of systemsy incident. That it is possible to create change upwards … Continue reading

Posted in change, deming, leadership, psychology, systems thinking, thinking, vanguard method | Tagged | 24 Comments

Write your own blog post!

Posted in systems thinking, systemz comix, vanguard method | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Dr Cameron’s advice to councils: apply more leeches

Originally posted on Flip Chart Fairy Tales:
The Oxford Mail has published an exchange of letters between David Cameron and the Conservative leader of his local council, Ian Hudspeth, in which the prime minister expresses his concern about cuts to local services. In reply,…

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Why I cannot stand leaders

I just cannot stand leaders. Simply cannot stand the very idea of leaders. Look at them! Look how special they think they are! Look how special we think they are. It’s our own fault, we fetishize them. We call them … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, knowledge, leadership, systems thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

The Chris Pratt dance-off against Organisational Transformation programmes everywhere!

*****The gifs take a while to load, they’re not just photos but actually move. Worth the wait. **** Possibly the funkiest take down of Organisational Transformation programmes you’ll see this week…. Like all good systems thinkers everywhere Chris Pratt, or … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, leadership, systems thinking, systemz comix, vanguard method | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wanted: Effective person to make efficiencies

I came across a job description. It was for a Business Transformation Improvement type. The document contains the word “efficiency” or variations thereof, 4 times. All in the context of “making” efficiencies. The word “effective”, or variations thereof,  is in … Continue reading

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

250,000 ways to be a management consultant

Tomorrow my blog should hit a quarter of a million views. Yay me. This actually means nothing at all. It’s an arbitrary number that allows me to use the word “million” and thus transfer some glamour onto the act of … Continue reading

Posted in public sector, strategic, systems thinking, thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , | 27 Comments

A paper exercise

Once upon a time I had to write a plan. I was the Directorate Performance Management officer, so I wrote the Directorate Plan. I sat at my dining room table and I WROTE A PLAN. Except I didn’t. I wrote on … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, plans, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

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

I’m not touching that, it’ll do me back in!

This settee is crucial to this post , so take a good look at it. Harder. Go on, put your nose right up to it. This nasty looking thing used to be in my living room, there’s paint on it … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, public sector, purpose, systems thinking, systemz comix, vanguard method | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

The Systems Thinking Drinking Game

If you’ve been trying to introduce systems thinking into your organisation for a bit,  you’ll have heard the same things trotted out as excuses reasons why not give it a go. So here’s The Systems Thinking Drinking Game! It will … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, lean thinking, systems thinking, vanguard method, very short posts | Tagged | 3 Comments

“I’m sorry, but we are a big company” – a fragment about scale

Brilliant post about how scaling an organisation up seems to hard wire failure demand into their very organisational structure. VgVg.

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When I hear the word “values”… I reach for my gin

That man was a Nazi, and this blog has no truck with that, but I have a similar reaction to talk of organisational culture, in particular, values I don’t get values. I think they’ve been spoiled for me by too … Continue reading

Posted in change, public sector, systems thinking, thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

A manager’s guide to good and bad measures

How can you tell if you’ve been sold a pup? If some performance spod is fobbing you off with nonsense instead of good sound performance information? Just check what’s put in front of you against this 5 point guide to … Continue reading

Posted in measures, systems thinking, targets, vanguard method | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Slurs: Who Can Say Them, When, and Why

Originally posted on The Weekly Sift:
Why President Obama can say “nigger” and I can’t (except when I can) Maybe the best treatment of racial slurs ever to appear in a movie was this scene from the 2006 film Clerks…

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Productivity stuck on auto-creep

Originally posted on Flip Chart Fairy Tales:
Tim Scott’s piece on productivity earlier this week led me to this ACAS report on the subject. As you might expect, they focus on what has been happening in the workplace: A range of…

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40 percent

Originally posted on Distant Ramblings on the Horizon:
This story about Ofsted re-configuring its workforce is interesting. As I see it there are two possibilities. The first is the simplest and, for Ofsted the least damaging. I say ‘least damaging’…

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The house that looks like Hitler

Remember the house that looks like Hitler? Course you do, it’s a house that looks like Hitler. What’s to forget? There’s loads of things that look like faces. There is the tampon machine that just loves checkin’ the ladies out… … Continue reading

Posted in human brains are weird, information, psychology, statistics, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

People rate opinion over reality, cos reality’s all facts and that

I was in a training room recently, with a bunch of people from around the council, and it was very dispiriting Because there wasn’t a lot to fill the time in, there were lots of STORIES being regailed to the room from … Continue reading

Posted in human brains are weird, learning, psychology | Tagged , , ,