Category Archives: all wrong

The 2,500 year old lesson everybody ignores cos it’s too hard

Harold MacMillan was once asked, what is most likely to blow governments off course, he replied… Events dear boy, events. And events is what organisations continue to believe will change things, events meaning one off things that happen. When they … Continue reading

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

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

I openly mock Myers Briggs, but an INTP would do

Remember the ThinkPurpose team role quiz? Well, turns out I was a racoon. But ignoring all the distastefulness of categorising people into 16 types in a Buzzfeed style quiz based on bleeding JUNGIAN ARCHETYPES, let’s… Oh, hang on…I CAN’T ignore this idiocy. … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, human brains are weird, psychology, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , | 35 Comments

The Law Of The Instrument

I can’t stand digital by default. -How about analogue by default instead? I can’t stand digital evangelists. -How about analogue evangelists instead? I can’t stand Head of Digital. -How about Head of Analogue instead? I can’t stand digital offering. -How about … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, public sector, systems thinking, tools | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

I am an average employee

Are you a great employee? I’m not, I’m totally average. On twitter I found this pic shared by someone, showing the purported different characteristics of Average and Great employees…. Average Employees vs. Great Employees https://t.co/kZBjuwzwvg — Paul Hopwood (@paulhopwood) October … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, psychology, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

The sun is in Uranus

This dude is an ASTROLOGER and… This dude is an ASTRONOMER. They LOOK very similar don’t they? Both staring up at stars, they both use telescopes, they both keep accurate records of  where astronomical bodies are in the night-sky. But … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, measures, setting a numerical target is like..., statistics, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Lean, ISO and 6 Sigma all walk into a bar. Hilarity ensues.

Rejoice! The three titans of ISO, Lean, AND 6th Sigma have come together in an unholy amalgam of codification! At last! Long time fans of onion-related blogs will no doubt remember my very first post, the epoch making “Things I no … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, inspection, lean thinking, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Three Reasons Why National Customer Service Week Is Rubbish! Again!

Balloons! Oh Christ no…..that means it’s National Customer Service Week! Again! As this mistake is repeated every year, I’ve decided to start repeating the exact same blog post I first did two years ago. So, here again is Three Reasons Why … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, customer, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

How to have an organisational detox!

Ever wanted to empty your mind of organisational bumf? Start again with a fresh clear mind, untainted by this year’s key strategic priority aims? This seasons value statements cluttering your head up too much to think straight? Have an organisational detox! The … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, plausible but untrue, systems thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

This mug cost £224,000,000

Well the mug itself didn’t but this is the only visible sign left in this building of a SIMPLY HUGE national computer system built at the cheap cheap rate of a quarter of a billion pounds. It was a database of every … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

You are no Daniel Kahneman, sir, and I would have you unhand me before I call the gendarmie

This is Daniel Kahneman He won a Nobel prize, he has written loads of books, all about how you think and how you make decisions. He has simply loads to offer to help people make better decisions. You’d think that people … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, psychology, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , , | 6 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One weird trick to outfox the Henry Ford gambit

I done got a letter from a reader! Here is a dramatic reconstruction…. Remember these two diagrams? THIS one, the usual, the boring old triangle? And then there is this one, the one thats not a triangle, the one that … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, plausible but untrue, public sector, purpose, strategic, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , ,

Hitler gets the SATS results

See, even Hitler was driven to tears by irrational target based standard setting.

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

Why I hate Ofsted

I’ve got an eleven year old in final year of primary school and Ofsted are ruining his education. Next week is SATS week. In that week children of the same age all around the country will be tested on how … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Why the [insert favourite] sector is best

This is Michael Portillo on my telly five minutes ago on BBC1 TV programme “This Week” speaking complete… He was talking about a revolting scandal in a hospital that came to light. In a hospital midwives who were infatuated with … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , ,

Seinfeld explains the great big fat work lie

******I’ve had feedback that these Gifs will take forever to load. They’re not static pics. That’s just your net speed. But it’s worth the wait, they’re HILARIOUS I promise you ******* There’s a cult of work as pure activity in … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, customer, public sector, strategic, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

The difference between lean and systems thinking

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker

Posted in all wrong, lean thinking, purpose, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Fedoras and other hallmarks of failure

Have you noticed the HUGE amount of men in their 20s and 30s who wear Fedoras? A fedora is a hat that Humphrey Bogart or Indiana Jones wears. However the typical fedora wearer these days looks more like this… As Urban Dictionary … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, systems thinking, thinking, tools, vanguard method | Tagged , ,

Curry by default

Yes, you heard, don’t act shocked.

Posted in all wrong, customer, public sector, systems thinking, systemz comix | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

A spotters guide to strategy.

You’ll not find it in the expected places… Strategy is not in a PowerPoint or a document. Strategy doesn’t happen in meeting rooms or on the top floor. Strategy is in management thinking about work, their assumptions about how it … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, strategic, very short posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

12 Years as a slave

This is from the book “12 Years as a slave” by Solomon Northup, describing how cotton picking was managed on the plantation. “An ordinary day’s work is two hundred pounds. A slave who is accustomed to picking, is punished, if … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, targets | Tagged | 3 Comments

This is what your brain looks like on Command & Control

We know it makes you stupid, but if you still think plans, policies and strategies are Good Things, why not spend your day acting according to a document written 6 months ago by a complete stranger? Try it.. You could have … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, leadership, plans, purpose, strategic, systems thinking | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Stay safe, stay stupid

THANKS ZOMBIE DEMING! Enough of systems thinking, let’s talk stupid. Stupid is normally easy to spot. It’s walking into doors, slipping over banana skins and the like. But what happens if “stupid” is so normal, that nobody notices it? What … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, plausible but untrue, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Quick! To the Puppy Room!

Where could stressed staff retreat to to escape the hurly burly of organisational life? The endless complexity, troubling questions with no immediate answers and the work that won’t work, where to go to escape it and be rejuvenated by something … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, leadership, plausible but untrue, systems thinking | Tagged , | 3 Comments

How to achieve immortality in one easy step

Do you want to be remembered in your workplace? Want to be talked about when you’ve gone as that person who…? Here’s how in one easy step. Step one… 1: Do work that helps the end customer That’s it. Whether … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, public sector, purpose, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How do YOU waste time at work?

1: Performance manage at the strategic level What is said: “We performance manage at a higher level, conversations happen between senior leaders where we challenge delivery of outcomes, and identify where performance is slipping” What actually happens: Managers gossip about … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, learning, public sector, setting a numerical target is like..., statistics, systemz comix, targets | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How not to be loved

How needy are YOU? Take this test to find out! Question 1 How much do you want to feel loved? A: I am a strong independent soul who doesn’t need but will gratefully accept loving. B: I need a cuddle. If … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

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

Value for money is the breakfast of champions!

Value for money. That’s what. The public sector and Council’s in particular are obsessed with “value for money”. Or rather obsessed with the phrase, and where they are on associated league tables that purport to answer the foolish question they ask themselves, … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, public sector, questions | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

One good thing about performance appraisals

The effect is exactly the opposite of what the words promise. Everyone propels himself forward, or tries to, for his own good, on his own life preserver. The organization is the loser. Merit rating rewards people who do well within … Continue reading

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

How to spot when you are getting poor customer service

There is one foolproof method to spot when you are getting terrible  customer service… You have to give GREAT customer service I often have to ring a helpdesk  for some assistance, that is so poor that I have to make sure … Continue reading

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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

9 simple reasons why performance management is bollocks

There is no such thing as “performance” to be “managed” Plans are monitored instead of reality. It involves people completely ignorant about an area of complex work making judgements on it using a coloured shape. Invariably a green one. It … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, public sector, very short posts | Tagged | 5 Comments

How to ruin a perfectly good performance measure

If you really want to ruin a good performance measure, you should give it to a performance management officer. I should know, I am one! But some organisations aren’t lucky/big enough to have any, so if you don’t have access … Continue reading

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

How to change nothing in 9 easy steps

People are always trying to improve work, with little to no success. Despite this the plucky little blighters keep on at it. Me too! Very recently I have attended or facilitated myself 2 sessions that I thought would change the … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, change, command and control, thinking | 8 Comments