Category Archives: command and control

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

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

Posted in command and control, communication, human brains are weird, psychology, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to create phonecalls you don’t want

Step 1: Do something that doesn’t solve the customer’s problem for them. Step 2: Err… that’s it. A fellow onion informs me of the fantastic efforts of a Government benefits department to create phonecalls from nothing. The department has to pay … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, customer, public sector, systems thinking, thinking, vanguard method | 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

Why public sector IT is like a fart

A council faced with an IT product WILL buy it in the end. It’s like holding in a fart. Sooner or later it’s going to happen, and nothing can hold it back forever.

Posted in command and control, public sector, RuinedByBestEfforts, systems thinking, tools | Tagged , , ,

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

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

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

Merry Triangle! Again

Remember when I used to hate triangles? Still do. So here’s my most hate filled post about them from 2 years ago, to advertise ThinkPurpose’s Christmas break. Ho ho ho, etc  

Posted in command and control, systems thinking, systemz comix | Tagged ,

What writing this blog taught me about pull

There’s always been a strong tang of resigned self pity running through this blog, like the reek of faeces in a brace of grilled andouillettes. This post however should truly please the connoisseur of bleak despair. Read on, and enjoy … Continue reading

Posted in change, command and control, me doing it, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , ,

You are not a dog

I am not a dog. You are probably not a dog. So if you aren’t a dog why do you need…training? I was doing some work with a service and before we had even started gathering data, the number one … Continue reading

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

9 more ways to tell you have a Joke Job

As per previous post, there are many types of Joke Jobs in C&C land. Here are 9 ways to tell you might have one of them. You type a lot of words. If you’re typing, try speaking. If there’s too … Continue reading

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

Do you have a joke job?

I think “manager” is a Joke Job. I feel sorry for the people who are managers, they’ve been duped into believing that working hard and doing things right will be rewarded with a bigger and better job. In fact they’ve … Continue reading

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

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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3 signs that you don’t like your customers

Public sector organisations don’t really like customers. They’d prefer you’d go away and stop making all your unreasonable demands that are quite frankly BANKRUPTING them. You keep ringing them up,  walking through the door even, and worse… asking to speak to … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, customer, Demand, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , | 3 Comments

How to be Bert or Ernie

. This is what happens in every organisation I’ve been in when someone more important asks someone less important for something. The someone-less-important doesn’t feel they can ask more about what it is that is needed, as the someone-more-important has … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, communication, questions | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Golden Thread exists!!

There is a golden thread But it’s not the one you think… The golden thread, as imagined by Local Government bods everywhere, is the imaginary reason why people do things at work that connects their everyday activity to some supreme overarching … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, plans, strategic, systems thinking | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Highlander principle

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will … Continue reading

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

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

How to get skin in your game

Regular readers will be shrugging at the easiness of this quiz, but the rest of you… Is it Eric the scavenger? He is black, poor and the only one with a roof above his head that is made of corrugated … Continue reading

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

Mordecai and Rigby clear up a few common misconceptions

Performance Management doesn’t manage performance. Distance from the work doesn’t provide senior leaders with a strategic view. Distance provides distance. Signing off reports does not ensure quality. It ensures they are slightly worse. Not doing the right thing because “we’ve … Continue reading

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Do you like my piece of paper?

“Say what you see” is the latest tagline of this blog. What I see every day is people creating pieces of paper to take into a room for people to look at and decide if they like that piece of … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, public sector, systems thinking, systemz comix | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Why pink is a girls colour

A philosophy club is starting soon at my son’s school. For 5 weeks, for one hour after lessons they will… “have the opportunity to think outside the box and explore new ideas that they may not have the chance to … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

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

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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

Wag the dog

Who wags the tail? Spot wags the tail. Who wags the tail where you work? I have learnt that everything starts with the customer. Resident, patient or pupil, whoever When they contact the doctor/council/police/whatever that’s where things start. You: -start … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, customer, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , | 1 Comment

How to measure a meeting

I’ve been in a meeting today! How can I tell how successful the meeting was? Measure it! With numbers! -it was held in room 42 -it lasted 75 minutes -there were 10 people -there was 1 PowerPoint -I ate 2 … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, public sector, purpose, thinking | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

How to be a Policy Expert

I’m a Policy Expert! YOU TOO can be a Policy Expert if you follow these simple steps! Step 0: DON’T follow what other Policy Experts do. Most self-proclaimed Policy Experts write up policies, they don’t change things so that policy … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, public sector, purpose, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

How to be better and quicker

Here are some giddy people finding out what is a more effective method, batch and queue or 1-piece flow. They are competing enveloping letters to find out the difference in speed and quality of work produced when using these 2 … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, systems thinking, systems thinking in housing benefits | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

4 ways job interviews ruin organisations

1. They encourage people to pretend to be someone they are not “Lie to us well enough, and your in”, is the very first message a prospective employee receives. This is not a healthy way to start any type of … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, John Seddon, plausible but untrue, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , | 9 Comments

How to get it

Has she got it? Well, has she? This is what I’ve heard people ask, if someone has got it or not. Meaning systems thinking. Of course. It’s not like getting the measles, I know that, but I’ve been puzzled for … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, me doing it, systems thinking in housing benefits, thinking, vanguard method | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

How to spot what’s in charge at work

Seth told us today how to tell who is important in an organization by using coloured badges. In an important project his company had worked out the “critical path”, the things that had to be done before anything else could … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, purpose, systems thinking | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Head-smashed-in buffalo jump

Yes, you read right. Head-smashed-in buffalo jump. For 6,000 years in North America the Blackfoot tribe ate, dressed and made their homes with bison that fell to their deaths at some cliffs called Head-smashed-in Buffalo jump The bison were not … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, public sector, purpose, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged , , , , | 2 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

Twerking or working?

Rule 1: Twerking is not the same as working! If you worked here how could you know what “work” actually was? You’ve only seen twerking. If you work in a place where you get your purpose from the mouth of a … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, human brains are weird, leadership, public sector, purpose, systems thinking | 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

Welcome to Work Club!

It is your first day at work. You are wearing your interview suit, slightly nervous. You sign lots of forms, then eventually are shown to your new desk. Lying on top of your computer’s keyboard is a single sheet of … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, leadership, thinking | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Is Big Data a pile of cack?

80% of  conclusions drawn from Big Data are incorrect.[link] The UK government is investing £64 million in Big Data. [link] I was fooled by Big Data,  you don’t have to be. Here is my story. Years ago I worked in an … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, data, learning, statistics, systems thinking | Tagged , | 8 Comments

What goes all the way down?

Ho, ho, ho! But stop! This can be very serious indeed. Ever asked someone why something is being done, and they’ve replied by pointing to something somewhere else, some plan? They’re just turtles too! No, it doesn’t happen. But people pretend … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, leadership, public sector, systems thinking, thinking | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Lazy managers make hungry children

Managers working in the public sector are starving poor people because they are too lazy to bother picking up a book. Yes, I said that. The above graph shows the reasons why people are turning to food banks because they … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, leadership, learning, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , , | 4 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

The Charlie Watts Paradigm

You walk into a pub and ask the barman… And he says… You’d be annoyed and amazed. And you’d remain thirsty. How likely is that? Well, remember when I decided to buy a bike? Remember this man? ‘Course you do, and … Continue reading

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

6 things Local Government gets wrong about you

1: It thinks you care most about big projects Name several things you care about your Council doing right. It might be making sure the roads aren’t full of pot-holes. Or keeping your street free of litter and graffiti. Perhaps … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, leadership, public sector, thinking | 1 Comment

4 German words we should all use

The Germans have a language that seems a bit like Lego. You can stick lots of little bits together to make a new one that has never existed before. This way they can make all sorts of useful new words … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, leadership, systems thinking | Tagged , | 30 Comments

Goodbye ICT, you’re already dead

There was a ruckus earlier between me and ICT. There was an “engagement exercise” where they came to my floor on a specific day and time, for us to “see how they work” and for them to give us “tips … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, inspection, public sector, thinking | Tagged , | 38 Comments

Meet friction, your abrasive friend.

I was blind, so had to be led to the sink by the man in the gas mask. He held my left hand expertly, not gingerly but with a tightness that told me he was in charge and I could … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, plans, systems thinking | Tagged , | 1 Comment