Category Archives: command and control

How does an organization create breakthrough performance?

With alignment and focus. Aligning executive teams, business units, human resources, information technology, and financial resources to an organization’s strategy is just half the battle. The way organizations communicate strategies is critical in forging alignment and executing strategy successfully. Hear … Continue reading

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

5 harsh truths you’ll wish you’d learnt earlier

Entirely understandable but…epic fail. No need to give up your own thoughts and copy everyone else’s! Inspired by this, and copying this virtually to the letter, here are “5 harsh truths you need to learn so you can live with your … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, public sector, 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

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

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The Marx Matrix in your office

Red silly! That’s why you’re here. Pursuing the truth that lies behind the assumed surface of work seems a lot like being in the film The Matrix at times. These comments mention red pills and that. And so do other … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, human brains are weird, learning, psychology, systems thinking | Tagged , | 3 Comments

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

13 reasons why

Here are 13 reasons why you should buy the latest IT solution you will grow a thick mane of glossy lustrous hair. Chestnut brown. if you are small, you’ll grow big. and if you’re thick, you’ll turn clever. Yes, both. … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, plausible but untrue, public sector, very short posts | Tagged | 1 Comment

Zen and the art of the Policy Officer

You don’t have to spend decades in a Buddhist monastery staring at a wall to get enlightenment. Become a Policy Officer in a Local Authority! Here are 3 Eastern concepts I have become fully conversant with due to following the austere calling … Continue reading

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The strategic deployment of ignorance

True story!

Posted in command and control, knowledge, leadership, plans, strategic, systemz comix | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Living Dead

The key sentence is the very first one, “Unless in a job they feel genuinely passionate about“. That first sentence sets the scene, this is how humans behave in that scene. Create a different scene, where people CAN feel passionate, … Continue reading

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

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

Why the world isn’t a triangle (and what happens when we act like it is)

I started talking about systems thinking at work, and elicited interest. This is of course good, but I was asked to write something up on different management models. So I decided to do a cartoon instead. This is it, attached. … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, me doing it, public sector, systems thinking, systemz comix, vanguard method | Tagged , | 7 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

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

Views not my own

“ALL CONTENT IS MY OPINION AND NOTHING SHOULD BE INTERPRETED AS BEING ENDORSED BY MY EMPLOYER. THIS IS A PERSONAL BLOG.” “Views my own, not employers” “Tweeting in a personal capacity only, not in a professional capacity” The above are … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, communication, thinking, very short posts | Tagged | 5 Comments

Skin in the game

This man is Johnny Cash, the photo was taken when he recorded a live album in a concert at San Quentin maximum security prison in front of an audience of robbers, rapists and killers. Asked if he had a message … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, leadership | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Views not my own

I buggered up again, it’s not here, it’s there. I will be manually correcting my blogs stats at the end of the month to ensure there are no double-counting. In the meanwhile, here is a picture of a cat doing … Continue reading

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5 things I’ve actually been told off for at work

5 things I have actually been told off for that could only happen in a command and control organisation. Saying “I don’t know“ Asking “What’s the purpose of this report I am writing?“ Saying “I don’t understand“ Sending around the … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, learning, systems thinking, thinking | 17 Comments

A circular argument

 “The thing is when you start looking at the work, you see that the measures don’t tell you anything about how things really are.” “But they want numbers for when Joe Resident asks for example, ‘What is the council doing … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, systems thinking, thinking, very short posts | 1 Comment

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

Give me the child

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99% horse meat in management thinking!

Managers were in shock today at reports that their management models were found to contain up to 100% horse meat. Samples taken of a variety of different models were confirmed as containing “mainly horse” Tests were conducted to establish whether … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, systems thinking | Tagged | 3 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

I am an antelope

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I went on a day out team building. It was solidly organised, pleasant and good fun with nice people. This is what happened. First we drew facts about ourselves on … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, psychology, purpose | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The curious incident of the folder that doesn’t exist

From a drop of water,” said the writer, “a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of … Continue reading

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

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

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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Merry Monday!

Posted in all wrong, command and control | 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

Bring your brain to work day

I completed a staff survey partly based on the Gallup Q12, I had to answer questions on a scale, giving numbers. No text, just numbers. I thought I would do my own staff survey so I asked some friends why … Continue reading

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3 brilliant systems ideas THAT WILL EXPLODE IN YOUR FACE!

Here are three brilliant systems ideas that will explode in your face. . 1: POSIWID What is it? A cunning acronym, “the Purpose Of a System Is What It Does.” Why’s it brilliant then? It reminds that intentions and express … Continue reading

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

How to turn the sun off

Look out the window. If you’re in the UK  bet the weather’s grim. Dull overcast, grey clouds stretching across to the horizon. Where’s the sun gone? Nowhere! It’s still there. Ever been in a plane when the plane is ascending, … Continue reading

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Zombie Deming advises on the role of leaders

Q: What’s the art of management? A: Delegation! Wrong. It is the job of leaders to act on the system. What it isn’t is delegating. And yet, that’s what they say is “the art of management“. Bollocks is it. But … Continue reading

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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

3 brilliant systems ideas THAT WILL EXPLODE IN YOUR FACE!

Here are three brilliant systems ideas that will explode in your face. . 1: POSIWID What is it? A cunning acronym, “the Purpose Of a System Is What It Does.” Why’s it brilliant then? It reminds that intentions and express … Continue reading

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

Fuzzy felt

When management in command and control organisations get into rooms to tell others about how well they are doing, there is actually only one set of statements used but they can be recycled endlessly in different permutations to tell the … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, communication, plausible, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to spot a performance management

I work in performance in the public sector. I believe in my line of work. I think helping people learn how to understand work using data is useful and important. But I don’t think that everything that happens in my … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, communication, leadership, plausible but untrue, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Merry Triangle

I hate triangles. I’ve had countless implausible ones drawn for me earnestly by people trying to demonstrate some linkage or another between things. I am sorely tempted next time it happens to ask “Why equilateral? Are you sure it’s not … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, plausible but untrue, systemz comix | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Victoria Pendleton post

I am not what I think I am. I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am. Got that? It’s called “the looking glass self”  theory. Briefly, people construct their identity based on … Continue reading

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Paper Purpose

“the direction in which a compass needle normally points, towards the horizon on the left-hand side of a person facing east, or the part of the horizon lying in this direction” Now you have those careful clear words from the … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, purpose, systems thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

see-saw

Benchmarking: I know with complete certainty it’s a pile of poo, but I’ve never actually seen any done. I’m not sure it ever actually happens.  Does it exist? Is it like coaches of tourists going to Loch Ness to see … Continue reading

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

Malice in Slumberland

In Oxford in the 1950s, there was a fantastic doctor, who was very unusual, named Alice Stewart. Alice was unusual partly because, of course, she was a woman, which was pretty rare in the 1950s. And she was brilliant, she … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, experiment, leadership, psychology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank Crunchie!

Keep systems thinking, and have a lovely day!

Posted in all wrong, clarity of purpose, command and control, psychology | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Purpose eats leadership for breakfast

Take a good close-up look at this picture. That is the first thing that appears when I Google images of “leadership”. Not “dictator” or “complete dick” even. But who are the real dicks? The guy surfing the arrow, or the … Continue reading

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

This years restructure

“We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, leadership, very short posts | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

5 time travelling tips

If I could travel 10 years back in time in a special Systems Thinking Tardis or a DeLorean, these are the 5 things I would tell myself that I would no doubt not understand and instead ignore. 1: “If a … Continue reading

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Milking turnips

Firefighter, School Crossing Patrol, Police Officer, Ambulance Paramedic.  You can tell from the uniforms. Go into any workplace and see if by standing at the door you can tell what it is that happens there. If you are at the … Continue reading

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Alchemy

There’s no such thing as alchemy. Despite that, I have been disappointing senior managers for years by failing to produce gold out of dross. Alchemy is still believed in, at the highest levels of organisations. There are senior managers who believe that the … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, command and control, data, learning | Tagged , | 24 Comments