Category Archives: public sector

A cheap notebook

This notebook could save your bacon Here’s why [link] Daniel Kahneman was asked how we can improve our performance. Kahneman, the author of Thinking: Fast and Slow, replied, almost without hesitation, that you should go down to the local drugstore … Continue reading

Posted in learning, me doing it, plans, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

3 things you will never find on a lessons learned report

In Prince2 it is best practice to conduct a Lessons Learned Exercise for the Lessons Learned Log to go into the Lessons Learned Report. I find it is much more useful to conduct a Lessons Not Learned Exercise. It’s far … Continue reading

Posted in learning, psychology, public sector, thinking | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in plans, public sector, purpose, systems thinking, very short posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Enter Kanban

Now scroll down. All the way down here please. Almost there. 5. 4 3 2 1 About here will do. Now, list as many of those objects as you can. After you’ve done that scroll down. More please. More than … Continue reading

Posted in me doing it, plans, public sector, tools | Tagged | 8 Comments

The day I became a Policy Officer

When/if I do get the chance to start doing something systemsy, I’ll come back here and type about it. Ideally that would be next week but I doubt it as it has been almost two years since I’ve had a … Continue reading

Posted in communication, me doing it, public sector | Tagged | 10 Comments

The Policy Officer’s Creed

This my pen, there are many like it but this one is mine. My pen is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My pen, without me, is useless. Without … Continue reading

Posted in me doing it, public sector, purpose, systems thinking | Tagged , | 3 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

How to write a plan

There’s loads of guff in the public sector around “having a plan”. Contrary to expectations, planning doesn’t produce plans. No, the need for plans gives birth to planning, like: leadership strategic retreats to nice country hotels managerial away-days in acceptable Travel-Inn conference … Continue reading

Posted in experiment, plans, public sector, systems thinking | Tagged | 12 Comments

How do we treat our indicators?

Posted in data, public sector | Tagged | Leave a 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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Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

ROLL UP! ROLL UP! Get your untested management assumptions here! People don’t like to think they’ve been made fools of. So they don’t think they’ve been made fools of, even when they have. And especially if they made fools of … Continue reading

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

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

Here’s one I didn’t prepare earlier.

[EDIT] Big screens only for this one it appears, sadly the image doesn’t display properly on my iPhone screen so may not on yours either. [EDIT EDIT] Exciting news! If you’re looking at this on an iPhone or other inferior … Continue reading

Posted in change, experiment, learning, public sector, systems thinking, systemz comix | Tagged | 2 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

Nanny McPhee explains the role of the internal consultant

“When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go”

Posted in change, psychology, public sector, very short posts | Leave a 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

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

A Local Authority thinks outside the box

An example of the wire cage which East Poplar borough council in London proposed to fix to the outside of their tenement windows, so that babies could benefit from fresh air and sunshine in dwellings that didn’t have access to … Continue reading

Posted in public sector, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments