Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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The Badger’s Mouth

See that? The Badger’s Mouth. You know. The most famous battle in the world? No? Really? The battle of Badger Mouth was the bloodiest battle ever on Earth. More humans killed each other in that battle than in any other. … Continue reading

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Trust me, I’m an expert

I am an expert at doing things wrong which is why you can trust me. I have two areas of expertise. I am an expert at doing the wrong thing right I have spent years working at the heart of … 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

Where’s the data?

Hello Peter! Hello Jane! Do you know where the data is? Let’s go for look for it! Books! That’s a good idea! But not there Jane. Try again! Not in there! Not down there either! Where could it be? Is … Continue reading

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Zombie Deming eats his own arse in frustration at it all

Oh dear. With Zombie Deming on the hunt “sharing good practice” is as dangerous to the integrity of your skull as rubbing raw liver on your head and sticking it in a lions cage. Can we guess the thinking behind … Continue reading

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Friends at work

I don’t have any friends at work. Don’t feel sorry for me though, because probably neither do you. People act as if they have friends at work though. They go on lunches, team away days, team nights out. They buy … Continue reading

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Zombie Deming takes issue with a poster

Oh dear! Somebody should have warned him! So, what would cause a perfectly sane manager to stick “WORK HARDER” posters up and not expect to be lynched? Command and control thinking as at it’s heart control through commands. The purpose … Continue reading

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Zombie Deming is on the prowl

Deming is celebrating the return in 2 weeks of The Walking Dead by arising from his grave and continuing his hunt for bad thinking-and live humans. Being undead hasn’t lessened the old coves infamously short temper, if anything it has made it … Continue reading

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Fallacy Friday! Bananas and Clearly Communicating

I got bored with not blogging and couldn’t wait till Movember so welcome back to Fallacy Friday! This is part two of a major new series that on sporadic Fridays explores two common things that everybody does but nobody knows … Continue reading

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the right way round: a cut out’n’keep guide

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Gone away to think up new questions

Back in Movember.

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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

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Fallacy Friday! Pooing and planning

Welcome to Fallacy Friday! This is part one of a major new series that will every Friday explore two common things that everybody does that nobody knows they’re doing wrong! 1: Pooing Everybody poos, right? But if you use that … Continue reading

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cosmic latte

That colour is the average colour of the universe. Really. It is called Cosmic Latte, if your interested in getting some paint for your living room. “Oh, youve decorated?” a friend will say. “Is it Misty Buff?“, they will ask. … Continue reading

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Hugging & Learning

Think of “Sex and the City”. Now stop, you’re probably at work. Each episode has some kind of journey where the characters face some minor turmoil, but through laughter (not necessarily ours) and a few tears, with the support of … Continue reading

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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

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Bellwether

 A bellwether is a sheep that leads the flock. It is a castrated ram, not in charge of the flock but it still has followers, as they shuffle after him sheeplike. No, not sheeplike. Just like the sheep they actually … Continue reading

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John Seddon is not systems thinking

Truth or Lie? Read on to find out… One of the cool things about WordPress is that you can see what people have entered into search engines that pointed them to your blog. Some people find mine through phrases such … Continue reading

Posted in John Seddon, systems thinking, thinking, Uncategorized, vanguard method | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Signs you work in a defensive culture-(number 438b)

People will talk about work confidently, ignoring the glaring gaps, missing and unaddressed issues as if somebody somewhere obviously has a handle on it all and is organising the whole thing. They all know nobody does, but everybody talks as … Continue reading

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Take my Astronaut quiz!

Take my Astronaut quiz! There is a reason for this, I am going somewhere with it. The quiz will be open all week, stuck to the top of the front page, and the results will come out next Thursday 20th. You can only enter … Continue reading

Posted in human brains are weird, psychology, systems thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Happy Blogday

It is an iron clad law that a blogger eventually blogs about blogging. As this is the end of my first year, it seems right to do it now. I promise I will only do this once every 12th September. … Continue reading

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Cool-v-Awesome

Oh what would you do if your heart was torn in two, between systems and lean when on both you are quite keen? they both can’t mentally co-exist both the top of your internal list they’d fight and cuss and … 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

An interrogative mood

Are you reading this at work? Are you working in a place where the fact that something is undiscussable is itself undiscussable? When an email pop-up appears are you relieved? Do you despair when someone replies to a question with … Continue reading

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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

Mr Fahrenheit meets GB Shaw

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Everyone loves petrichor

Jargon is rarely as beautiful as that. But it’s useful which is why we keep on inventing more of it. Here’s some more jargon that people use at work. Sensei Muda Kaizen Poke yoke Gemba Kaikaku Hate me yet? Ok, … Continue reading

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Why changing anything is hard (Part 34[c])

Posted in learning, plausible, systems thinking, Uncategorized, very short posts | Tagged , | 1 Comment

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

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Bang!

“When a culture doesn’t know how to think critically, then all critical thinking is viewed as cynicism, and disagreement is viewed as hate.” Glenn Packiam

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Faster, Higher, Stronger

“It’s about building a system that’s very resilient and sustainable. In the past what Britain has done has invested in individuals and coaches. But it didn’t build a system.” Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair UK Sport. 15 minutes ago on BBC1. … Continue reading

Posted in systems thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Originally posted on Minnesota Transplant:
Symbols remind us of what’s important. A wedding ring symbolizes a commitment. A lushly green, well-watered lawn symbolizes suburban perfection. A signed baseball symbolizes a brush with fame. For my uncle, a perfect haystack symbolizes…

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Waves are not made of water

Waves aren’t made of water, just like sound isn’t made of air. Waves just travel through water, like sound travels through air. Tcch, Zen, eh? The water that you see moving boats up and down isn’t the wave. The wave is … Continue reading

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Fish heads

The fish rots from the head down. Nobody would eat a rotten fish by covering the maggot ridden parts with a nice creamy sauce, but I’ve lost count of  work rotten from the start that people have made the best … Continue reading

Posted in leadership, systems thinking, thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Effin & Jeffin

There are a fair few people who have signed up to this blog with their work email addresses. As I too have to work to pay for all the onions this blog gets through, I know that my work email wouldn’t allow … Continue reading

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Surely some mistake

These two police detectives are talking about a suspect… “You still don’t think it’s him?” “I didn’t say that” “You don’t want to be overly sure?” “I want to be sure when I am sure” There’s a difference between being … Continue reading

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Long live the King!

Long live the King! But what are the four words that come before those ones? The King is dead. Long live the King! In the olden days, or in England which is the same thing, when a monarch died those … Continue reading

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Absolutely anything

People will sit in meeting rooms and do anything: strategy away days unconferences networking benchmarking building a shared story sessions communities of practice world cafes team building Absolutely anything capacity building workshops consensus building work planning garland arranging Jar Jar … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, human brains are weird, learning, plausible but untrue, Uncategorized | Tagged | 8 Comments

Why did I ring you today?

Was it: to increase your customer satisfaction score? to increase the % of calls you answer? to increase the % of calls you answer within 20 seconds? to decrease your “wrap-time”? to increase the % of calls you handle between … Continue reading

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How to do it

Watch this. Now you know how to cure the world of all known diseases. Simply: Become a doctor; Discover a marvellous cure for something; Wait till the medical profession really starts to take notice of you; Jolly well tell them … Continue reading

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Averagely funny

This man has more than the average number of legs for an Australian… ..and so does this Australian have more than the average number of legs too. How is this? There are a very few Australians with no legs, few Australians … Continue reading

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3 questions about purpose for Monday mornings

In your organisation… Does your job get in the way of doing your job? Is knowing your place rewarded more than questioning your purpose?  Is asking “why?” considered rude?

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Roger the script monkey

Can you do any of the following: Pay a mortgage or rent? Rear a child? Own, run and drive a car? Choose, book and go on holiday? Go shopping, buy clothes, meet new people and converse? If so, you are … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, communication, customer, systems thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

A useful lesson

“What I was given to study in school I have forgotten; what I decided to read on my own, I still remember.” Nassim Taleb

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Flow like water

Think of a canal lock Water is queued on one side of the lock waiting to move to the other side of the lock. It is moved in a batch up or down to the other side of the lock. … Continue reading

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9 questions about your cake and you

Organisations are layer cakes. There is a long way between the cherries on the top and the damp base at the bottom. Answer these 9 questions to align yourself in the cake and find out what that means for you … Continue reading

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Targetitis

You have an invisible illness. It is 2010, you have been sitting in an Accident & Emergency waiting room for 3 hours and 50 minutes waiting to be seen. Of the people before you who has been seen, on average … Continue reading

Posted in command and control, setting a numerical target is like..., targets, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

How clean is my table?

The last post was about there being “no true value” of a measure, unless you define what you mean to measure, and that the way to know what you are supposed to be measuring is to define measure by purpose. … Continue reading

Posted in clarity of purpose, deming, purpose, systems thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Better lazy than busy

“First do no harm” is one of the main principles of medical ethics. It means that whatever the situation, sometimes it is better to do nothing at all, than to do an activity and risk causing more harm. This is not a … Continue reading

Posted in all wrong, command and control, Uncategorized | 4 Comments