John Seddon [video]:: Target Obsession Disorder laid bare.


John Seddon explains why targets make organisations worse and controlling costs makes costs higher. If you’re in management or in executive leadership you desperately need to watch this and know it, understand it and listen to it. For the benefit of yourself, those around you and those that interact with you business.

John breaks out why targets make organisations worse and controlling, or managing costs, actually makes them higher. He explains, in a rather entertaining way, why the public sector along with the private sector is doing horribly compared to what they should be doing…a bi-product of  ‘conventional ignorance’.

This elegant dissection of the organisational madness that pervades our culture was given at the 2009 conference of the Human Givens Institute.

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Public managers should stop telling people how to behave | guardian.co.uk


Dave Clements has flagged-up further evidence of, what we [at Ontonix] have come to recognise as, EXCESSIVE COMPLEXITY. The inevitable culmination of years [and layers] of mismanagement, fluctuating budgets, changing legislation, increasing regulation, conflicting strategies – often driven by Corporate interests and, of course, a healthy measure of ill-conceived (often purely politically motivated) knee-jerk reactions to the latest crisis.

All-in-all a hybrid form of institutional abuse…the kind that kills trust, fails service users, drains frontline initiative, hurts society and paralyzes the institution!

“Thumbs up” to a transparent Big Society, built from the bottom up: collaboratively. But a “double thumbs down” to a prescriptive, top down approach.     

A truly active citizen acts of their own accord and not according to the imperatives of public management. The good news is that by ditching the policing of people’s behaviour we might emulate the vision of a big society in which responsible citizens take the reins. This is why we should adopt an alternative approach: one that genuinely enables people’s autonomy rather than smothering their initiative.

 

Beware Zombie’s in pinstripes!


What do we do when an organisation becomes so complex that it fails to perform the functions for which it was intended…when it is no longer “fit for purpose”?

Well, in nature, it dies and decays or is killed and eaten. This is as it should be in business!

But, as we now know, that isn’t always the case. We have current examples of institutional failure and collapse – but deemed “Too Big To Fail” – being artificially kept alive at escalating and unsustainable expense to you and me!!!. I am, of course, referring specifically to Banks and the Public Sector.

These “Zombie institutions” are as slow as the real deal but they don’t crave your flesh or change physical appearance until in the latter stages. Read more of this post

How can “entrepreneurial spirit” and "creative destruction" flourish without nourishment?


Joseph Schumpeter reinterpreted (from Marx economic theory) and popularised the expression “creative destruction” to describe the process by which established ways of doing things are destroyed from within (by new thinking, tools and processes) – at this point the scientific community may draw attention to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: that a system tends toward entropy (chaos or disorganisation) and consider the state of our global economy.

Hugely expensive and experimental life support for “clinically dead” institutions, markets, currencies and flawed philosophies equates to – at best – stagnation and at worst starves innovators of the means to accelerate a new evolutionary phase: instead of “creative destruction” we have “destructive creation” in the form of more regulation! Read more of this post

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties


No matter how you express it, in a dynamic (non-linear) system, that is, by definition complex, “what goes around comes around” – the “feedback loop” – complexity begets complexity until the system reaches breaking point – “critical complexity”.

But the closer the system operates to this point the more fragile and unstable it becomes.

Things can, do, get ugly, painful, dangerous and costly on a variety of levels and the impact is felt across domains.

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties Image by michael.heiss via Flickr A recent blog about procrastination led me to get this off my mind. It has been rattling around in there for some time… Ever had so much going on in your head that you don’t know what to do first? Too many tasks, too little time: which “master” to satisfy? Every issue or task has its own factors to consider: short term effect; long term impact. Assessing cause and effect or imagining problems, leading you to “f … Read More

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