On the usefulness of measuring things

There’s something about management thinkers and measuring things. They just can’t get enough of it. They have a congenital need to count stuff. In fact, they just don’t seem to be able to get through the day without quantifying something. But there’s a reason for that. It’s because they’re right. Continue reading

The way we do things around here

When it comes to making organisations work well, we tend to think of tangible things like strategies, plans, processes and controls. But while these all have their place, there is something else that we should also consider. Something that is so powerful that if we don’t get it right, then everything else is an irrelevance. I’m talking about culture. The unspoken and unwritten code that exists in every organisation. The way we do things around here.

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A time to reflect

It has been a busy year. Not just for me, but for us all. Across the public and voluntary sectors, there have been legislative changes to understand, new strategies to develop and implement, stakeholders with whom to engage, staff to manage and funding cuts to cope with. And when things are this busy, it’s all to easy to focus on the here and now. But now, more than ever, it is important to take time to reflect on the past. Continue reading

It’s a people thing

There is often a tendency to think that any problems within an organisation can be resolved, or any desired improvements made, with the application of a new process or the implementation of a shiny new piece of software. While understandable, this is potentially problematic. Because organisations are not about systems, processes and software – they are about people. Continue reading

All change in local government

As the funding cuts start to bite, things are changing rapidly in local government. But this is only the start. My own local authority, for example, managed to find savings of £17.5m in 2011/12 and needs to identify another £30m by 2015. And if the trend continues, they estimate that they will have to cut expenditure by a further £39m by 2018. This will leave the Council with only half of the resources that it had in 2010/11. Continue reading