Every Sunday morning I do it and always persuade myself, it’ll be the last time.
I did it again yesterday. Sunday morning… I watched the Andrew Marr thing on the BBC.
It’s such a tedious, predictable, format presented by he who gives the impression, be it a nation or a nuclear submarine, he could run it better, do it better, be better at it, know-all better.
I know, the simple answer is not to watch but there isn’t anything else.
Marr thought he’d have a go at No18. Tie him up in the Cummings allegations about, ‘being a liar’. He failed. No18 wasn’t having any of that and had a perfectly viable, lucid set of explanations as to why Cummings was wrong.
We’re none the wiser.
Before No18, we saw a consummate performance from former PM, Tony Blair who made a striking distinction between risk management and discrimination. Talked sense about the fact the supermarket knows more about us than the government and stuffed Marr.
After Blair… a Labour contortionist. She’d rather turn herself inside out, than agree with Blair’s common-sense. In some quarters of the Labour Party, Blair is toxic. Agreeing with him, is likely to scupper her political ambitions.
Marr… beached. The whole thing, a waste of an hour, except…
… the whole shebang reminded me of a mnemonic from the long-since forgotten archives of old-school-management… seven universal truths, 'Fat Pact'.
Let’s have a look;
Failure, make it easy.
No one comes to work to fail but it happens. It happens through accident, carelessness, happenstance and for reasons we might never fathom. The trick is to make failure easy… easy to recover from, easy to learn from. Easy to assess, evaluate and build on. Make it hard and failure gets hidden.
Are… we are where we are.
It’s easy to deny where we are, think it’s only temporary, imagine it will move on, deny it. The right thing to do is to confront the here-and-now, deal with it. Put it off and you might have to put up with it for a lot longer.
Two… sides to every story.
Truth is often self-defined and rarely an absolute. Trying to see the other side moves you closer to agreement and moving on.
Politics… is at the heart of everything.
Not just the politics of the ballot-box but the politics of organisations, hierarchies, offices, careers and self preservation. Understanding the interplay of politics and how it can impeded success and progress is vital. Why people do what they do, is often wrapped in politics, with a small p.
Agreement.. around what?
An organisation will only succeed where there's agreement about just what its true aims and ambitions are.
If it’s to make a shed-load of money and the devil take the rest… so be it. If it is to create a business or service that is dedicated to success by creating customer satisfaction… so be it.
Call it the mission, call it the vision, call it what you like but what ever it is, everyone has to know what it is and buy-in.
Cheating… is easy and anyone can do it.
We have to begin with the assumption, no one starts out, a cheat. It’s how the organisation is managed that turns us into cheats, liars, people who'll game the situation, fiddle and wriggle.
Mostly, it will be caused by targets, inspection, bullying and sanctions for doing wrong things rather than rewards for doing right things.
Talking… make the time.
Make time for talking. Direct access to the boss and leaders, who will listen and understanding... accessible does not mean approachable. Creating an environment where it’s ok to say ‘this isn’t going well…’
I know you know all this…
... but if we’d accept no one tries to fail, managing the here and now is more productive than finagling with where we might have been and there can be more than one truth... the Number 18 interview would have been more interesting.
... politics is as much about careers than it is votes, then we’d know why the labour spokeswoman eschewed Blair’s truths, if Labour could agree on what it’s trying to achieve and we all understood, cheating is the response to poor performance management and talking is better than arguing…
… we could do without Marr and I might find something better to do with Sunday morning.
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