We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Clouds of blue and skies of white

Those of you who work in large organisations will know what fresh hells lurk in the words "senior management away day."

  • On the plus side those of us left behind can get on with our work unruffled by being on the receiving end of any sort of leadership. Or business as usual if you will.
  • On the minus side there's nobody around who can sign invoices, authorise orders or take responsibility for the goings on of the place. Or business as usual.
But far, far worse: they will be doing some Blue Skies Thinking and conjuring up a few Quick Wins.

Were Joyce Grenfell alive today she would be doing monologues in the role of workshop facilitator...

"Well now, boys and girls, what shall we do today? No, Marjorie, we did the seven hats game yesterday. And do you remember what we did with the green one? That's right. And we did Forming Storming Norming Performing didn't we? Yes, Jessica, I know you've still got the bruises. I don't think George meant to be quite so rough, did you George? Well you shouldn't have. Because I say so. I'm not going to argue with you about it. Because.

"Today we're going to come up with some quick wins for service development. Won't that be jolly? Yes it will Jessica. It will be awfully jolly. Oh, Jessica, don't be such a crosspatch; you like being a team player. Well you did yesterday. That was before George stormed into you. I know dear, he can be a bit boisterous but you... no you don't need to, no don't. I think it might be an idea if you were to sit over here with Marjorie and Dennis and George can sit over here with Tarquin and Emily. Because I say so. George... don't do that.

"So now we're going to come up with some quick wins for service development. I want each of you to have a think and say the first thing that comes into your head..."

Which is all well and good in the workshop environment. It doesn't matter that the quickness of the win is untested in terms of legality, the availability of resources or the fact that the person who says that "there's an app for that" is the person who blows all the fuses in the building every time they switch their PC on. It's a thinking process exercise.

Except they never are. They bundle back, all enthusiastic and full of biscuits with the one, fixed, firm notion: the quick win must be delivered. Regardless of whatever else is going on; the business priorities of the moment; or the availability or not of the people assumed to be the ones who'll deliver on it (quick wins are never to be delivered by the people who dream them up, strange that). "We said we would deliver the quick win."


With any luck they'll have had a row about who gets to sort out T.Aldous' filing cabinet and won't have had any time to get to the quick fix round of the game before going home time.


Macy said...

What about a "lowly-staff-who actually-do-things-and-so-might-have a-scoob-how-to-improve-it away day".
Would that be a quick enough win d'ye think?

Kevin Musgrove said...

Macy: in our world that would earn you a "Not A Team Player" black mark in the Bunty Book of Performance Appraisal.

Major Tom D'Omo said...

I must admit that in this part of Sheboygan the phrase "Quick Win" hasn't entered the lexicon of Management. If it has an origin in Association Football (known over here as "Sakar" - as in "Sakar Mom") then maybe that's why.

Pat said...

I was going to say :
'Kevin - don't do that,' but you forestalled me.
Joyce was such a sweetie.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Major: I thought "Sakar Mom" was right up there with "Cougar," as it were.

Pat: (-:

zmkc said...

The 'facilitators' we are given on 'away days' are always so awful that a day in their presence achieves the impossible - all minor grudges are forgiven, all past arguments swept aside. We become a team, bonded by our collective hatred of the person with the white board and butchers' paper who exhorts us to 'think outside the box' while handing out ping pong balls and pieces of string for our next inane group task.

Major Tom D'Omo said...

Kevin. "Sakar Mom" - Yes
"Quick Win" - No