The Business Doctor

'eradicating the Mad Management Virus'

Friday, 31 December 2010

The Business Doctor: A Year in Review

The Business Doctor: A Year in Review: "The year is about to end and as always I like to do a personal reflection of what happened and if things have changed throughout the year..."

A Year in Review

The year is about to end and as always I like to do a personal reflection of what happened and if things have changed throughout the year gone by. I suppose, like with reflections in history, I do this, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes…. As if! Even as I write, David Cameron is warning us that we have a difficult year ahead! As if we didn’t already know this….

The year 2010 started badly and I was certainly up to my knees in Rubbish and being filmed at every moment by the BBC. I’m joking here because this time last year I was working with the Refuse & Recycling Crews at BGCBC. It was a tough 5 months and even though the project continued well into the summer, it was without question, worth every minute of sacrifice. The crews are now running themselves and with a strange twist of fait I’m back working with them as after the Refuse project I moved onto after the Binmen, changed its product line to reuse scheme for the things we through away, and yep the Binmen were the best consultants in the business. Their advice and new mindset has been outstanding. So from one tough project of changing the Binmen minds, two new mindsets have resulted. Bonus!

It’s not been a totally great year though. Research from First Direct reveals almost 7m (28%) of workers have moved jobs in an attempt to find a better boss and improve their working environment which is a stark reminder to all those companies worried about loosing their talent. Forget the bonus schemes or free tea, get the leadership right and you will be a long way to being the best. So elusive is the perfect manager that more than 12% of workers have taken up a new career entirely in their search, while 5% have decided to leave the corporate world and set up a business by themselves. DNA Wales Research along with First Direct conformation clearly sees that when working under a manager doing traditional management, employees report a loss of motivation of on average 63% and productivity decreases by 30% best scenario and 90% worst, with one on average 29% of public sector workers and 22% of private taking "sickies" as an avoidance tactic to get away from managers nonsense (I added the nonsense bit in…).

The main key to all this year has been the frequent and heart breaking waste of talent in organisations. The key message here, as always is the utter failing of managers who are simply uninspiring.

The problem as I see it:

  • They think management is the way forward
  • They think they as managers they know best, and anyone who challenges them is trouble
  • They fail to be accountable, blaming others or the 'system' for their actions
  • They don’t trust the people they work with (even though they say they do!)
  • They think risk, means trouble and therefore has to be removed
  • They mistake fear with respect (Bullies tend to thrive on this)
  • They don’t understand that their intellect is not as good as the combined people that work with them
  • They forget that the people on the frontline add value, not cost, unlike most managers
  • They think any idea from the shop floor, cannot be any good, as they’ve not thought of it first
  • They also think problems have easy solutions

  • And this maybe just a welsh thing, but managers here seem to dislike anyone who may have a better solution, idea, profile or energy, which ‘shows them up’ (or they think so)

One final thing from the First Direct (FD) research was the startling similarity in their results and our concerning the failure of managers to inspire the people. 88% according to FD, 92% according to ours, claim their manager is well simply ‘not inspiring’. Yet as I have commented on and proved now, in over 25 companies, leaders are the energy, which drive the people. If your manager(s) are uninspiring the can you imagine the impact this has on your company/service.

We have spent the year, driving the message home to more companies, managers than I care to remember and I have felt this year that the resistance to my message has begun to diminish. People of all sectors are starting to realise that there is another way. Its not the darkside, or chaos, or indeed ‘tree-hugging’ bollox, as one person stated 6 years ago. Its real, human, messy, fun but above all sustainable, but only if you have the respect from the people within.

I have come across both professionally as an academic, working in company and personally some awful managers/people. I am constantly amazed how devious, corrupt (in the ethic sense) and morally devoid some people are, but here again it’s the company or organisation that allowed this dreadful behaviour to be encouraged/promoted in the organisation. I would like to say here that these people will soon disappear, but even if this wish were true and there was a ‘God’ like figure for companies, organisations who would smite the evil souls, the damage for a lot of people has already happened.

So my work, with organisations has still a strong pull. I won’t be working for Glamorgan University any longer, which is another story for my book, but the work goes on.

There will be a new Institute of Social Innovation, Creativity and Change (ISICC). Based in company and driven by organisations for bottom-line impact (and here I don’t mean just profits).

My work with Monwel, e-Vale Service, a Social Enterprise for disabled workers will continue, and this has been one of those life changing projects for me, one I will be eternally grateful for, even though at times I thought it would never happen.

So my friends, colleagues and partners; I’m now going out for my off-road run, which I now do for the scenery rather than any times, or to beat last years stopwatch, so Happy New Year!  And a VERY big thank you for all those who questioned, listened, thought, considered, helped and was there for me at my deepest, darkest moments. Without friends and certain people, who I know, have no idea they do it, energise and support me, I would not have had the success gained over the past year.

Happy Chaos! 

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Institute of Social Innovation, Creativity and Change (ISICC)

The Educational and Social Innovation part of Monwel Social Enterprise (MSE) in Ebbw Vale, which is informally known as 'my factory' will host the ISICC. This Institute to be launched in the new year will create a Non-Profit educational and training arm of MSE principles in Wales and beyond. It will offer training, education, advice and objective negotiation services for other organisations looking to create and establish a Social Enterprise, Democratic and Empowered workforce or department. I have in the past needed an organisation which would help
ISICC Passion - To improve and change the quality, criticality and impact of Leadership, Human engagement and 'Emergent Leadership' within the Context of all organisations.
ISICC will aid ‘all leaders’, Policy Makers and advisors within the organisation to understand that the behaviour of the people and how the Strategic Human Assets (SHA) impacts the design and direction of the whole organisation in a non-linear human perspective. The ISICC will change practice first, to create a body of connected bodies which is reactive and faster than traditional tools/methods normally seen in business management today.
ISICC will also influence the level, type, and direction of intervention by various representative forums and training programmes. It will compliment and extend the work of various leadership development initiatives by adding a new dimension to the sustainability of economic development.
Staffing – These will mainly comprise of external Consultants, Academics, Representative Bodies and Advisors. There will be internal administration support and a venue presence at MSE.
Ethos – Non Profit, CIC – All income will directly support the ISICC actions and income gained will be reinvested back into the MSE for distribution and reuse. 

It is hoped that this Institute will be created by and driven from the passion of its members. It will however be about saying the things some cannot say due to funding or fear. It will be about action and not words, articles or anything other than changing the social world of organisations to truly empower and trust the workforce for the 21st Century. 

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Okay - The simple version

Dear Public Sector Leaders, 

I am writing confidentially again to express an interest to help save the Public Service (any public services, Police, Fire, Health at any level…just need to prove a point...). 

As you may already know, I have recently completed two major in-'company' research and change projects in Public Services. We helped save large amounts of money, without a single job loss or move to Social Enterprise, Co-operative, CIC, Charity or any other ‘new’ form of organization.  

·      The process is not radical, or controversial but stops, simplistic reduction in staff numbers simply on financial principles.
·      It does not make managers (people) redundant or anyone else for that matter. It simply stops them doing this thing call management and starts ‘Democratic Leadership’.
·      Its an alternative to top-down change, with a little bottom-up mixed in, it becomes everyone's change.
·      It does not encourage a ‘one-way’ of thinking, but a mix of theory/tools to suit your organization.
·      Yes, it removes management power and control, but replaces it with much greater powers of influence, trust and respect through leadership from within
·      There are no tricks, hidden fees, cons, or anything other than open, honest, transparent and democratic processes. Yep anyone can stop the process at any stage….its the organization that drives the process
·      Its not chaos….. there are clear boundaries, movable to improve but never reducible, but it still deconstructs the service from the frontline up (or in my world down ;-).
·      The new way of ‘doing’ is completely customer focused and built
·      The change has no resistance. Its led by the people themselves, at their pace, with their way of thinking.
·      Its sustainable. Why because the frontline providers drive the ‘new thinking’ and therefore once started, they continue to adapt, evolve and create new (always within boundaries) as the customer demands/constraints change

You would like to hear more, or require external references to check out this change initiative, please do not hesitate to contact me, IT WORKS! 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Greedy People....

Will Hutton today published a report in a vain attempt to cap Public Sector Chief Executives pay in Public Services. He states that top executives should be kept below what is around 20 times that of their lowest paid staff. Hutton said the pay of the top 1% of earners in the UK was escalating disproportionately and “outstripping the rest. Well tell us something we don’t know! I have written about this not only with Public Sector Leaders, but also Private Sectors, including our Banks. Now Owners of private companies can earn what they want…that’s a different argument we’ll save for another time (but I have written and talked about this many times)

Hutton claims the “ratchet effect”, where the rise in top senior public-sector salaries was simply “to compete in the labour market for CEOs”. What utter nonsense. Its greed, plain and simple, and an abuse of power by a certain small group or network of people. It was only revealed a few months ago that the university VC’s, a small and very elite group, earn some of the highest in the public sector between £250k-£350k yet the cutback in this sector over the past few months has meant the loss of frontline teaching and research jobs and the cutback of classes & courses. Yet, no VC, or ProVC’s have lost their jobs that I am aware of….

“There should be a proportionate relationship between effort and pay,” states Hutton, of the Work Foundation, who earns a reported £200k salary, must now have joined the ‘other side’ as the book which sprang him to popularity called the ‘State we’re In’ demonstrated the massive injustice in pay and work in the UK in the 1980’s. Yet we are now seeing our MP’s, Senior Leaders and Public Servants doing the same as Hutton complained about in the 80’s.

The problem here; this is a “missed the point” report. The question should be ‘Why pay them this amount in the first place?’

There is no evidence that suggests placing a ‘super-star’ manager at the top of an organization helps the organization succeed. Why? Well the Public Sector is not Private Sector without the profit element. The meddling by ‘Management Theorists’ and the MBA world has done untold damage already to non-profit, service driven, people led organizations. Take Targets and PI’s for example, they are now starting to be removed in the more progressive organizations, simply because they have proved worthless in service delivery and indeed, some (me) would say that they have been detrimental. Why? because they have diverted resources away from frontline services and into this measurement mindset. Great if you like numbers, graphs, and stats, but bloody-hopeless if you need a housing repair or replacement hip!

Anyhow, back to my point…..sorry, I have a tendency to rant and wander!

We do not need to pay Bankers, Chief Executives or anyone else for that matter more than what the frontline staff agree with! If the frontline staff think, ‘you’ as the ‘Boss’ deserve £500k per year then who am I to disagree, however it should be up to them to decide as they are fully aware of your contribution to the cause. If all you have done is slow things down, create more bureaucracy and policies, which hinder frontline speed and services, then, expect a low payout…..simples!