Warning! Moan Zone (apparently people did want to hear about me personally… 😂)

Are you absolutely sick of all the New Normals?

It’s been 12 months, and I *still* know it will be 6 months before we see where the chips are falling and can really put our plans into action.

I *really* don’t want to go back to the old normal. But I want this one to change!

Some things have gone well

✅ delivering our work virtually; Teams still makes my eye twitch, but we can do real, deep work

✅ business restructuring and pulling together; despite the…

I’ve been asked to share more of me personally — well, this isn’t quite that! But it’s a neat little video, twelve minutes long, with Ben Mosior:

We have six fundamental needs:
- certainty and comfort (sameness, predictability)
- uncertainty and variety (newness, unpredictability)
- love, connection, and belonging
- significance and uniqueness
And learning/growth (personal development), and contribution to the world.

(These needs come from many places — several of my heroes including Scitovsky, Beer, and Oshry point to them — but they are most clearly spelled out, to my slight embarrassment, by cheesy-but-good self-help guru Tony Robbins)

We’ve all been there. The leaders and politicians/board have literally put their names to the big IT or transformation contract, it’s all signed off. Celebrated with cigars.

Commitments have been made to boards and shareholders, to families, deposits deposited, future income counted.

And the savings and benefits of the programme have been claimed in the financial plans, announced to the press.

Then the work — and trouble — begins. The worst programmes are founded on an absolute inability to ever admit anything is going wrong.

Good people on both sides say ‘wait!’. ‘This IT really doesn’t seem to be a…

At The Public Service Transformation Academy, we are big supporters of Good Help.

This movement and organisation support public services to give help which enables people to be more able to meet their own needs.

It’s evidence-based, it starts with helping public service employees get engaged with the difference between Good Help and bad help, and it’s practical.

>>> We’re pleased to be hosting a webinar with them on the afternoon of 10 March to highlight some brilliant work their network of local authorities has been doing. Don’t miss it. Details below! <<<

The seven characteristics of Good Help are:

Maybe it would be better than you think… try it with me, now.

A classic exercise you can work with straight away (credits below)

Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.

In the right-hand column, write a conversation that left you frustrated, angry — that didn’t live up to expectations. Put down a few key lines of dialogue like a movie script; what was said.

In the left-hand column, write (honestly) what you felt and thought, but *didn’t* say. Maybe you thought you couldn’t? (Maybe you were right!)

Now, think about how you could…

Can you believe some of my LinkedIn posts get read over 10,000 times?

But the LinkedIn update length means everything gets very squished. Here are my top posts so far — which would you like to hear more about?

1- four quadrant of thinking threats (how not to let your self-importance get the better of you)

2- complexity all the way down

3- the campaign against consultancy

4- how to illustrate complexity

5- two fundamental outlooks on life

6- standardised and customised work with your customers

7- making decisions in complexity

8- conscious organisations

9- developing clarity with the three…

My regular LinkedIn updates have been pleasingly successful — it’s so great that thousands of people every week want to read stuff that doesn’t try to dumb things down.

So, what would you like me to share next? Please let me know your choice in the comments:

1- the horror of organisational projects that are ‘doomed to succeed’

2- some of my videos and podcast interviews

3- the left hand column; how to skilfully bring what you think and feel (but dare not say) into the conversations

4- triple loop learning — about doing better, thinking better, and being better

Seven deadly sins:

1- Making a measure into a target will mean it’s no use any more (Goodhart’s Law). People play the scoreboard, not the game

2- Any proxy measure of your outcome will take over as your de facto purpose (I call this Deming’s Law)

3- Many measurements are not repeatable or reproducible (measure the same again, get different results)

4- Averages and percentages mean nothing without understanding the impact of the range

5- Binary comparison (two points of data e.g. year-to-year) are meaningless

6- Failure to understand statistics leads to meddling rather than understanding real signals — responding…

This intriguing image contains two possibilities for organisations, and the people who spend their lives in them

It’s the first modern organisation chart, and here are the stories.

One story is that this was created after the first fatal railroad accident. They hired an engineer, so he saw the railroad as a big machine. The org chart is to allocate blame — ‘let there be no question as to who was delinquent in his duty’.
This shows us why organisations are crushing, miserable jails for the human spirit.

The other story, though, has you take a look at the chart…

I use this image to open a lot of my learning and teaching on service and business transformation. What do you see?

Some see

- white water — froth and waste which we can remove one obstacle at a time, allowing us to see more at each step

- the chance to bore out a concrete channel to carry the water smoothly… until the detritus builds up again

- a flood of demand we need to build defences against

- a rich, living ecosystem we should explore

- upstream and downstream opportunities for improvement

- a keystone arch — a…

Benjamin P. Taylor

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