I’ve been having a “bit of a moment” over the last few months where the superficiality of leadership in business in general and government specifically has caused me lots of tutting and fuffing.
It’s finally dawned on me what’s bothering me and wondered if my conclusions made sense to anyone else?
I realised a while ago that one business driver in the health sector was the sheer complexity of information around the provision of health care now. The volume of data available to inform decisions is so vast and disparate that we cannot expect an individual to consider it all when reaching decisions about care journeys and pathways. When things go wrong it is always easy for others to point to yet another set of data which “should” have been considered.
Hence the growing traction of “expert systems”, that are attempting to assist front line staff in their decision making, and “management systems”, that are attempting to assist front line staff in…well, just keeping track.
But what sort of systems are available to our business and government leaders to help them to consider all that is under their jurisdiction and to keep track of it? Nothing…they are reliant on their staff to provide them with an objective view of what’s happening and they need to be asking the right people, the right questions…even down to what they are actually spending.
Now, in my experience neither of these things happen with any rigour, if they can be avoided, as it’s all takes too much commitment to basic information gathering and analysis, when there are fun things like self-promotion to be done.
The result of this failure to gather information is that whole businesses and departments can be so badly off track before those who are leading them have any idea that things might not be as they seem.
The reaction of the leadership and their staff is to spin the real reasons that the situation is so far out of control…shock, horror…thereby maintaining the status quo and protecting both set of jobs.
We’ve seen it in government departments and the private sector…in banking it seems to be part of a standardised cycle with fines every year. It is a useful technique to master if you are a business leader who wants to avoid being saddled with responsibility…
…the alternative, which seems to have fallen out of fashion is “the buck stops here”.