Monday, July 28, 2008
Some very personal opinions on why the Trust was always going to go wrong
A matrix management structure was proposed by the consultants. They did not set out how such a matrix management structure, complex to get right even in mature organisations, should work in practice, or how the Trust should establish operational practices that would ensure its success. Essential management functions such as prioritisation, decision-making, accountability and communication were effectively left for later resolution (which unsurprisingly never happened). To a large degree, the lack of operational clarity implicit in their structure can be seen as the source of much of the Trust’s current management problems. It is unclear what the real drivers of the business are; how the core purpose (whatever it is) of the organisation is achieved and therefore in what direction decision-making should flow. As was pointed out at the time, the most likely means of making this work would be a Service Level Agreement between each Service Division and each Project, again hardly an efficient process.
The other factor not taken into account by the consultants was the prior existence of projects which had already established working practices, mapped out their organisational cultures, and built effective relationships in their marketplace. In principle, the consultants treated the Trust as an organisation starting entirely from scratch and with a clean slate. This would not be a process of change management in which the current situation of the component parts needed to be accommodated. It was not regarded as analogous to an M&A process of integration. The practical result of this was that for the projects, which were already deeply committed to activity plans which would deliver value to beneficiaries, a large new commitment was imposed as top priority – the creation of the Trust. Anything to do with the Trust’s formation was expected to override any other prior commitment. Throughout 2007 this has been causing increasing conflict between projects (Massar and SHABAB primarily) and the Trust.
As a newly-formed organisation, the Trust has had the opportunity to create a powerful and liberating internal culture, very much embodying its stated values, inspiring to its own people and a model for others to follow. It has comprehensively failed to do so.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
100,000 children attend touring activity
Monday, July 14, 2008
The Vision Thing
So I'm rather tired of vision statements. In their place I suggest we speak of New Realities, and of the work that will take us there as Creating New Realities. So the vision statement, reworked, starts: We see a New Reality where... And the strategy/plan begins: We will create this New Reality by the following means... That in itself involves a good appraisal of what constitutes Reality Now, our starting point. And it directly links the top-line statement of purpose by the organisation to the plan required to carry it out.
What's the reply? Come on, you know this. It's become one of the laziest dialogue cliches in cinema history. After a pause it's:
"Now we wait."
Saw this the other day in the original Thomas Crown Affair, and wondered if it was hackneyed even then.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Etiquette for confessions
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Borders and bridles
Shortly after this on BBC World there was a trailer for a Rolex-sponsored feature on some American female equestrian. She spoke of "beating the men at their own game", which made me bridle (geddit?). The thing is, as long as I can remember equestrianism has been a field in which men and women could compete equally. Remember Pat Smythe showjumping in the 1950s? Lucinda Prior-Palmer eventing in the 1970s? Women have been three-day-eventing at the Olympics since 1964! It is just not a "their own game". It's a discipline where men and women have long competed against one another purely on merit, yet this woman made it sound as if she was somehow winning recognition for breaking through an equestrian glass ceiling. Come on, aren't we past this yet?
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