There are not many people who have not either read the book or seen the film Lord of the Rings. In that story, Sauron, the evil wannabe ruler of Middle Earth has his watchful eye over all (almost) his lands and over all (almost) its peoples… and we know what happened to him!
“I want to see at every level, where there are signals of something that is going wrong (or about to go wrong), so that I can correct it” – sound familiar? This seems to be the cry of many senior executives in the Public and Private Sector who are semi-savvy about the powers of IT to provide them with a God’s Eye View of everything that is happening in their organisation and beyond. Well be prepared to be busy!
The problem is, the IT guys are just as much of a problem – “yes, of course we can do that”!
We were with one large Police Force recently where initially there was a request for the Senior Executive Team to be able to see across all Local Policing Units, through Commander level, Superintendent level, Chief Inspector Level, Inspector level, for all crime types, for all geo-demographics any and all signals of where crime might be going out of kilter. We explained that, although this was technically possible, they didn’t want to do this. Why?
It runs totally against the grain of joined-up Systems-Thinking in several ways. In the interests of brevity, I will just list 3 (perhaps readers can add their observations in comments below):
- There will be so many signals, the Executive Team will not have the capacity to look into them all
- If the senior team are going to look at essentially tactical signals, why do they have all the ranks between them and the Public – are these ranks supposed to sit on their hands and wait to be told what to do by those with a God’s Eye view? Seems a bit wasteful!
- Do these other ranks not come to work with a brain, wanting to do a good job – if so, then the above approach is a great way to demotivate them! There is one outcome this approach will be highly effective at – moving excellent staff from being real “Players” to either being “Spectators” or “Cynics”, and if this is kept up for any length of time, to “Walking Dead” if they still remain with the organisation (see future blog – Energy-Investment Model).
The alternative is to provide “The Right Information, to the Right People, at the Right Time” – the subject of our previous blogs on Why Performance Reporting is NOT Performance Management – see https://cranfieldcbp.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/why-performance-reporting-is-not-performance-management-part-66/
… and to run meetings where the question “Who comes together, with What Information, Where, When and How” is answered.
Or else it’s “One Ring to rule them all … and in the darkness bind them”!