Monday, 20 August 2007

Public Servant Management Speak

Boyfriend's ex, who works for the Dept of Work and Pensions copied him this memorandum that she and her colleagues received from management. It was a while back but he has just shown it to me. Boyfriend wrote to Polly Toynbee with a copy and she accused him of making it up!

"Language of Leadership

Accelerated Breakthrough Culture A culture that actively promotes personal and organisational breakthroughs by empowering and encouraging people to lead from the future.

Alignment The process by which staff become aware of, and commit to, the published dreams and stands of their leaders. Working to the same objectives with the same level of understanding.

Authentic Free from politic, posturing and hidden agendas.Genuine, something that we're committed to, believe in, is real and reasonable. Not making false commitments, being realistic about what can be achieved. Being honest with both yourself and others.

Background Conversations The inner dialogues that motivate our behaviour but often go unpublished. This is the noise in your head, the whispering in your ear, that stops you from listening and stops you from believing and trusting. That silent voice that says 'I don't believe you' 'it'll never work'. If we don't deal with that voice, it drowns out everything else because it just gets louder and louder.

Breakthrough Happens when everyone suddenly sees the same view from the far side of the bridge, commits to action and makes it happen. Realising that we should all be working in the same direction.

Committed Conversations Conversations borne out of a facilitative leadership style which encourage both parties to commit to agreed outcomes as opposed to windbagging over why these can't be achieved.

Customercrats A dream of bureaucracy being replaced by customer service and the perception of bureaucrats being replaced by customercrats

Dreams If anything were possible, with no constraints, how could things be? The only way leaders can establish this is by allowing themselves to dream about the future.

Dream Enabler A leader who encourages their people to dream.

Dream Weaver Someone who thinks about the future possibilities and can paint a picture on how things might be done. A Dream Enabler who brings together and supports the dreams of their people.

Headsets (Perceptual) A concept used to illustrate how we internalise external sensory prompts and react according to our memetic conditioning - it's as if everything that we experience is filtered into our heads through a perceptual headset which taints it's authenticity by comparing it with our past.

Hot Culture An organisational culture which actively encourages innovation, risk taking, authenticity in communications etc.

Leading from the future A leadership style that features dreams, stands, alignment, authenticity and support, and encourages leaders to remain open to possibilities.

Listen Generously More than active listening, generous listening is a state of attentiveness that allows you to listen virtually from the speaker's perspective, perceptual headset off, truly open to all possibilities. Listening generously can pay big dividends because then you will hear what the person is really saying (can be a pleasant surprise!).

Memes Memes are in essence the stories we hold in the limbic store of our brain, our 'memetic conditioning' being the values, beliefs, experience etc (stories we tell ourselves) which make us the way we are.

Mine the gold This phrase dovetails with listening generously. However tiresome the person, however little time you have got, however fixed your view, if you conscientiously mine for gold in what people are saying you'll be surprised at the valuable little nuggets you will find.

Perceptual filters/headsets A concept used to illustrate how we internalise external sensory prompts and react according to our memetic conditioning - it's as if everything that we experience is filtered into our heads through a perceptual headset which taints it's authenticity by comparing it with our past.

Possibilities The mindset where we allow ourselves to consider how things could be, where we non-critically and non-judgementally allow our minds to be open to all possible options in the hope that this may generate innovation or breakthroughs.

Promises An element of the language of action. Straightforward, unambiguous and authentic.Rather than say you'll try to do something, be positive and make a promise about what you will do. Such committed conversations will leave both parties clear on what outcomes they can expect and will encourage you to deliver.

Quit and Stay just sitting there or you're paying lip service - but you have a very loud background conversation going on that says "I don't want to be here" or "this is rubbish". Either way you are not adding value, not being true to yourself and people can tell that's what's going on.

Stands Having dreamed their dream of the future, a leader will then share that dream with their people to encourage alignment. Part of that process involves the leader making a stand for what he/she is passionate about, often followed by promises and requests to realise the dream. (eg My dream is for us to be universally recognised as the most efficient government department in the country. I stand for less bureaucracy, better training and I promise to support any initiative which……etc).

Stories Our past - it all boils down to the stories we tell ourselves inside our head. Those stories are often influenced by the stories other people have told us - people in authority, people we respect, the media, books etc and our own experience.

Storyteller A person who can explain how it could happen locally. Can illuminate the vision by telling the story. The way in which the vision is put into language people relate to.

Swirl This is where we normally live - in that frantic world of work. Busy, so busy we forget what it is we're really trying to achieve. We then revert to type, all becomes too hard, and we start leading from the past. Every so often, check if you are in a swirl or not. When we are operating in the present and are faced with the pressure of competing priorities, it can feel as if we are in a swirl, within which we lose sight of our dreams and goals and consequently take actions which don't support those ambitions. The swirl describes the confusion and pressure of being in a place where issues are in danger of overwhelming you and your actions are taken more often than not simply to keep yourself from going under.

Thank your mind for sharing When you suddenly realise you're having a background conversation, say it to yourself - it acknowledges the thought and moves you on.

Understudy This is linked to the whole concept of background conversations. Are you present at a meeting, listening generously and open to possibilities, or is your understudy present while you indulge in elaborate unpublished background conversations?

What if… A component of the language of dreams, often used as a way of framing your dream for others. An indication that you are considering possibilities and seeking alignment.

Why/Because A linguistic indication of operating from the past. The search for logic/understanding/reason behind all decisions, and the perception that a decision which cannot be justified in these terms is a bad decision. A sure way to stifle innovations and potential breakthroughs.

Windbag Conversations The opposite of committed conversations. The often elaborate lengths we go to when justifying our inaction or lack of success on an issue. The search for excuses (legitimate or not so legitimate) why X could not be achieved (perhaps when we never really saw the possibilities in that approach in the first place). Sometimes an indication of frustration : sometimes a way of delaying difficult decisions."

Splendid. I am glad that's clear then.


Mermaid of Moorgate said...

"Thank your mind for sharing"

A bit worried this is too much like talking to myself and answering as well. In which case, is this madness? No, the Jury's still out. Ok, thanks for sharing...

see? lunacy!

Lilith said...

Are you sure you are not suffering from a Perceptual Headset, MM?

I thank your mind for sharing...

Lilith said...

As Boyfriend points out, somebody somewhere will have been paid the equivalent of an entire departmental budget to come up with this crap.

The Hitch said...

I think the response is

I had cause to speak to a chap who works for DWP last week ,no I wasnt signing on ( I beg for a living with a dog wearing a hat) and he told me that he and his work mates were all at the end of there tethers . They keep getting more and more forms to fill out and even worse as part of browns cost cutting drive were told that staffing levels were to be cut by 10 % with no suggestions as who it should be or how to cope with the extra work.

true blue said...

Balderdash ! The only paragraph that had an appropriate heading was the final one. Windbag Conversations !

Lilith said...

"Quit and Stay just sitting there or you're paying lip service - but you have a very loud background conversation going on that says "I don't want to be here" or "this is rubbish". Either way you are not adding value, not being true to yourself and people can tell that's what's going on."

Someone should show this to Gordon Brown...

Lilith said...

It is very interesting the insights one gets from DWP workers Hitch...a lot of them earn less than the claimants they serve.

Quite so, TB. Poppycock! would also be appropriate.

nomad said...

WoW! No wonder these departmental consultants can get paid by the millions! It must take a life time of study to be able to write such crap with such fluency... Do the folks that churn all this out actually believe in it? Well, do they? Or are they just taking the piss?? Do these consultants have mission statements along the lines of "To befuddle the client with banal breathtaking bollocks daily"?

The problem with many government offices these days is that the staff are all so busy trying understand this sort of Birtspeak "blue skies" bullsh*t - visions, charters, mission statements, targets etc - that they have no time left to actually get on and do what they are paid for.

When I finished reading it my immediate thought was identical to True Blue's at 14.55. Neil Kinnock would be proud!

Nomad said...

Hallo again, folks. In case you had not noticed, you will all be pleased to know that As a Dodo has today officially declared Office Work as demised. Must have been the verbiage wot choked it.

Newmania said...

I don`t see why Polly Toynbee shoud be suprised she wrote it . She likes that sort of thing

Lilith said...

Precisely Newmania, that's why Boyfriend sent it to her, not because he thought she would write about it..

Lilith said...

"To befuddle the client with banal breathtaking bollocks daily"?

Oh, yes, and they get another consultant company to come up with the first consultant company's mission statement too. Trebles all round!

Tuscan Tony said...

I think the last definition was possibly missed of the list:

"Unemployable Crackheads - the people who thought up the above"

It can't be real. Surely not. Please say this is a scrumpy-fuelled joke from deep in the West country!

electro-kevin said...

Memes is the latest buzzword and is ubiquitous on the more 'serious' blogs. I think I spied the word first in the Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion - this is bound to be a favourite with the luvvies hence its filtration into conservative parlance. Vert telling as to who runs the show isn't it ?

Nice to be back and to see you again, Lilith.

Read my blog as to why I have limited time for writing.


Lilith said...

'fraid not TT. It's the real thing.

Lilith said...

E-K, so lovely to have you back. Now you and your lot have vacated the campsite I shall be on my way down to the Regis for a peaceful week or so of camping ;-)

Scroblene said...


Boyfriend and I are at one; as I read it, I thought word for word what he told you as posted at 13.55.

Tuscan had something similar recently too, about not eating in hospitals when some staff are supposed to fast.

Anonymous said...

Amazing... its this kind of thing which puts us of work...

Boyfriend said...

The other matter my ex mentioned was Tax Credits. They were given a preview of it, and how it would change their work, 6 months before it came into being. They all said "It ain't going to work". All over the country, DWP workers said "It ain't going to work".

And lo. It didn't work. And Gordon Brown is hailed as an economic genius. When did genius become a synonym for moron.

They also hugely enjoy the incerdibly expensively printed and produced glossies telling them how wonderful the DWP is, and that becaus they have to spend so much money telling the staff that this is the case, there's no money left for a salary increase.

You know it makes sense ...

Lilith sends love to all. I'm at him feeling anti-social after discovering my little brother who I loved and kept an eye open for, turned into a cunt sometime recently. Families ....

Boyfriend said...

"At him" - freudian slip for "at home". Were brother to re-appear, I would be at him, and would therefore cry "Have at you Sir", and knock him down the steps. Horsewhipping is too good for the little shit. Odd though, he's turning into our (alcoholic and abusive mother), a fate worse than death as he couldn't stand her! And his ex, a lovely woman, said "Oh god - you thought that as well..."