Something nasty arrives

I was astonished, but not surprised, to learn of the growth of new tech companies flogging “employee surveillance” tools. Yes, in these working-from-home times your boss can see your emails, any documents you read or create, your appointments, who you talk to, and when; can listen to or read transcriptions of your calls. Your boss can see your computer screen, can monitor your internet use, the sites you visit and for how long. Your boss can even turn on your camera and watch you at work.

How would you like to be that employee?

These idiots claim that the new tools will enable managers to know your daily “productivity score”, selling this junk as “productivity intelligence” software. It is so dumb, so wrong, so dystopian and so bound to lead to misery, dysfunction and worse economic performance that I’m going to host a webinar to talk about it. Register here.

The book tour finale

Covid halted the book tour. I was enjoying it. Meeting friends, practitioners, kind hosts, and discovering examples of applications that were truly inspiring. But it seems we have to wait a long time to get out and meet people, so I’m doing a free webinar to end the tour. Attendees will, as on the tour, be able to buy the book at half price. Why not get some command-and-control dunderhead you know to sign up? Register here.

Vanguard Method on-line

We have been creating on-line education. An unanticipated consequence was it attracted overseas participants. These are focussed on people-centred services, where application of the Vanguard Method results in better services at much lower costs:

Understanding demand

The big lever is demand. This course equips you to carry out an empirical analysis of demand for people-centred services. Participants leave with an alternative vision for the design and management of their service. Find out more and apply.

Whole system case mapping

The Vanguard Method mapping techniques expose the system conditions that inhibit both quality of service and productivity. Participants identify the causes of failure demand and build an evidence base for designing services on the basis of what really matters to people. Find out more and apply.

Systems leadership in people-centred services

A post-graduate course we run in conjunction with Kingston University.

Find out more and apply.

And this is our popular action-learning programme, applicable to a wide variety of service organisations:

Beyond Command and Control

A four-day course; with periods for taking action in between.

Find out more here.

Moving beyond command and control, how to get started

A one-day event giving an introduction to the Vanguard Method: a better way to make the work work. Find out more and apply.

Meanwhile, back in the mad world…

Boris hires Barber

Frustrated with problems of delivery Prime Minister Boris has brought in Michael Barber, the man who invented what he called the science of Deliverology. Perhaps Boris should have spoken to Justin Trudeau as Canada tried an extensive Deliverology programme and it failed as indeed it did in the UK when Barber did it for Blair. Why doesn’t Boris know? I summarised the problems with Deliverology in an animation. You can watch it here.

Back in 2008 I wrote a chapter explaining the madness of Deliverology. We have put it in the e-learning library.

Priti gets ugly

Meanwhile Home Secretary Priti Patel is bringing in targets for the police as a trade for giving chief constables 20,000 more police officers; clueless.

What good looks like

A Vanguard Method practitioner wrote to tell me he was recently commissioned to review his local authority’s Community Independence Service, a rehabilitation/enablement service for impaired adults. As he said, what he discovered was remarkable:

The right expertise is at the front end, available to take referrals verbally. No forms, no call centre, no script. Referrals are not batched, there are no predictable types of Failure Demand, there aren’t eligibility criteria (other than enablement potential, obviously). There is no unhelpful functional specialisation. If an OT decides a care provision is required at the end of the rehabilitation she organises it herself – there’s no referral to the Social Work service, nor is there any ‘management panel’ signing off the cost. There are no targets, no standards, no rules. The service absorbs variety like no other I’ve studied, worked in, or experienced myself as a customer. While many equivalent services limit rehabilitation to six weeks, the manager recognises that the E2E system will be cheaper if her service works with each citizen for as long as it takes to deliver what matters. We saw some cases where more than 12 months’ rehabilitation had been provided. One young man with autism had a ‘macro’ goal of living independently but needed to achieve a series of ‘micro’ goals – such as meal preparation – to do so. Being autistic, he could only focus effectively on one goal at a time, so the OT and the rehab assistant enabled just that. He now lives independently and no longer writes to his GP with tales of doom.

So how did that happen? He tells me that the manager – a rookie, in her early 30s – was recruited two years ago. Prior to her joining she asked for several days’ intense Vanguard Method induction from him. Once in post she sought consolidating sessions, then continued to ‘pull’ for help whenever she wanted a second opinion.

Goes to show what can be done when you get your thinking cap on. Boris and Priti should take note. But of course they won’t. Their agenda, as with previous governments of all stripes is more central control.

Thanks for reading!