Posted tagged ‘lessons’

A Good Job

October 11, 2011

Lifelong learning

Last week the world was shocked to hear of the death of Steve Jobs, the charismatic co-founder and spiritual leader of the IT giant that is Apple.  Seen by many as the father of the i-mac, the mac-book, the i-pod, the i-phone and the i-pad, Jobs left behind him a legacy that has forever changed the way we use technology, the way we listen to music and the way we connect to information simply and easily wherever we are.  He also played a key role in turning Pixar into the giant that it is today and was a big part of the Disney board.

Doubts will undoubtedly rise as to how Apple will respond to this loss.  Whilst he officially stepped down earlier this year to be succeeded by Tom Cook, Jobs still played a key role internally and externally within the company.  Trying to follow a man like Jobs is a tall enough task; after his untimely death it will be all but impossible.

This is not a technology blog which will go into the short and long term future of a single tech company, nor is it a business blog discussing the private sector, but there are many parallels and lessons to be learnt by us in local government from the successes and failure Jobs had over the years, and the way Apple will now need to evolve to ensure it survives and thrives as it has before. (more…)

Between a rock and an asphalt hard place

September 20, 2011

Going and getting nowhere very fast

For those of you who have missed the news recently, Basildon BC are facing a bit of a tough time from just about every angle as they start the process of physically evicting around 400 travellers from their current site this week.  Originally they had planned to send the bailiffs in first thing on Monday morning, although a late court injunction was granted to put this back until at least Friday, and then possibly longer after that.

This is the beginning of the end to a process which began a decade ago, when the Council began trying to move a then-smaller group of travellers on from the site but were unsuccessful.  It is difficult to pick some of the facts from the story without coming across as biased towards one viewpoint or another, and not being immersed in the situation we don’t want to say whether one is in fact right or wrong, but it’s worth for a second reflecting on the challenges the Council faces here.

In the first place, they are being pressurised by local people to move this group on.  According to their consultation findings, they claim an overwhelming majority of local people want them to take the action that they are now trying to push through, with few arguing for the opposite.  If they stood aside and allowed the traveller community to stay on their site then they would be going against the wishes of the pre-existing local community.  This of course assumes that good practice principles were followed when undertaking this consultation, but we have to believe that if they hadn’t been then they would have not got as far as they have to date.

They also have many years of planning law and regulations to consider.  Over the years, countless buildings and developments will have been proposed to the planning department for a huge variety of structures and potential communities.  Some will have been successful, others will have fallen foul and not been allowed.  By the looks of things, the travellers have developed the site they are on without going through these processes and/or abiding by the findings of the planning department, carrying on with their own plans regardless. (more…)

Being proud of the failures

June 28, 2011

It really is an optionWe all make mistakes.  Mine have included making decisions above my pay grade, sharing information in a meeting which I ‘thought’ everyone knew and not kissing Katie Patterson when her big sister locked us in the shed together (true story).

Believe it or not, organisations make mistakes too.  We commission projects which don’t do as well as we thought they would, we employ people that don’t end up performing well and we add things up wrong so that our accounts are more entangled than a plate of spaghetti.  And the similarities between personal and organisational mistakes?

We cover them up.

The general consensus is that if you can hide things away well enough or spin it around so that a new set of success measurements are achieved then you’ve won.  There’s always next year after all, and neither you nor the organisation can then be accused of not being good enough – solid reputational risk management, surely? (more…)