Posted tagged ‘measurements’

What profit do we measure?

April 12, 2012

But you can't fire me, I work for local government!

Wednesday night in our house is Apprentice night, when it’s time to snuggle up on the sofa and revel in the personality switches which take place as colleagues working together for success turn on each other to protect their own backsides.

This fight for survival may be worthy of a post in its own right, but what’s interesting me at the moment is one element of how the unlucky victim and recipient of the dreaded catchphrase is chosen. Throughout the current series it’s been a simple target; profit. When running a business (as the contestants all do here) this seems fair enough, as that is after all one of their ultimate goals.

Profit, especially as it is simplified nicely on the show, separates the succesful from the failures, acts as a clear line between who has achieved the highest goals and who hasn’t and provides a clear barometer of meeting targets. It often doesn’t matter so much how they get there, how much is spent on the way or the feelings of those involved; it’s cold, hard profit which rules the roost.

In the world of local government, things are nowhere near as straightforward. Profit is not a goal which is desirable, and indeed can be seen by many as a sign that something is not being done properly. Money is assigned to service areas based on real or perceived needs, political whims or historical inertia, rather than on the basis of which investment offers the greatest potential return on investment for the balance sheets.

We in local government under this administration measure our success otherwise. In the old days of Local Area Agreements we were measured against literally hundreds of targets and goals, which in turn were measured against perceptions from the public or centrally set figures. Both of these were to a greater or lesser extent based on what one group of people or another thought success looked like, or at least what failure was. (more…)

Measuring up

October 18, 2011

Time for some more measurements?

I started writing this article one Monday morning at 7.21am.  I was at my desk and had finished going through my e-mails, and was just about to dive into one more urgent message when I glanced down and noticed that little fact.  I know I have several meetings in my diary and a full workload, and will probably not leave the office until 6.30pm at the earliest.

This is not unusual.  This is not good.

A while ago I posted here about when I was told that I no longer needed to complete timesheets.  At the time I took it as a good thing, believing that it freed me from a regular chore and one which meant little anyway; I was hardly likely to change my working hours to suit my total working week, was I?

Well, perhaps I should have been.  Since the need to record and track my hours was removed, I’ve slowly but surely found myself working longer and longer days.  I’ve taken far less time off in lieu, and have often gone without lunch as I simply didn’t have time spare.  Whilst some of this can be put down to an increase in responsibility and similar excuses, not all of it can be. (more…)

Going GaGa for Bono?

October 7, 2010

I browse a bit on t’interweb for interesting things to look at and/or read.  Sometimes I come across vaguely interesting concepts hidden within huge and complicated arguments, other times I’ll read a single phrase that will resonate one way or another.

Today I was reading up on social media and the difference between influence and popularity.  This is a big issue for many businesses, and one that I think local government will be looking at increasingly over the next 18 months to three years.  It’s the argument that just because a lot of people ‘like’ you doesn’t mean much at all – it’s about turning that popularity into something productive and mobilising people to do things.

That’s when I came across this phrase:

Lady GaGa is popular. Bono is influential.

This got me to thinking: should local government be more like the meat-wearing weirdo that is Lady GaGa or the glasses-wearing weirdo that is Bono tm?  In other words, should local government be popular or influential? (more…)