Posted tagged ‘metaphor’

Diving into the downward spiral

February 13, 2012

How cool does this look?

When I was a kid our local leisure centre had a cool water flume type ride. What was great about it was that after you had gone through the fun of the flume it opened out into a big bowl which you spun round and round before dropping out of the end. It was great!

Please bear with me as I torture a metaphor but being in local government is a bit like that water ride at the moment (and not in the sense that it is great).

The top half of the flume represents what local government has experienced so far. Much like the tube section of the flume was predictable, if difficult to control, the budget cuts so far have been understandable for local government. Yes, we’ve been shaken from side to side and yes it feels like we are being pushed downwards by a never ending torrent of budget cuts (told you this metaphor was going to be pushed) but at least we’ve been able to manage the cuts within the context of a direction of travel we all sort of understand.

To return to my flume the ride in the tube was always fairly similar but the big bowl at the end was absolutely unpredictable. Sometimes you flopped straight down into the hole and sometimes you went round and round before falling rather ungracefully into the hole after 30 seconds or so.

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The council fridge

May 18, 2011

Room for all sorts of freshly chilled metaphors

A friend of mine recently moved jobs. When I asked him how it was going his answer was fairly simple:

‘You should see how horrible their fridge is!’

It was an odd observation but now I have thought about it I think you can genuinely tell a lot about a team by the quality of their fridge.

Here are the similarities between a council and their fridge:

1)    We all work in silos

If ever there was evidence of silo working it’s the council fridge. Open the average fridge and you’ll find at least three or four bottles of milk, and nearly all of them will have black marker scrawled over them detailing the exact team who ‘owns’ that milk. And on Friday the poor old cleaner will end up having to throw away four three quarter used bottles of milk.

Why don’t people work together to share the milk? Why don’t people work together to solve other wider problems? It’s simple really, ‘I bought ‘have the budget’ for the milk ‘service’, we need the milk ‘service’ and those tight accountants will keep stealing it unless we make it clear who owns the milk ‘budget’… Or something like that.

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Locally social

January 25, 2011

If Bob Hoskins thinks it's good to talk, that's good enough for me

Last week I took part in the #lgovsm tweet up.  For those of you who haven’t had a look, it sees anyone interested in how social media can be better used in a local government setting all logging on to Twitter at the same time and talking about a central topic.  By adding the #lgovsm hashtag they can all then track the same conversation and respond to each other.  @loulouk started this a while ago and it’s sparked many a fantastic debate.

Social media is a topic close to my heart.  Communication is an area that has always fascinated me, ever since I realised that with a tonal change, a shrug of the shoulders or simply a….. pause, the entire meaning of words can shift and change.  Growing up in a world getting to grips with IT meant that it was inevitable that these fascinations should merge, so with venn diagrams all over the place I find myself in the enviable position of ‘doing’ some social media as part of my job.

The funny thing is, I don’t get it personally.  I don’t want to tell people meaningless snippets of information, nor do I want to always share my opinions on a given topic (understanding as I do the near permanence of anything published on the web).  But for local government, for me the possibilities seem endless. (more…)

Jumping ship

January 19, 2011

All aboard the good ship Local Government

I LOVE how creative our readers are. Today’s guest post is one beautiful extended maritime metaphor and I think its great!

I boarded my Local Government vessel several years ago filled with optimism for a long and trouble free voyage. Starting as a lowly deckhand, I had aspirations of becoming a trusty midshipman. The kind of middle ranking officer, that would be dependable in troubled seas and one day given command of a boarding party to capture a marauding Pirate Ship and win pride and bounty for my Captain.

To be honest, looking back the seas were a little choppier than expected, the food was edible (though riddled with maggots) and I still find myself scrubbing the decks and manning the oars but for a little forays up to the Crows Nest. It’s fair to the say that the ship has had a few leaks, the timbers are past their best and it’s had to be patched up on several occasions, with some fairly poor craftmanship. It is none the less seaworthy.

My ship however is now under attack, by a very large vessel flying the colours of the current Conservative Government and an Eric Pickles size hole (which is very large indeed) has been left in the hull following a recent exchange of fire. The crew has begun indiscriminately casting off cargo over the sides, in a desperate attempt to raise the ship high enough above the waterline and outrun the immediate danger. Despite desperate attempts, we are sinking.

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