Posted tagged ‘success’

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…)

Delusions of grandeur

April 26, 2011

Sign of success or taking your life away?

About two years ago one of my close friends got herself a new job in a neighbouring public sector institution. The new job was a step up and my colleagues and I were amazed that her new job provided her with a PA. If you’ve got a PA, we thought, you’ve really made it.

I was recently reminded about this as my friend moved on to a new challenge in a new country. So in her honour here are the top five trappings that (really don’t) show that you’ve made ‘it’ in local government.

1)      You have a PA. I have no idea what I’d do if I had a PA; I think I like being in control of my own life too much to be at the whim of someone else. That being said, I’ve done the job and genuinely believe that I played a highly valuable role in keeping my boss in the right place at the right time and ensuring that what he (and yes, it was a man; stereotype or no stereotype) wanted to get delivered was delivered (usually by me). Maybe it’s a mindset thing and once you’re there you know how to make use of them?

2)      You are allowed your own office. Gone are the days when every manager had their own office; now in the world of the open plan, if you have an office you have truly made it. I once worked in a team which wanted to abandon offices altogether and set up a totally office free floor. We then appointed a new director and the first thing he did was build himself (well, we got people in but you know what I mean), and his senior management team, a set of offices.

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Being influential

April 12, 2011

Not quite in the top 50...

For those of you who don’t follow us on twitter you may not have seen the Local Government Chronicle’s ’50 most influential voices in Local Government’ supplement which was published yesterday evening.

The supplement does exactly what it says on the tin and amongst other Brucie bonuses also includes a section outlining 8 ‘organisations with influence’.

We are very gratified to say that our local government blog, written by ordinary officers, is one of them. (Page 19 of the supplement if you want to check it out)

We’re also incredibly proud to be on a list with groups like the New Local Government Network, Local Government Information Unit, Centre for Cities and the Young Foundation. To even be considered alongside these organisations is, to put it simply, awesome!

So do check out the LGC 50; it’s a really good read and highlights some of the great work going on in Local Government. Meanwhile our heartfelt thanks go out to the LGC, the judging panel, those people who anonymously nominated us and all of you who read this blog.

It’s all just a little overwhelming.

Let’s Spread Some Good News

November 30, 2010

He doesn't endorse us, but maybe Russell might appreciate our efforts!

Russell Howard does many wonderful things, including what I consider an excellent TV show entitled Russell Howard’s Good News.  In this he trawls the news stations, papers and websites, picking out some things which deserve ridicule and being picked apart which he does with aplomb.

However, he also makes a special point to pick out some simple good news stories which should be shared for good’s sake.  These are things with no pithy punchline or demand for incredulity; rather they are stories which perhaps are a little unusual but which bring a smile to the face and warmth to the heart.

In no way are we trying to compare ourselves favourably to he of TV fame, but we do identify with what he is striving to do.  We too like picking apart some of the funnier and stranger goings on in our own little corner of the world, attacking where we feel it is needed and defending on occasion as well.

With this in mind we would like to announce our first direct call out to our readers.  Over the past few months we have seen our readership rise from ourselves (seriously, one week we had a total of 20 views, and a dozen of these were by my Mum) to thousands of people a week.  Whilst we would love to think it is our prose which attracts you to these pages in reality we know it is probably down to the fact that you work in or with local government and can share in our musings. (more…)