Monthly Archives: September 2012

Who’s leaving at 3pm?

Sir Michael Wilshaw, England’s chief inspector of schools doesn’t want teachers to leave at 3pm. (BBC,  22/9/12)  This suggests that he thinks they don’t work hard enough and long enough.  He concludes that hitting them in the pocket will produce better results – either by limiting the pay of ‘under performers’ or by (allegedly) increasing the pay of the apparently dedicated.

I suggest Sir Michael needs to think again.

If staff leave at 3pm why is this?  Is it that they are naturally idle?  Is it that they don’t like teaching?  Or some other reason?

May be it is the impact of the endless targets, imposed ‘best’ ways of doing things which I suspect in many cases are invented by ‘those who don’t teach’.

Imagine this.  A school, an education system where teachers are allowed to determine the way they teach, where they can apply methods which they know work.  They know they work because they see the results in the children.

Managers and so called leaders dictating to professionals is de-motivating them, reducing their performance and any desire to excel. That is why they (apparently) leave at 3pm.  They have no control in what they do because they are constantly adhering to the latest edict, filling in plans and forms.

They are blaming the people instead of the system.

If those in charge gave freedom back to teachers, they would be inspired to improve the quality of education and not want to leave at 3pm.  Teacher need to feel that they own teaching

The challenge is getting those in-charge to understand that some things are counter-intuitive.

A load of bull?

Chatting to farmers is not something I normally indulge in but today was an exception.

What the farmer told me, if true, shows a shocking waste of resources and an increase in costs which presumably we, the buying public pay.

The story goes something like this…   …cattle are reared in Yorkshire, specifically Aberdeen Angus cattle.  Once they have been fattened up on Yorkshire’s finest greenery, they are taken by lorry to Scotland.  When they arrive in Scotland they are Scottish (apparently).  The cattle are slaughtered and sold in England as Scottish beef.

How crazy is this?  Where’s the benefit?  Will it taste different because it’s been slaughtered in Scotland?    No.  Will it cost more?  Yes.  Will it make more profit?  Probably yes.  Is it good for the environment?

I’ll leave the systems thinkers and the lean specialists to pick the bones out of this one.         

They set targets for Personal Payment Insurance and look what happened.

The impact of mis-selling personal payments insurance rolls on, now with concerns about the activities of claims management companies. 

It started with financial services companies providing loans.  There’s nothing particularly wrong there, providing the lending is prudent and appropriate.  Let’s assume it is.

These companies wanted to increase their profit margins, as they were targeted for revenue.  Increasing the interest rate charged on the loans was difficult as this is transparent and consumers can easily compare rates between different lenders.  Adding PPI was easier.  Selling PPI where the customer was not eligible was easy too.

All this was driven by a pressure to hit targets for the financial services companies.  Targets which were not linked to their customers’ needs; just those of the finance companies.  Had the measures been put in place related to the customer the outcome would have been very different.  For example an objective to sell PPI to 80% of eligible customers may have been better.

The problem with targets is that they make people cheat.  Management pressure people to hit targets.  Sometimes factors external to the situation make it difficult or impossible to hit the target.  As more pressure is applied staff find ‘alternative ways’ of meeting them, in this case by selling PPI to people who were ineligible.

Now the Legal Ombudsman is having to intervene as claims management companies driven by targets unrelated to their customer’s purpose.  The failures of mis-selling have created an industry to sort out PPI and now that being scrutinised for its own failings.

We need to get to grips with understanding our customer’s purpose and then measuring our success against it.  This will help us build stronger and more ethical businesses.  Fulfilling true customer purpose is the key to success.