Category Archives: Management
Good, bad and Indifferent!
Since long before I retired from the police and like many others, I became increasingly disillusioned by the levels of inept management within British policing. Although I often expressed my views on the matter, they were often ignored. This was mostly due to my lowly position in the hierarchy of policing, along with a (perceived) lack of any formal qualification actually ‘allowing’ me to formulate or have an opinion…
When there was any interest expressed in my opinion, it was usually shown by platitudinous (deaf) ears. I had to do things differently, firstly I sought to add credence to my opinions with academic study. Secondly, I turned to blogging and social media where I set about trying to publicise the issues I was concerned about, the ones that were impacting on operational police officers and the public they serve.
I engaged in regular debate and contributed to various blogs and forums looking at policing in general, police reform in particular and got my head around some management theory. I started to take an even greater interest in the wider public sector issues, government austerity measures, politics and the policies impacting upon police service delivery.
During this mostly educated (but also sometimes anecdotal/opinionated) engagement with others, I have found some very interesting, knowledgable and highly experienced people on my virtual travels. In addition to all the somewhat simplistic (but still valid) opinion of many, I found the views and sound observations of Inspector Simon Guilfoyle to be of great interest.
I contend that all numerical targets are arbitrary and cause dysfunctional behaviours, but argue for relevant and proportionate performance measurement within a systems context…(InspSimon Guilfoyle)
Simon, in a similar vein to Steve over at The Thin Blue Line Blog (but by different methods), seeks to cut out the cancer of current management methods in policing. His ‘systems’ thinking, in addition to being interesting, is also presented in a manner which is very easy to understand.
Simon produces ’evidence’ based and ‘academically’ sound information and opinion, often published in humourous manner via his blog on the subject (see here). He has highlighted many of the issues currently driving the predominant management methods within policing today. He previously pointed out how; the impact of targets on policing delivery are a crime in progress. There is (thankfully) an increasing group of people within policing who are now in total agreement with his views, I would also count myself as part of that group.
In addition to the interesting and acclaimed pieces of work he’s done on the subject recently, Simon has now produced a book about ’systems’ in policing (see below). His book is receiving some great comments and many recommendations; it has to be commended to anyone responsible for management within policing.
This book could be game changing for the police service. Systems thinking theory can be viewed as complex and challenging, but not for Simon Guilfoyle. In this book he provides a comprehensive and cohesive explanation of the theory based on years of research and his practical experience of applying systems thinking in a policing context…(Ch.Supt. Irene Curtis)
Simon’s book is also available as an Amazon Kindle e-book (click image) and more reviews can be found HERE.
Intelligent Policing: How Systems Thinking Methods Eclipse Conventional Management Practice by Simon Guilfoyle - A Triarchy Press Publication
Foreword: John Seddon
Book type: Paperback (and e-book)
Today, despite mostly trying their best, many police managers are actually prevented from doing the ‘right’ thing for their officers, for policing delivery and for the public they supposedly serve.
On this morning’s Chris Evans Breakfast show (BBC Radio 2); Baroness Julia Neuberger, whilst discussing the news of Margaret Thatcher’s recent demise alluded to a predominant problem here - ”If you want to lead, you won’t always be liked.” Too often, our political ‘leaders’ (and police managers) are far too preoccupied with public opinion and press relations. They are so tied up with pandering to that opinion, be it actual or perceived, they end up being just too busy to actually do their job.
There is no doubt that management within any public sector organisation is an undertaking that is an onerous task these days however; the most important task is simply to manage the delivery of a good ’service’ to our society, nothing more and nothing less! Perhaps the time has come for police ’managers’ to try some new methods?
You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew…(Albert Einstein)
Try some ‘systems thinking’ in your police leadership and management, not for you but for us!
Random examples of previous articles from my blog
- Police Scotland: The way forward for British Policing? (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- #SocialMedia: Inspector Gadget and Satyagraha (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- British Policing: The Engineer of It’s Own Demise? (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- #Policing – Hard times ahead but still got my fingers crossed (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- #Policing – The fallout from #Bettison (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- British Policing: (Avoidable?) UKcop #FAIL (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
The now familiar “You have two cows“ jokes were originally a parody of the typical educational examples used in introductory-level economics course material.
A typical example is: “You have two cows; you want chickens; you set out to find another farmer who has chickens and wants a cow”.
The above example was used to show the limitations of the barter system, leading to the eventual introduction of currency and money. Some later examples of the jocular parody include…
- SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows. – You give one to your neighbour
- COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. – The State takes both and gives you some milk
- NAZISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.
- BUREAUCRACY: You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.
- CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.
- RBS (VENTURE CAPITALISM): You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.
- SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
- AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.
- GREEK CORPORATION: You have two cows. You borrow lots of euros to build barns, milking sheds, hay stores, feed sheds, dairies, cold stores, abattoir, cheese unit and packing sheds. You still only have two cows.
- FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.
- JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.
- ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.
- SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.
- CHINESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
- INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.
- IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the sh1t out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.
- BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad and, despite reading the label carefully, you find one of your cows is actually a horse.
- WELSH CORPORATION: You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive but more difficult to reach than your two sheep.
- SCOTS CORPORATION: You have two cows. It’s open to debate as to whether or not you own your cows, or they’re just a constituent part of the greater British herd.
- NORTHERN IRISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. After hundreds of years you still can’t decide if they are Nationalist or Republican cows… Oh Feck!
- AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for lunch and a few beers to celebrate!
I wonder how the ‘two cows’ illustration should be applied to the British Public Sector and in particular, the management of our Policing and other emergency services? Any ideas?