A perverted system

September 12, 2007

A really scary example of what happens when process builds on process, well summarised here by the BBC. 40 procedures and 30 forms are required to be followed/completed if the police catch a thief in the act of snatching a handbag. If you read through it, you can see how each new procedure was added as a result of some reported failure. With regret this is all too common. Something goes wrong, we make a change to prevent it happening again. Something else goes wrong; another change is made. Before long we have this sort of nonsense. It’s not only Government, you can see it all over industry.

The issue underpinning it is trust. If we trust the police (and once upon a time we did, and probably in the main still do) then we don’t need all these controls. However as trust starts to break down, then we start to formalise things and then over control them: all at considerable cost. The other problem you get with rigid systems is that people can avoid responsibility if they follow the rules regardless of whether they do the right thing or not. We are building deep seated institutionalised perversion into our governance procedures, when we should be looking a trust building, and also at creating responsibility and concern for consequence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

About the Cynefin Company

The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


Social Links: The Cynefin Company
Social Links: The Cynefin Centre
< Prev

Going down to the sea

- No Comments

Sunday evening Huw and I were walking around the harbour at Caen waiting for embarkation ...

More posts

Next >

The causal power of the last tag

- No Comments

For years I have wondered about the disproportionate influence of the final events in sporting ...

More posts

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram