All cartoons © Bruce Petty. Thanks Bruce.
This site is for people who have silently wept into a crumpled copy of their workplace’s mission statement; who have been underpinned by a strategically aligned, innovative, creative, sustainable synergy.
ABC Efficiency Dividends - not cuts
"Well, they're not cuts ... Well, the ABC has been exempted from efficiency dividends for the last 20 years, efficiency dividends which apply to every other department in government, every other agency of government that is funded by the taxpayer. We believe it's important that the ABC, like every other taxpayer funded organisation …operates efficiently.' Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in a radio interview talking about budget cuts to the ABC. The Age, 19 November, 2014.
Patient threshold score
'We prioritise patients to ensure those most in need receive treatment first, however the health budget is finite and some patients who would benefit from elective surgery will not meet the criteria. Patients who do not meet the criteria are referred back to their GP who manage their condition in the community and refer them when they further deteriorate for reassessment.
The score at which a patient is accepted for surgery is determined by a number of clinical considerations, such as the patients other health conditions and their level of pain, and the capacity of the service to provide treatment within a timely manner. The threshold is set at a level where the number at or above the threshold equals the average number of surgeries the service can complete each month.' Thanks to Brian who comments: 'Your health and pain will be determined and will have nothing to do with your chances of receiving surgery. It is about the money.'
'During a debate in the House of Lords, he [Lord Freud, a minister in the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions] appeared to describe the changing number of disabled people likely to receive the employment and support allowance as a “bulge of, effectively, stock”. After a furious response by the people he was talking about, this was transcribed by Hansard as “stopped”, rendering the sentence meaningless. I’ve listened to the word several times on the parliamentary video. Like others, I struggle to hear it as anything but “stock”.
If we’re right, he is not the only person at his department who uses this term. Its website describes disabled people entering the government’s work programme for between three and six months as “3/6Mth stock”. Perhaps this makes sense when you remember that they are a source of profit for the companies running the programme. The department’s delivery plan recommends using “credit reference agency data to cleanse the stock of fraud and error”. To cleanse the stock: remember that.'. ''Cleansing the stock' and other ways governments talk about human beings', George Monbiot, The Guardian, 22 October, 2014. Thanks to David.
Citizen Experience Portfolio
'The Citizen Experience Portfolio has an intimate knowledge of citizen expectations and emergent trends and strategically defines and navigates BDM’s service delivery model to ensure a relevant and sustainable citizen-centric offering. The Portfolio is comprised of the Citizen Service and Citizen Experience Development Teams and has responsibility for the development, implementation and evaluation of services that place the expectations and needs of citizens at the core.
The Portfolio initiates and enables the collaborative exploration and dynamic adaptation of BDM’s citizen-centric service delivery model and citizen value proposition.
The Citizen Experience Development Team is responsible for the development and implementation of business transformation and service development initiatives and accompanying processes and tools. This Team also leads the exploration, analysis and development of citizen-centric discretionary services.' From a job advertisement for a 'Citizen Services Ambassador' at Births, Deaths and Marriages Office in the Victorian State Government. Thanks to Nick Price who rang to find out what the job actually was and was told it is a Customer Service and Administrative role.
'The Centre's focus is the delivery of person-centred, strengths-based and outcome-focused counselling. The emphasis of our work is building on past successes to work through current challenges and achieve specific related outcomes.' Counselling Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Thanks to Dey Alexander.
Vague and undefined?
'This proposal is concerned with the concept of boundary as a place of programmatic slippage that provokes transactivity between coterminous social territories. To begin, one must eliminate the idea of boundary as demarcation line, replacing it with a vague and undefined intensification of space.' BG Architecture's website: a proposal for a design competition for Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. Thanks to Matthew.
Piloting a toolkit
'Provide knowledge on how to communicate and promote immunizations among health care workers by piloting a tailor-made immunization toolkit.
- Increase awareness and promote health care workers' immunizations through a widely disseminated and pilot tested immunization promotion toolkit for health care workers. The toolkit will include recommendation, communication guidelines, tools and fact sheets.' From a HProlmmune presentation, a project aiming to promote immunization among Health Care Workers (HCWs) in Europe. Thanks to David FitzSimons.
Track and optimize your engagement
'Track and optimize with the new Tweet Activity Dashboard - Get free access to detailed analytics on your Tweet activity like total views and engagements for the past 4 weeks.' Thanks to Craig Duncan
Cluster your engaging compliant brands
'Together with other members of the Australian Services cluster (or another cluster as directed from time to time), this position will supply the stories which bring X work alive and ensure that the priorities, approach and impact of X priority work area (along with key messages and beneficiary need and impact stories) are promoted as broadly as possible. The communications you produce need to be:
You will also be required to:
From time to time you will need to produce (to final artwork stage) bespoke collateral designed to engage beneficiaries related to your cluster. Thanks to anonymous.
Human-centric tranformation program
'I am pleased to announce that Deloitte and the Customer Experience Company (CEC) will begin working with the Department on Monday to work with the Department to implement the next phase of the Corporate Services Transformation Program, which aims to ensure that the Department’s corporate services are efficient and effective and meet the needs of our Divisions.
For the next six months, the Deloitte and CEC partnership will work alongside the Corporate Services Management Office to deliver the required outputs of the two-year Transformation Program. The main approach of the next six months will be ‘human-centric’, whereby the CSMO and Deloitte/CEC will work with staff, namely frontline staff, to understand and co-design our future state of Corporate Services.' Thanks to Robin and Leah.
'So it just increases the options and the optionality.' Chief Financial Officer for Qantas, Gareth Evans, speaking on the ABC PM program, 28 August, 2014. Thanks to Jennie and Ian.
'The individual variations are being coordinated in an Omnibus variation to streamline the Territory Plan Variation process.' In a letter from the Manager, Community Engagement, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Develpment Directorate, ACT to residents about an information session. Thanks to Tom from Watson.
Leveraging leadership holistically
'TGLP is a dynamic Practice dedicated to supporting leaders and leadership in Australia and globally who individually and collectively are invested in leveraging their roles to cultivate healthy organizations, thriving societies and the well being of the planet ...
Our practice is holistic and is based on the integration of theories and practices related to human development, psychology, system psychodynamics, systems theory, organisational development and learning, neuroscience and adult and transformational learning. We examine the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and energetic dimensions of leadership and organisational life.' The Global Leadership Practice. Check out their video - not unlike Weird Al" Yankovic's Mission Statement. Thanks to M. Scott O'Keeffe.
What the Australian Department of Defense calls dismissals. ABC News, 5 August, 2014. Thanks to Peter Anson.
Welcome to Sense?
'Welcome to Sense. We are a confident, creative agency, where strategic planning and meticulous evaluation lead to faultlessly executed brand experiences.' Sense London. Thanks to Courtenay Rule.
A song from Weird Al" Yankovic. See video of the song on his website. Thanks to David Roser.
Microsoft: Lighting up the strategy by right-sizing
'Microsoft’s strategy is focused on productivity and our desire to help people “do more.” As the Microsoft Devices Group, our role is to light up this strategy for people ... We expect these changes to have an impact to our team structure ... We plan to right-size our manufacturing operations to align to the new strategy and take advantage of integration opportunities ... We plan that this would result in an estimated reduction of 12,500 factory direct and professional employees over the next year.' Stephen Elop's email to employees,17 July, 2014. Thanks to Dey Alexander.
'... there is broad agreement that the retirement phase has received far less attention than the accumulation phase. Is the super system investing in the right assets; is it funding the economy effectively and why are there not more products protecting retirees from longevity risk and volatility in retirement?'. From the Grattan Institute's Sydney event 'The Financial System Review and superannuation .' Thanks to Rod Duncan who comments: 'This is a risk I'm willing to take!'
Q: Minister, is there a boat in trouble off Christmas Island?
A: It is our standard practice as you know, under Operation Sovereign Borders, to report on any significant events regarding maritime operations at sea, particularly where there are safety of life at sea issues associated, and I am advised I have no such reports to provide.
Q: Is there a boat?
A: Well, I have answered the question.
Q: … So are you saying that boats are not leaving (for Australia)?
A: We are always ready for boats that may arrive and we always anticipate that they may seek to come and we are always ready. We are ready today, we were ready yesterday and we will be ready tomorrow and the government’s policies will continue to prevail.
Q: So Mr Morrison, you are not even going to confirm there is a boat, you are not going to say what is happening if people are in the water? Their boat is leaking, we are told – leaking oil – and you are not going to say anything about that situation?
A: What I have said is that it is our practice to report on significant events at sea, particularly when they involve safety of life at sea. Now there is no such report for me to provide to you today. If there was a significant event happening then I would be reporting on it.
Q: So what does that mean?
A: You are a bright journalist. I’m sure you can work it out.
Q: No, we are asking you, Sir. You are the minister.
A: And I have given you my response.
Q: So could you clarify, Sir, for us – at what point does an event become a significant event involving a boat on the water?
A: When you see me here standing and reporting on it.
Q: And you are standing here reporting.
A: I am not. I am saying there is no such report for me to provide to you today.
Q: Are you saying that it could be a hoax that people are saying they are in trouble?
A: I am not saying anything of that at all. I am not confirming any of these matters. This should come as no surprise to you. This has been our practice now for the entire period of this operation. This is another day at the office for Operation Sovereign Borders.
'Scott Morrison interview takes on Pythonesque proportions' by Annabel Crabb, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 July, 2014.
Last month it was revealed Scott Morrison’s departments employ more than 95 communications staff and spin doctors, costing at least $8million a year.
Brands and their Influence
'Values drive our behaviour, underpin culture, influence who we vote for and what we buy. Values change markets, yes even the share market and grow sales. From understanding these drivers, you can harness their influence through your brand to grow business, improve business continuance and so much more.
Our site is designed to provide you with information on leading brand and influence practices. Our consultancy offers innovations in brand and influence that will improve sales and marketing efforts, increase reputations and grow customer loyalty.'
'Apart from an extensive design and brand experience, Monika Evers is also trained in a number of values and transformation modalities: NLP; Dip Shamanism; WOM; MBTI. Her understanding of the unconscious, values and beliefs underpins her unique MetaBrand System® of processes and strategies in brand, influence and loyalty.'
I don't understand my children's school reports
“His concrete understanding of number and place value allows him to effectively implement a range of strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems”
When I take away the bullshit from this, I guess he can add and subtract. Apparently he has an “ability to model inclusion to his peers”
So he’s inclusive? Or a psychopath who is able to “model” inclusion but really not give a rat’s?
“He is learning to stay focused and engaged on his tasks so he can fulfill his potential and complete them within the set time frame.”
Leaving aside the bad grammar, we actually found out he was being kept behind at recess because his hand-writing was so slow. From him.' Paul Chai, Daily Life, 3 June, 2014.
Our vision - Enhancing Life and Liveability
'Our Strategic Direction formalises our vision of ‘enhancing life and liveability’ for our region. It establishes our commitment to achieve this by working with others to overcome the challenges we face.
To deliver successful outcomes we're focussing on our approach to doing things, as well as what we do.' Melbourne Water. Thanks to Andrew Orr.
The CBC report is, shall we say, unwieldy in its use of jargon
'Report: “Local service is at the heart of the public broadcaster’s role and remains a top priority for audiences. Local news, in particular, is prized by Canadians. A space for us all reaffirms the importance of a regional presence across the country and commits to being even more local than today, but at less cost.”
Translation: We plan to produce just as much local news with fewer staff, for less money. A job posting will soon go up for shamans, alchemists, magicians and grifters who have ideas on how this might be accomplished. (These are non-union positions.)
Report: “CBC/Radio-Canada will identify important target segments, and be intentional about the specific purpose of each service for the respective segment. The focus is to engage target segments intensely with some, but not all, services; to engage Canadians in the public space in a way that is meaningful and personal to the individual.”
Translation: Okay, I was stumped by this for a bit, but I think it means that news about birds and books and other things of interest to old people will continue to be found on radio at 6 a.m., while the rest of you can play the latest game about Drake’s pants on your iPhones. Could be wrong, though.' Elizabeth Renzetti, The Globe and Mail, 28 June 2014.
Decision Accelerator Parking?
'We will ultimately need a cup redesign but the short term action is manage perceptions.' Paul Berman, DePuy's director of hip marketing, April 2008. From the ABC Four Corners Report: 'The DePuy ASR hip replacement - a metal on metal device which was implanted in almost 100,000 patients worldwide, including 5,500 here in Australia. The device failed thousands, some of them poisoned by cobalt and chromium. Most have needed further painful, and often unsuccessful, surgery.'
Underpinning environmental impacts
'LCA is a method to calculate environmental burden of a whole system, for example, poultry production, and so far there has been no consistency globally in the way that assessments have been conducted. The FAO project has significant benefits. Firstly it provides guidelines that will underpin future research and allow harmonisation within the poultry sector in terms of how environmental impacts are conducted. Secondly, these guidelines provide a framework that can underpin possible future product environmental footprinting of food products, and for monitoring improvements in industry performance in terms of its environmental impacts.' Stephen Wiedemann, an agricultural scientist with FSA Consulting. In a press release: 'Australian Chicken Meat Industry Participates in the Development of Global Environmental Guidelines for Poultry'.
Lost in translation: the impact of medical jargon on patient-centred care
'On the managerial side, it's no secret that the NHS has a healthy (or otherwise) liking for waffly jargon. Whether touting vague initiatives such as the now-defunct world-class commissioning or talking offline about negative uplifts (eg funding cuts), NHS managers are notorious for their mastery of nonsensespeak.
Perhaps it was inevitable that the world's fifth largest employer should develop its own particular way of abusing the English language. Fortunately, there is a light-hearted side to it all, with NHS staff and others posting lists of their most-despised terms. It's less amusing, though, when considered as a symptom of a managerial, target-driven culture that, by undermining patient-focused care, has contributed significantly to major disasters...' Conor Farrington, Guardian Professional,1 July 2014
Did PowerPoint Ruin GM?
'Here’s one way General Motors Co.Chief Executive Mary Barra can start fixing her company’s management culture: Ban PowerPoint ...What if someone had simply stood up, without a visual prop, and said: “People are dying.”' Joseph B White, Wall Street Journal, 6 June 2014.
Communications tool box
'Those who know Mr Abbott – and have seen him operate up close over many years – also note he is a prolific winker. It's a technique he uses to draw others in and put them at ease – a part of his communications tool box.' Matthew Knott, The Age online, 21 May, 2014.
'Being an educator, I am no stranger to business-speak. Indeed, things can become so turgid and dull sitting in some meetings, most of which have admirable aims and intentions, that I resort to playing buzzword bingo, hoping and praying that, in some way, I can relieve the tedium by standing up, A4 paper in the air, shouting “house” because I have successfully ticked off all 24 of the items of gobbledygook that people at work seem to spew forth with seemingly gay abandon.' Jonny Mitchell, 'Chief Educational Solutions Practitioner - Deliverables Section', Halifax Courier, 19 May, 2014.
In terms of
'We must get more out of the department in terms of productivity and in terms of numbers, more efficient numbers.' David Johnstone, Minister for Defence, Age 23 May, 2014.
Not a tax?
'Budget repair levy'. Australian Federal Government.
...the Taxpayer's payroll function was a single point dependency...
In other words, there is only one person who works on the payroll. Thanks to Andrew whose client asked for this amendment in a letter to the Australian Tax Office.
The growing pandemic of political speak
John Kerry, America's ever-more-pontifical secretary of state, recently began an answer about Middle East peace negotiations by declaring, as he often does: "I want to make this crystal clear." He then went on to do the opposite, blathering on about "facilitation," building eventually to this howler: "The president is desirous of trying to see how we can make our best efforts in order to find a way to facilitate."
Listening, I marvelled. Why would such an accomplished, educated man gum up an answer so thoroughly? Surely it would have been simpler to say the president wants to help...
In this book, he [Steven Pinker] shines a pitiless light on our love of words like "framework," "process," and "model." (I could easily add another 20 or 30). These, he says, are meta-concepts, or "concepts about concepts." He compares them to the layers of packaging material a customer has to hack through to get at the product.
And of course there's our over-hedging — the use of qualifiers like "apparently," "evidently," "rather," "comparatively" and "presumably." Editors call that journalistic caution. Pinker calls it "wads of fluff that imply [writers] are not willing to stand behind what they are saying." 'Why politicians and academics don't just say what they mean', Neil MacDonald, CBS News, 23 April, 2014.
The worst workplace jargon
'The worst offenders in workplace jargon, and the ones I'd most like to ban, are words or phrases that are so amorphous and so meaningless that they can be inserted anywhere and mean anything. Or, of course, nothing at all.
Take "deliverable." What does this really mean? What's wrong with "assignment," "project," "report" or even plain old "deadline"? I guess "next steps" and "follow-ups" (as a noun, of course) got too cliched, so we needed a fancier word.' An article by Jena McGregor, The Washington Post, 26 March, 2014.
An asylum seeker, 23-year-old Iranian Reza Berati, was killed during violence at the Manus Island immigration detention centre late on 17 February, 2014.
'I can guarantee their safety when they remain in the centre and act co-operatively with those who are trying to provide them with support and accommodation. When people engage in violent acts and in disorderly behaviour and breach fences and get involved in that sort of behaviour and go to the other side of the fence, well they will be subject to law enforcement as applies in Papua New Guinea.' Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, 18 February, 2014, ABC.
'I have indicated over the next few months I would like to see this matter at least get to some point of knowledge on this.' Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, ABC, 21 February, 2014. Thanks to Peter Anson.
'You don’t want a wimp running border protection, you want someone who is strong, who is decent and Scott Morrison is both strong and decent.' Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, 23 February, 2014.
'I wish to confirm my statement of last night that further information provided to me yesterday indicates that the majority of the riotous behaviour that occurred on the night of February 17 at Manus Island, and the response to that behaviour to restore order in the centre, took place within the perimeter of the centre ... Information is rarely perfect soon after the event...
We are in the process now of G4S transitioning out along with the Salvation Army and Transfield transitioning in to ensure we have one system that operates across both of these centres. So the learnings and the operations of these centres can be more closely integrated. Now this was a key learning that I think came out of the Nauru fire report...
One of the issues I am confident will occur as a result of the integrating of the contractual arrangements between Nauru and Manus is I think a much more disciplined and consistent approach to messaging to people who are living in these centres. Now this is important...
At the end of the day as I explained on Friday, I outlined the governance arrangements for the centre and I would refer you to my statements on that. We are in that transition now from the former services providers to the new service providers under Transfield and what will come with that is I think a more integrated and applied focus to managing these issues which will give me greater confidence.' Manus Island incident, review into Nauru riot, Sydney press conference, 23 February, 2014. Scott Morrison.
'These are my principles. My vision for Australia is for a nation that is strong, prosperous and generous: strong in our values and our freedoms, strong in our family and community life, strong in our sense of nationhood and in the institutions that protect and preserve our democracy; prosperous in our enterprise and the careful stewardship of our opportunities, our natural environment and our resources; and, above all, generous in spirit, to share our good fortune with others, both at home and overseas, out of compassion and a desire for justice.' Scott Morrison's maiden speech in parliament.
'There will be an overall envelope of resources for operating costs that will be subject to a downward trajectory over time representing efficiency. Within that envelope, there will be very broad freedom to tailor pay and conditions to the requirements of the marketplace.' UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond quoted in the article 'Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Impenetrable jargon is Defence Secretary’s most powerful weapon' by Donald Macintyre, The Independent, 21 March, 2004.
The executive university
'"You will provide innovative leadership, strategic planning, and management of liaison and research support services across the library services portfolio, including policy development, quality assurance and high level liaison with strategic partners. Other leadership responsibilities include the library's web and electronic interfaces, cultural collections and archives." No hands-on stuff with books in this one...
...calls for a deputy vice-chancellor (engagement) who 'provides strategic leadership for the external engagement and representation of the university... The role plays a pivotal part... in fostering strategic alliances with key stakeholders from industry, government, education and community groups'. 'Strategy' and 'strategic leadership' keep popping up. Devising tactics is, presumably, the lot of subordinate breeds...
The appointee will provide 'outstanding academic leadership' and 'will be committed to Deakin's premium cloud and located learning and teaching strategy, graduate employability and innovative research'. Deakin's pro vice-chancellor and friends are going to be high as kites and approaching visions of heavenly bliss...
'The opportunity now exists for a strategic and visionary leader to head this new faculty.' Enter, stage left, the executive dean who 'will develop the vision for the new faculty... and implement the strategy in order to create a cohesive and dynamic environment that takes the health disciplines forward in all domains - research, teaching and engagement'.'
From an article by Arthur O'Neill, on the University World News site, 14 March, 2104.
Driving a core set
'Driving exciting innovation with a focus on our core business sets.' Lego website. Thanks to Steve Grant.
Two In One For A Successful Lifestyle Outcome
Who's the weasel?
... He [Defence Minister David Johnston] said the navy had been "maliciously maligned" by the ABC's coverage of the matter, dismissing the public broadcaster's apology as "weasel words" by it's senior management. '' I have not said much because, I have to confess, I was extremely angry. I required some time to cool off,'' he said.
When asked why his department had not answered a detailed list of questions by Fairfax Media based on a detailed eyewitness account, Senator Johnston said it was a matter for Mr Morrison because it was a ''civil public policy issue''. ''When you give me something to act upon that is more than just hearsay, innuendo and rumour, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it,'' he said.
Asked to respond to specific claims the navy boats turned off lights at night, allegedly to avoid detection in Indonesian waters, Senator Johnston said ''I'm not aware of operation matters''. ''You need to put that to border protection command.''
Nor could Senator Johnston explain the circumstances surrounding the asylum seeker's injuries.''They're on water matters that are not my responsibility because it is civil public policy matter,'' he said.' The Age, 7 February, 2014.
Stewards reported that in a race on a wet track at Pakenham, Victoria, recently the jockey said he had had 'visibility issues' in the back straight.
Empowering the kids
'Our vision at Florey Primary School is to empower students to acquire, demonstrate, articulate and value knowledge and skills that will support them, as life-long learners, to participate in and contribute to the global world and practise the core values of the school: respect, tolerance & inclusion, and excellence.' The ACT's Florey Primary School's mission statement. Thanks to Rod Avery.
Engagement and connectivity
'The University of Limerick (UL), Ireland with over 13,000 students and 1,300 staff is an energetic and enterprising institution with a proud record of innovation and excellence in education, research and scholarship. The dynamic, entrepreneurial and pioneering values which drive UL’s mission and strategy ensures that we capitalise on local, national and international engagement and connectivity. We are renowned for providing an outstanding student experience and conducting leading edge research. Our commitment is to make a difference by shaping the future through educating and empowering our students.' In a job advertisement from the University of Limerick in Ireland. Thanks to Matthias Maiwald.
Seven drivers of reputation
'As a key stakeholder of Origin, we are keen to seek your feedback on how we can improve our ongoing engagement with your oganisation through an independent and confidential study. This perception study, based on the internationally recognised RepTrakTM model tracks mass market and Key Opinion Leaders' views about Origin against seven drivers of reputation.' Letter to a key opinion leader from Origin Energy.