It’s not all about us
As well as my day job (which in itself is a poor description unless you take day to mean 24 hours and not just the “daylight” hours), I also hold a voluntary position with a local school. Whilst it takes a lot of my time but is probably one of the most rewarding things that I do and certainly the one with the clearest defined outcomes and associated sense of achievement.
Recently the local authority held a conference which I attended along with the Head teacher and 160 other employees and volunteers. That is 160 people responsible for providing education all taking a day out of their already manic schedules to listen to their lords and masters. To say that I was underwhelmed is an understatement, but I kept my counsel after all it wasn’t about me and I come from a different world.
At the end of the day, I turned to the Head Teacher and asked, “Did today help you?” she hesitated and then said, “no….no it didn’t…..but they are always like that”.
The fact that there was no benefit and the fact that this was normal acted as a salutary reminder that “we” the head office people, the bureaucrats, the pen pushers, the bean counters, we are there to make life easy for the front line people. We are there to take away the hassle, to support, to resolve, to assist. We are not there to create work and drive our own agenda, we are not there to self-serve but to serve.
It’s easy at times to get lost in our own worlds, to lose touch with what is going on, what is important for our organisations, what they are trying to achieve. We don’t spend enough time with the front line people finding out what their pressures are, what we can do to help, what we are doing to cause them issues. Instead we create a purpose of our own and blame them for not being “compliant”. If it isn’t a legal or governance issue, then why the hell should they comply?
Whether it is public or private sector makes not a jot of difference. Your organisation is there to provide education, healthcare, tins of beans, financial services or whatever…….it is not there to provide admin and red tape.