Friday, August 22, 2008

The Bones Commission: everybody wants a box of chocolates and a long stem rose…

And so the Executive Summary was published, to the sound of an orchestra of badly played kazoos. To be honest, after all the conjecture, the result has been a bit disappointing. Not as disappointing as the way the document was handled though…

As an object lesson in how not to convey a message of change, the Bones Commission has achieved near perfection. A high-profile launch, some pretty comprehensive consultation and then… nothing. A timetable which slipped by just enough to raise suspicion, plus some judicious leaking to give the impression that the document was cover for a naked power grab by the leadership, and the muttering was underway. Oh dear, this isn’t working terribly well, so we’d better publish the executive summary. Of course, we all know that the main document is much more interesting… I wonder what it says…

I can’t help but feel that we deserve better. As the ‘poor bloody infantry’, if we don’t have a feeling of common purpose, we have nothing. Unlike so many Labour activists, who appear to be able to accept virtually any insult from their leadership as long as they keep winning, or Conservative activists, happy to accept the kiss of the organisational whip, we tend to be rather less willing to blindly trust our generals.


However, rather than proposing that we set up a commission to look at how we might best improve our communication skills, here are some proposals for our glorious leaders;
  1. If your timetable is slipping, tell us what is the likely revised date and what the cause of the delay is.
  2. Address the leak. If it’s anonymous, condemn it. If you find out who it is, purge them - they almost certainly have their own agenda, and it probably isn’t friendly.
  3. Launch it and then publish it - in full. By all means put it in a member-only area but do tell us that you’ve done so.
Organisational change is difficult, especially when the entrenched interests have much to lose, often deservedly. You make it harder when you bungle the delivery of the message…

3 comments:

Duncan Borrowman said...

I hope Henley Business School teach people how to conduct internal audit better than the way this was done. If internal audit doesn't have ownership by those it impacts on it is doomed to disaster. See my comments at http://antonyhook.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/opinion-about-bones-fcc-give-you-only-2-mins-to-say-it/

Duncan Borrowman said...

And at http://duncanborrowman.blogspot.com/2008/08/putting-flesh-on-bones.html if you haven't read them already

Jennie said...

I don't want chocolate. I'm allergic to it! And I prefer lillies to roses...

Everything else you say is spot on though.

;)