What SMART change to the control environment is being made?
I am sure we have all read the report. It does not take long. Once the blame game subsides, what has changed or will change now? That is my question.
Whilst SMART objectives are a little cliché these days, they do still serve purpose when seeking visibility of behavioural change, and thereby regaining trust in systemic failure.
SMART move to avoid committed change…
- Time bound
Not that much of this report is intended to be anything more than presentation of facts. My concern here is that we have sixty pages that simply gift the tabloid tickertape and headlines a few more inches – but none of that will lead us anywhere meaningfully forward.
This report is a pretty disappointing an output by volume. By quality, the analysis and conclusions are so very weak and devoid on any tangible opportunity to act. And I see nothing coming to challenge that fact.
Painting over the cracks
In the end we are being offered a report that describes a clear dereliction of duty. The greater dereliction here is what is happening beyond this report. The failure to offer SMART actionable change should concern us all.
I present the key wording that foreshadows this coming apathy to change. In essence what this reads is “mistakes were made, but changes are afoot, and you just need to trust us not to do it again“.
All of these quotes are from pages 36 and 37 of the Sue Gray report.
Mistakes were made:
“…attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with the guidance…”
“…failures of leadership and judgement in No. 10 and the Cabinet Office…senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear the responsibility for this culture…”
“…lack of respect and poor treatment of security and clearing staff. This was unacceptable…”
unquantifiable actions taken, thus enabling leadership to once again escape:
“…fragmented and complicated leadership structures in No. 10. I am reassured to see that steps have since been taken to introduce more easily accessible means by which to raise concerns…embed a culture that welcomes…challenge and speaking up…”
“…changes to the organisation and management of Downing Street and the Cabinet Office with the aim of creating clearer lines of leadership and accountability…”
More time being gifted to avoid measurable improvement:
“…I am pleased progress is being made in addressing issues I have raised…”
“…since then guidance has been issued to all Government Departments…”
“…now these need the time and chance to bed in…”
visibility | behaviour | trust
If this is the direction of change, then we will be no closer to increasing visibility and addressing inadequate behaviours (as intent, belief, action). There can be no expectation of increased trust.
In any other context, this would not stand. Yet here, we all seem powerless to intervene. Let’s at least start with asking the better questions. What SMART change to the control environment is being made, to which you (PM) stand personally accountable for?