How Not to Inspire a Green Revolution – or anything else

I awoke this morning to hear the following rallying(?) cry on the Today Programme:

‘We need nothing short of a green revolution…if we are to hit European targets on climate change’.

I didn’t catch the speakers name – but the last reason that we need a green revolution is to hit European targets. In fact I can’t think of a worse reason for a revolution.

Yet many managers use this kind of pathetic rhetoric on an almost daily basis.

‘We need to improve training and development as part of our pursuit of third star’.

‘We need to improve boys literacy at Key Stage 2 if we are to get a good inspection’.

‘We need to increase sales if we are to hit our targets’.

Most people do not care about targets or inspections.

They do care about doing a great job, doing the best that they are capable of and making a secure living. So we should be saying:

‘We need to improve training and development so that we can deliver the very best public services that we can’.

‘We need to improve boys literacy at Key Stage 2 if we are to be a great school’.

‘We need to increase sales if we are to increase our profitability and grow the company’.

Perhaps the most inspirational speech ever is Martin Luther Kings ‘I have a dream speech’. Here is an excerpt:

‘I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.’

In the hands of the unknown revolutionary on the Today Programme this might have become:

“I have a plan that one day we could pass some really good equal opportunities legislation and pursue some really ambitious diversity targets.”

Management is a Team Sport

I get to work with a lot of businesses.  Some of them are successful.  Very successful.

And all of the successful businesses have one thing in common – a successful management team with diverse talents.  Between them they are able to produce a great product or service, market and sell it brilliantly and have in place first class financial management, planning, forecasting and controls.

If good management teamwork is a pre-requisite for a successful organisation then why are so many management development programmes designed to work with individuals and to promote the cult of individualism rather than good management teamwork?