Thursday, 9 February 2012
How To Get Nothing Done
Yesterday, it was a meeting. Luckily, one free of all the usual meetings problems, contending factions, power struggles, point scoring, rubbishing other peoples’ ideas etc. We were just trying to sort out a few things in a mess we had been left with and wondering what to do next.
On retirement it was my sworn ambition to avoid meetings at all costs, avoid ones involving budgets especially and anything to do with personnel matters or any of the usual administrative baggage. Been there, done that, goodbye and no regrets as one went off into the sunset.
Despite considerable success over a number of years in achieving this ambition force of circumstances has meant that some contribution is necessary. If it was bad before in many ways it was nowhere near as bad as it is now.
The basic problem was the law and regulations etc. with which we were faced. At one time decades ago a lotl of this was clear to read, decently structured on the whole and understandable for those who paid close attention. Legal cases and decisions were not quite the same but with effort some sense could be made of them.
Not anymore it isn’t. We were faced with badly written law, confusing structure, garbage text, inbuilt assumptions out of date when the drafting of it began and enough loose ends to make a Fair Isle pullover.
This means unintended consequences, risks and the potential for compensation claims. Even the expert drafted in could only say maybe this or maybe that and that a lot of it eventually would depend on decisions in courts and tribunals.
But we do not want to do this, least of all to be the first in to the fray. We are old, tired, short of brass, risk averse and I for one look forward to watching football matches with the sound off in order to concentrate on the lip reading. We compete to see who spots the most naughty words or obscene insults.
This is being selfish. The poor “ess oh dees” that work for a living have to face this sort of goings on every day. Consider that at any time across the land there are tens of thousands of staff employed by large organisations consulting thick books of guidance and advice.
Also, there are endless bad scene meeting going on thrashing out what you can do and cannot do. There are endless committees meeting time and time again to draft and redraft all the explanation and guidance.
Down amongst the small fry of the economy whilst many may simply avoid all this and take the risks, others cannot and face night after night of paperwork and compiling figures and information for the vast machinery of government.
This is the working economy; then there are all the voluntary and charitable organisations who have to do much the same. They almost cannot move now without shifting more paperwork than a 19th Century navvy shifted earth.
No wonder the economy is sluggish, people cannot move for all the rubbish law and regulation. The sheer effort of trying make and implements decisions must take up most of the initiative and direction of business and government.
And it is getting worse.