Reading on Tuesday 24 January

Whitehall wastes money on rehashing policies is the Times headline reporting on a Cabinet office report that approx £500m is wasted on Civil Servants working up policies that their predecessors found unworkable because the filing system isn’t up to the job.  This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest due to two things.  First, the daft delivery-back office dichotomy (as if you can deliver effectively without good quality finance, procurement and, yes, filing) and second, a focus on headcount in the Service.  The latter, combined with political obsession over the former, led to a radical reduction in admin level staff over the last 20-odd years.  Now, being a filing clerk is neither a glamorous nor exciting job (take it from someone who knows from experience!) but comprehensive files are absolutely critical and this study shows why.

E-Sports have been growing steadily but haven’t quite yet reached the tipping point.  The news that some Big Ten universities in the States are going to send teams to the League of Legends is a possible “weak signal” that we are approaching it however.  Interesting that a university in Chicago is now offering athletic scholarships to E-Sports players.  The tipping point will, I think, come when it is recognised by the NCAA.

In the 15th century, or thereabouts, there was a spate of books by learned thinkers providing advice to rulers on how to conduct themselves.  These Mirrors to Princes focused on the classical and Christian virtues.  Then along came Machiavelli who said we had to look at the world as it was, not as we wanted it to be.  This resulted in his version of the Mirror, titled simply “The Prince”.  In the modern world we have our own version of the mirrors in the form of leadership self-help books for CEOs and would-be CEOs.  Then along came Jeffrey Pfeffer who, in books like “Leadership BS”, said we have to view the world as it is, not as we want it to be.  He also blogs, albeit infrequently.  Here are a couple of his from the last year – How to mythologise yourselfThe wisdom of embracing your adversaries; and Deception as a core leadership skill

Donald Trump in means what he said shocker.

Being involved in setting up an RSA Fellow-led network in Scotland, Building Inclusive Growth (BIG), I found this blog post on how to develop a successful network really interesting and useful.  As the network moves into the next phase, I am going to follow some of this advice.


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