Monday, September 7, 2020

Andrews 4


Very broadly speaking, there are two types of people who deal with planning but from different perspectives and mindsets.  Each has a role to play but rarely do both attributes reside in the one person. 

There are the ‘block’ people who build success by gradual change from the bottom up.  This is the minutia set, the people who are happiest when dealing with individual issues and are critical to the success of basically everything.   Nuts and bolts!  Without their dedication to keeping stuff happening we would not have a world.  Their ‘escape’ is for example ‘science fiction’ where their brains can wax lyrical and expand into the unknown.

The second lot are the ‘jigsaw’ people who can visualise the big picture and how all the bits fit.  There are less of these people because the demand is less.  Dealing with minutia for these people is hard because inherent focus is different.   Their escape is to for example to meticulously clean the golf clubs before challenging the unwinnable [grass].

This gets really hard for sole traders and small business people.  ‘Poiders Plumbing’ is run by a block person happily dealing with minutia but needs to understand and market himself as a jigsaw person in order to thrive.  Wendy’s events business is all about bringing together the many facets of a function to create success but has real difficulty in hands on.  Different people, different jobs.

In management there is a dysfunction line when people cross the boundary between minutia and jigsaw - either way.  A great manager decides to ‘roll up his sleeves’ and get stuck in.  A noble cause?  Not really.  It may be therapeutic for a while but his mindset is in a different place and it will not work long term.  But, every now and again, devolving to minutia is a defence mechanism to stop us going crazy.  Going the other way, the minutia person enters an expanded universe over the line and is immediately uncomfortable because there is no one-thing on which to focus.  Again, it will not work.  Everyone has heard the expression, ‘promoted to a level of incompetence’.  Well, this can be a reason why.

This dysfunction rears its ugly head when we look at our elected representatives coming from all walks of life expected to cement our collective future in a changing world.  They love the election because they can pontificate at length about single issues pretending they are in control.  Not so.  The ‘look at me’ syndrome is born of shouty people who would be better served by a job within the bureaucracy.  Shout long enough and people will believe. 

An expression used a lot by people who are basically out of control is ‘we are working hard’ but all they are really saying is that they are in fact out of control and having to work harder and harder to keep their collective heads above water.

The in control person says, ‘We are achieving our published goals and, this is how we are doing it’.

In charge, but wallowing around without a clear and communicated vision and subsequent plan does not cut it.  It confuses the block people trying to action anything and it confuses those who need to know.


When a crisis hits all the management flaws come to the surface.  Good times management is relatively easy as all is tickety boo and we ignore small issues because in the big picture they don’t really matter.  ‘She’ll be right mate’.  And, for the ‘lucky country’, this axiom has worked for years and years.

Now we have an axiom contradictor in the form of a virus threatening and indeed changing our way of life.  The pressure is on and merely ‘working hard’ is insufficient.

Andrews ‘roadmap’ delivered yesterday as a plan to beat the contradictor was inept because it had no vision other than ‘please God may the virus go away if we are all good little boys and girls’.  There was no vision of a future other than a return of sorts to pre-Covid.  He delivered same in his shouty voice and stare down manner trying to be seen as in control.

Yet we know, he was responsible for the mal administration causing this second wave, huge monetary losses and hundreds of lives.  He is out of control and has been for the last 8 years.  An elected representative out of his comfort zone but refusing to do what all good managers do, seek advice from experts, develop a vision people can identify with and take transparent action to achieve that future.

Hard?  Of course it’s hard.  It’s hard in good times let alone during a crisis.

Victoria has a tough road to follow to get out of the world perception that we are the out of control pariah mendicant state.  We need a mantra which can both lead and enthuse. If I may quote from Robin Sharma - “I am more than I appear to be, all the worlds strength & power rests inside me.” A great line which could also serve Victoria well as we bolt out of this crisis.  Victoria - "I am more than I am being quiet, determined, respectful and focussed." 

This is the sort of focussing vision we need to be supported by a bunch of real goals thrusting us into the future.  Not a minutia led ‘level crossing maintenance’ objective but real visionary stuff.  The sort of vision Keating, Button and Howard had, combined with the strength Hawke had to galvanise a nation, the financial smarts of Costello and the CEO Premier showcased by Kennett.

What we have is quite different.  We have a minutia led Premier trying to focus on just one thing being to eradicate the virus.  It happened on his watch and he is responsible for the mal administration costing billions of our dollars and many many lives.  He needs to fix it.

But is he capable?  Obviously a minutia / block thinker trapped in a jigsaw thinking job.  So, no he is not capable.  Worse, he has refused to recognise obvious shortcomings and get appropriate help.

None of us can claim to be the absolute fund of all knowledge but the better of us recognise this and seek support.  The more serious the matter the more this is critical.

Obviously, my opinion of Andrews is not very high as it relates to the job he is not doing.  But it doesn’t mean there is not a way out.  Andrews needs to cede management control for Covid 19 to an expert team removed from government – as good managers who know their limits do.  He also needs to develop a vision for Victoria which people will gladly follow.  He needs to communicate a positive ‘carrot driven’ plan to extract ourselves from Covid normal to be seen globally as a dynamic state dealing with pressure.  He also needs to develop a set of long term goals people will flock to.  Then he needs to action those goals through transparent plans communicable to us mere lemmings.

Basically, business 101.

We don’t have basic business ‘101’.  We have people trapped in the wrong job.


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