Saturday, 21 March 2015

Leadership - A Duty of Consistency and Common Sense

I read a newspaper article today about a Japanese academic, an expert on China, who works at my old alma mater, the University of Nottingham. She has been forced to leave the UK because she has failed to meet the home office requirement of living in the UK for more than 185 days a year. She was unable to meet that commitment because she had to travel for her work and spent 270 days in China in 2010 and 202 days there in 2011. She has an Australian husband and a one year old son born in the UK. After initially being denied the right to stay in the UK, a judge declared that it was not in the national interest to deport her given her expertise (she advised the UK Government and some of her research was government funded). The Home Office in its infinite wisdom appealed and she has abandoned her claim because of increasing legal expenses.

Meanwhile the country pays host to scores of foreign criminals, often ruthless and violent, who manage to evade deportation, even after serving lengthy prison sentences because they have conned the increasingly useless justice systems over their human  rights.

Before you turn away, this isn’t another article about the nonsensical human rights regulations and their constant abuse and deliberate misinterpretation by our liberal elite. The problem is more that we have lost sense of consistency and common sense in so many parts of our daily lives.

The problem occurs in government, across the civil service, in local authorities but is also rife in private companies and corporations. The larger the instituition, the larger the problem. As systems get bigger, they get exponentially more complex, and as complexity increases inconsistency is almost inevitable. The failure to address inconsistency is largely because we fail to use common sense.

How often do we see businesses embarking on massive redundancy programmes, eliminating their valuable, knowledgeable and loyal staff, only to take on more useless managers and expensive contractors with no loyalty, and with no experience of the real and specific organisational issues that face them.

If we could use a little common sense every time we spotted an inconsistency, we could start to eliminate the inconsistency at least, and maybe even fix the root cause of the problem that gave way to the inconsistency in the first place. In my circles it’s called Continuous Improvement. By fixing problems as you encounter them it is possible to start to control complexity by reducing the number of problems that can occur in the future.

But instead of fixing the right problem, our leaders cover up the issues by creating new rules and regualations and introducing more complexity and more inconsistencies. And the vicious cycle starts over.

As we head towards the general election our politicans should seriously think about policies that end these nonsenses and engage their frontal lobes with a bit more rigor before they embark on the next round of rules and regulations that make our blood boil.

Sadly, it will be too late for Dr Miwa Hirono.

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