leadership training V

This week’s leadership training session was all about how to manipulate – sorry, influence – people by finding their levers, so they are attached to you and the organisation with ‘authentic commitment’. Which of course brought to mind the book of Job, which begins “There was a man in the land of Uz…”. How could I resist such a temptation….

There was an Institution in the land of Oz,
And that Institution had a Job.
And that Job was good, and the Institution did it well.
And the Institution had seven schools and three faculties.
And the Institution wakened early in the morning
And offered classes by its seven schools and by its three faculties until late in the night.
And, though its schools and faculties were imperfect in its eyes
Yet it loved them.

But there was a day when a Management Consultant came among them
And said to the Institution
“Your faculties and schools fear you not.
They do their Jobs well
But they fear not for their Jobs”

And the Institution said unto the Management Consultant
“Whence cometh thou?”
And the Management Consultant replied
“I have wandered through industry
Through banks and other corporates
And I have to come to the Institution.
I have come to manage your
Seven schools and three faculties
For your human resources do not look on you with fear.”

And the Institution said unto the Management Consultant:
“I have put around them a hedge
And kept them safe in their tower of ivory
And blessed the works of their hands and their minds and their hearts
For they have taught well
And they have researched well.
What more should I want of them?”

And the Management Consultant said unto the Institution
“You must test them.
They must prove that their loyalty is authentic”

And the Institution said unto the Management Consultant
“How may I test that their loyalty is authentic?”
And the Management Consultant replied:
“Apply a workload model”

And the seven schools and three faculties cried aloud in their pain
And they bewailed the loss of their research days.
But they did not forsake the Institution.

And then the Management Consultant spoke again to the Institution
“Your staff do not fear you. You must test their loyalty.”
And the Institution went to the seven schools and three faculties
And gave unto them a myCareer Conversation performance management process
And a Values in Action statement that was devoid of value, and grammatically incorrect
And a three-term corporate calendar plus intensive delivery over summer.
And still the seven schools and three faculties remained faithful to the Institution.

And the Management Consultant spoke again to the Institution
“Multiply their trials without cause
Then you shall know if they truly fear you”
And so the Institution gave unto the seven schools and the three faculties
An Information Management System,
A system that spoke not to the Learning Management System, or even to any other system
And that required multiple logins and data entered time and time again, near unto infinite, which it did not save.
And yet it performed no useful function.

And the spouses of the seven schools and three faculties saw them marking lab reports all weekend
And saw them analysing data deep into the night.
And the spouses spoke thusly:
“Dost thou still retain thou loyalty?
Art thou an idiot?
Has thou not marketable skills that thou couldst take elsewhere?
Curse the Institution and resign!”

But the seven schools and three faculties cursed not
Nor yet did they resign.

And so the Management Consultant said unto the Institution
“Let me go amongst them and test them for you.”
And he went amongst them,
And he smote them sorely, giving unto them Leadership Training.

And he tried them with inventories, labelling them by DOPE and finding their strengths
Then he tried them again, throttling them in SCARF to find their fears.
And when they were sick in their stomachs and near unto madness,
The Management Consultant spoke unto them and said:
It’s important to maximise our capacity to influence others…
We want to influence people to feel attached to you and the institution
We want to make people put in that discretionary effort
The job is to find just the right levers
If this can be done right, you can use this to influence a heap of people
The Institution wants authentic commitment

And at last the seven schools and three faculties spoke forth and said
“The thing which we greatly feared is come upon us
We were not in safety, neither had we rest, neither did we cease to publish.
Yet HR came.”

And the seven schools and three faculties turned their faces from the Institution which once they had loved
But which now they did fear.
And, weeping,



Filed under poem, rants

6 responses to “leadership training V

  1. Pingback: leadership training VI | anotherkatewilson

  2. The training you’re taking is way more involved than mine. And way more inspiring! Great poetic review! 😄

    • Thank you. When I fill in the review survey in the coming week I will be sure to note that the training was inspiring. We are supposed to say what we’ve done as a result… and whether we’d recommend it to colleagues. 🙂
      So how is your training going? Done yet?

      • We had the first half day session on Friday. It focussed on understanding diversity – DOPE, Boomers to Gen-Y, ethnicity, etc. On Monday we get another half day on how to “coach”. Phase 2 of the training will be at the end of September. At least by then we should have everyone back in the office, so my being out won’t be as big an issue.

        • Interesting…. we had nothing at all on diversity. Maybe it was considered too obvious, as we were only 1/3 native English speakers. Or not important as we were probably all gen-X or gen-Y owls. But that ignores diversity in other ways. I do wonder if the SCARF model is cognitively biased in the same way the engineering “standard man” is physically biased. https://genderedinnovations.stanford.edu/methods/standards.html And if there will be similar consequences – until recently, seat belts only had to be tested on “standard man” dummies. So women are almost 50% more likely to be injured in a crash than men…. Do these “tests” assume WASP men?

          I hope you enjoyed the coaching bit today. 🙂

        • With everything going on here in the US the large corporation I work for has made a public point of being for change, starting with itself. So, though it has been part of the corporate culture, they are doubling down.

          Since most of western life assumes WASP men, those biases I’m sure are present in those tests.

          Tomorrows training will be interesting as all the pre-work was focussed on a very different part of the business than where I work.

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