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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Confessions of a Behavioural Profit Mechanic

Observing the dung-beetle had me suddenly mesmerized by the thoughts of the impact of the annual organizational lying ritual.

Yes, you are correct in thinking; we have just been through the budgeting process.

Fascinating laboratory work for the typical pin stripe suited behavioral profit mechanics amongst us, with laptops and complex spreadsheets geared up for the task.

Doesn’t matter which large or medium sized organization you go into, observing this annual ritual is either a distinct pleasure (for the sadists among us) or a very drawn out, torturous agony inducing activity.

But it all boils down to exactly the same thing my dung-beetle friend has been up to:  Moving piles of c**p from one place to another.

So what is the value in continuing to entrench this annual ritual into our organizational man or woman’s psyche?

Especially in turbulent times!

The cynics amongst us argue that it keeps the been-counters occupied.  True, there must be some value in keeping those poor (pure) folk slaving away over their budget spreadsheet models late into the night.

But it is the Senior Management Team, the wise elders, whom I ultimately blame.  These are the dungeon masters who routinely get the instruments of torture out, mainly their sharp wit and senses of sarcasm and then put the product or business unit owners and managers, with their been-counters in tow, through this process.  If it was not for their (the wise elders) profound sense of loss of touch with reality, the poor folk who keep the management information beast alive, could be put to better use by adding significant value to the new science of business analytics and value added decision support.

I know the entrenched behaviours are all focused around the ‘rain dance’ of the bonus pot the wise elders so fervently guard.  Maybe we should rethink the way in which this annual ritual is observed?

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