Why Command and Control is So Bad

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Bruce Nussbaum at Business Week has written an article entitled “Lessons from Home Depot’s Bob Nardelli – Why Command and Control is So Bad”.

Now here’s a lesson from the private sector which could easily be applied to Government; autocratic top-down, command and control works great when you focus onprocess, e.g. cost and quality, Six Sigma measures and all that stuff. However, if the UK Government is serious about giving local authorities and and local communities more influence and power to improve their lives – as described on the DCLG Local Government White Paper issued last October, then the present culture of centrally imposed targets and measurements must be relaxed.

Process controls and metrics may still have a place within any organisation that is accountable for its actions – whether this is to shareholders, in the case of a publicly-quoted company, or to citizens if it is a local authority. However, as the article states, controls and metrics are now commoditised sediment and should make way for the discipline and process of innovation. It remains to be seen whether Central Government is serious about devolving power to locally elected representatives, or whether it will insist on maintaining it’s ‘we know best’ attitude and the associated micro-management mechanisms it has established over the past few years.

About Post Author

Stephen Dale

I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King So much to learn, so little time!
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