Thursday, March 29, 2012

Doing More Than What Needs To Be Done, Before It Needs To Be Done

If government organisations only did what needs to be done, a lot less effort would be wasted, they would be far more efficient, and very many less hours would be required to get necessary and timely work done.

Instead most public sector managers focus on trying to do as much as possible to ‘prove themselves relevant’ to ministers. Most of this work never reaches the minister. Most of the work is done before it needs to be done, and when it comes time for some work to be done, it is found that the work done before it was known what was needed, is irrelevant. That is the danger of second guessing what needs to be done before it is needed and doing it immediately – this work is almost always wasted effort, but most public sector managers can’t resist doing ‘anticipatory’ work.

It’s also why most of the public sector doesn’t become more efficient on its own, because most public sector management keeps on making more and more work for itself in anticipating work, that in the end, actually never needed to be done.