Saturday, July 31, 2010

About Workload - Fourth Proverb

It's been a while since I dipped into "The Zen of Bureaucracy" but I finally found the time to continue my reading of this ancient text. And today I was rewarded with this pithy aphorism:

"There is nothing new in renewal except the project name."

In my experience, truer words were never spoken or, in this case, written. This ancient piece of wisdom is essentially a pithy summary of any long-time bureaucrat's experience, namely that if you've been working somewhere for a number of years, you will have seen the same project or plan revived, dressed up and palmed off as something completely new.

If you are presented with management's latest panacea, think back about five years and you'll no doubt remember some similar project. The only difference will be the name.

Today's answer to all organizational woes may be called "Project 2010 - Renewal for a New Decade." Five years ago, it was "La Releve - A New Beginning" and five years before that you were asked to climb on board "The Millennial Express."

Although each of these initiatives had a different name and some superficial differences, they all had two things in common. They claimed to be a new, sure-fire way to change the organization for the better and they all ultimately failed.

All you have to remember is that these are not glorious makeover projects but simply periodic exercises in futility. So don't invest any time or energy in these "can't miss" initiatives. They can miss and ultimately will. You've got better things to do or, perhaps, not do.

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