The function or the service?

I like to visualise. I like things stuck on walls that show what it is we are trying to do. White boards, interactive or not, with pictures, do more for me than a whole bunch of reports. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words.  I admire those people who can get up and make reality come to life with a few marks of a pen.

I also like Infographics and the clever way that they get the maximum amount of information across in as little space as possible. I guess’s that is the skill, in understanding what to put in and more importantly what to leave out.

I was intrigued then when Su asked me to have a look at the Organisational Development Plan on a page that was pinned to the purple wall in the break out room in the model office.  It looked impressive with neat boxes and lots of colour. Each dialogue referenced the next and it was visually clean and tidy yet Su felt there was something missing or not quite right.

What struck me after a while were two things.  Firstly, the language was couched in terms of what we were going to do to the people.  It was paternalistic rather than collaborative and instead what was needed were words that encouraged the people to develop and help themselves.  It should have been more about creating an environment to allow people to flourish rather than forcing something upon them.

Secondly the document was peppered with initials which had started off by representing a movement or function but have come to represent the services that delivers them.  HR or Human Resources (if people can be resources) and OD have come to mean the HR department and the people who will deliver these initiatives.  ICT has stopped meaning technology and instead come to mean the ICT Services.

We both saw this and somehow need to reword the page to take any meaning away from service, that is someone else’s responsibility, to ownership and self-determination.  We need to be very careful about the language we use.

Hopefully I helped a little.

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