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Busy fools, busy fools.

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

If the words 'Who the hell is running this shit-show?' ever cross your mind, chances are you work in manufacturing. Or you live in modern Britain.

And the answer, usually, is no-one.

Obviously, there's a boss, managers, supervisors. But they're not running the show - like passengers on a runaway rollercoaster, they're hanging on, frantically trying to appear in control, until someone or something brings it all to a shuddering halt.

The respite is, of course, only temporary.

Just as the rollercoaster crests the peak of the rise, slowing gently before falling into the next drop, the whole panicked process starts again with whatever issue hits the factory next.

One would, at least, think there are lessons to be learned from the incessant tide of crises hitting the business but, well, you know the score by now.

So. What's to be done? Why do we insist on being such busy fools? Surely sanity must prevail at some point. A voice must occasionally rise above the chaos and demand calm?

In many of my training sessions, I mention the fact that, in the months prior to the closure of a business, for whatever reason, there are many important and clever people running around making all the wrong decisions.

They must be wrong, because the business eventually closes. Had they been able to see exactly what was going on in front of them, clearly and without prejudice, they would have known, to some degree, the approach to take.

As usual, I take a rather simplistic view of these things, but it enables me to distill the issue down to manageable proportions. Problems that precipitate the closure of a factory are varied and complex.

But one thing is clear - if all of the efforts of the business fail to save it, then they were doing the wrong things. Either at the very end, or for many years prior. Or both.

And the solution, I suggest, is to see exactly what is going on in front of your own eyes, and then take appropriate action. Easy to say, you might think, but not so easy to do.

Really? Which part? The seeing, or the doing?

I propose that the doing part is easy if the seeing part is done properly. That's the difficult bit - the seeing clearly of what is actually unfolding before you. We are masters at self-deception. And almost as good at self-justification.

There's a collective neurosis in these situations that is hard to combat. Reason seems to have little impact when discussing the best approach to take in such circumstances.

So, again: Who the hell is running this shit-show?

It's a question we would all do well to ask on occasion because, if a stranger walking into the building can't tell, immediately, then you might be heading into a period of desperately trying to shut the door while the horse disappears over the horizon.

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