Should we be held accountable? For what?

Cynefin framework

As I think you all know, I have a very significant sideline in organisational change and  not least hold organisations to account for the outcomes they purport to be driving

I was re-reading some stuff on the Cynefin Framework recently (see here for a Noddy Guide https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/cynefin-framework.htm  and here to go to the HBR article that started it all off https://hbr.org/2007/11/a-leaders-framework-for-decision-making ), which deals with how to approach ‘managing’ and leading situations of varying degrees of complexity.

Less academically, this blog article (https://sluggerotoole.com/2016/07/05/soapbox-the-sorry-tale-of-outcome-based-performance-management/ rang some loud bells in the current context where the best laid plans are having to be revised. For me, it’s not a manifesto for abandoning outcome based performance management, more a strong warning that  A does not necessarily lead to B then C – not least in the currently disruptive environment (VUCA is hardly enough for what is happening now).

We need to be agile, with fast-running Plan-Do-Review-Replan loops.

Accountable for building a fish pass but not for exactly when or to exactly what budget – what if we get a flood during construction, or the fish don’t come?
Accountable for marketing our river into the BAME community but not for ensuring that 3% of the BAME community living within 5 miles of the river visit it at least once each year.
Accountable for continuous learning about how to run projects and move towards our key outcomes and not for following some pre-existing recipe.

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