Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Kidney Report: SEC Retirement

SEC lawyer Jim Kidney clearly understands "front stage" behavior for public consumption and "back stage" behavior for personal enrichment.  My favorite lines include:

1.  The revolving door is a very serious problem.

I have run into more ego obsessed leaders in the last decade who don't care a lick about anything other than managing their power, influence, compensation and image.  

2.  The only other item I want to be serious about, besides some personal observations in a minute, is the metric of the division of enforcement: number of cases brought. It is a cancer. It should be changed.   ...  I imagine they would welcome coming to an educational event about the Division’s new metric, one which focuses on quality, not quantity. Who could be against it? Goodness knows we spend millions promoting even our emptiest achievements. Why not promote a new metric that will be sensible and helpful.
The language of quality remains but its been co-opted by the aforementioned image obsessed leaders.  They toss out continuous improvement and quality whilst undertaking strategies that ensure the very opposite.  Dr. W. Edwards Deming must be chagrined at how his comprehensive management theories have been jettisoned for the siren song of cheap foreign labor and obscene executive incentive compensation. 

3.  The system is broken. The staff has to work with it. Lighten up on them. They are like refugees from the Crimea. Be kind.
Kidney recognizes what decades of #1 and #2 have fraught on our institutions.  The dual obsession with metrics and image make the workplace a dangerous place to navigate.  I agree we should try to be kind to fellow workers tromping through the toxic management swamp alongside us.

Jim Kidney spoke his heart, his mind and his funny bone.  I appreciate his insights and courage.

Update 4-26-15:  Dr. Deming said his message came down to one thing, the human spirit.  PEUs and their horrific management practices can be seen in a powerful story of how management crushes that very thing.