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CAFCASS does the Jim Collins

October 21, 2009

‘Our service is delivered through our people and a strong leadership, which can help to deliver our ambitions, is critical to our success. Our definition of leadership is, in the words of Jim Collins, “not about being ‘soft’ or ‘nice’ or purely ‘inclusive or ‘consensus building’. The whole point is to make sure the right decisions happen – no matter how difficult or painful – for the long term greatness of the organization and the achievement of its mission, independent of consensus or popularity.”

From CAFCASS Business Plan 2009-2011 (if they last that long)

Sounds a lot like Tony Blair taking the “tough” decision to join the invasion of  Iraq, no matter how difficult or painful or indeed deadly it was going to be (for other people). Perhaps Tony reads Jim too.

The quotes in the business plan are from management guru Jim Collins’ 2001 book  Good to Great. The Cafcass plan author may not have read Steven D Levitt who points out that one of the companies Jim Collins wrote about having gone from good to great was Fannie Mae which subsequently went spectacularly bust.

Another Jim Collins quote is, “Get the right people on the bus, and get the wrong people off the bus”. One of his examples of a good to great company which followed that advice was Circuit City a US electrical retailer. It was in 2007, as Joel Spolsky wrote, that Circuit City fired the chain’s 3,400 most experienced salespeople and replaced them with generic, untrained, near-minimum-wage workers. Circuit City went bust less than two years later.

There’s a lesson somewhere in all that.

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