Johnnie Moore

Government is not a business

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Dave Snowden has a typically erudite post on why Government responsibilities can’t be treated in the same way as those of business. I’ve always felt uneasy at the assumption that businessmen especially big businessmen are somehow better able to manage the complexities of delivering public sector services. Dave lists four key reasons why it’s (often) different for government. The one that particularly struck me was this

as an entity it carries a burden of responsibility for failure, while industry is constructed on the basis of failure as a market mechanism

Dave points to the dangers of pursuing simplistic efficiency in truly complex environments. (An example being how cost-cutting on cleaning in our hospitals has contributed to the rise of superbugs.) He notes the need for

a requisite level of inefficiency in order to provide the system with adaptive capacity under conditions of uncertainty and context shift.

I also liked his point that if a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a measure. (Because, as I’d frame it, once a target is set, people inevitably start gaming the system.)

Share Post

More Posts

Rambling thoughts on models

I went down to Surrey on Friday for long walk and pub lunch with Neil Perkin. We’d originally planned to run a workshop about agile

Planning as drowning

Antonio Dias offers a fascinating description of what goes wrong when drowning: What separates a swimmer from someone drowning is the way a swimmer acknowledges

Leadership as holding uncertainty

Viv picks out some nice ideas from Phelim McDermott on the subject of leadership. “We love the security of the illusion that someone is in

Concreting Complexity

I’ve been thinking about the urge to scale things lately – see here and here. I understand the concern with being able to effect big

The absurd

In moving house, I radically downsized my collection of books which I can highly recommend. I used to think I’d one day find a reason

Rewriting history…

Thanks to my Improvisation friend Kelsey Flynn I rambled into a letter cited in Margaret Cho’s Blog (go to Letter #1): Lately it seems like

Who says fun is dangerous?

I wanted to share this email doing the rounds this morning… AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE After every flight Qantas pilots fill out a form called a gripe

Yes, and…

A quick ramble on the nature of paradox, inspired by a blog on the value of both fear of the new and curiosity

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations


Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore


I was doing some coaching work recently where I talked about how easy it is to adopt a behaviour and make it into an identity or a persona. All well

Johnnie Moore

Unhurried Conversation

Over the past year I’ve been hosting a series of Unhurried Conversations. Here are a few reflections on what I’ve learned. I came up with the idea with my friend

Johnnie Moore

Good service

I feel heartened by this post from Annette Clancy: Thank you Iarnród Éireann

Johnnie Moore

Brain science and change

Shawn at Anecdote points to this article by David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz: The Neuroscience of Leadership. It attempts to relate findings in brain research to the challenge of organisational