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Friday, May 29, 2020
Reading what our leaders in congress and the White House say regarding actions during this pandemic reminds me of my days as a low level manager years ago.
Every year we had to list our plans, which included a mission statement, goals, benchmarks, and reporting. Running any organization needs planning. Benchmarks are needed for measuring success, and reporting is needed to confirm progress toward meeting goals.
Every year we spent a week locked up in a conference room arguing over a mission statement with goals, benchmarks and reporting that we would put into our yearly plans.
Plans are great, except when the shit hits the fan, the shit covers the plan.
This Covid thing is the shit hitting the fan.
That’s why when I read a message from my Congressman claiming he is calling for,
the President to develop a comprehensive, coordinated strategy for testing and contract tracing with clear benchmarks and timetables, and public reporting of key metrics.
I got a flashback.
What my Congressman is calling for sounds great and professional, but it sends me back in time to that conference room spending a week making bull shit sound good for higher management, and creating benchmarks for which we were sure we could claim success.
Were those planning sessions worthless? Not completely, but kind of yes.
The actual goal was always,
“To process the business efficiently.”
But we had to say that in 900 words or more and make it sound really professional, and then provide plans for how to meet our “mission statement.”
Then we would have a fire we had to put out.
No one ran to the plans to see how we should handle this fire. All fires are a little different.
My Congressman’s mission statement demand,
call on the President to develop a comprehensive, coordinated strategy for testing and contract tracing with clear benchmarks and timetables, and public reporting of key metrics.
Does sound really professional and important, but What is “comprehensive,” what is “coordinated” and with whom, what are the “clear“ benchmarks and timetables? Every one of those is a three day discussion with a host of “I told you so’s” just waiting to happen.
No plan will be “Comprehensive” enough. “Coordinated” with all the right people is not possible. Someone is going to be left out or included unnecessarily.
Is it even possible to have enough “Contact testing?”
What “benchmarks” will not be open to criticism?
“To limit deaths to not more than 30 per 1,000,000 people.”
Well that seems pretty heartless.
“No one will die from Covid.”
Well there is a benchmark that cannot be reached.
Mission statements are bull shit. Everyone knows it.
Mike Tyson was right when he famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face!”
Everyone knows what needs to be done during this pandemic.
Provide testing. Protect old and medically vulnerable people. Keep infected people quarantined. Provide healthcare with the resources they need to safely do their job. Safely allow people to go back to work and keep the economy from creating more misery than the virus has created. Develop a vaccine!
I remember years ago when at work and the shit suddenly hit the fan, those “Mission Statement” people were the first to claim, “I was concerned!” “didn’t anyone test that?” “What does the plan say?”
And while these ass-holes were busy positioning themselves to claim they were concerned and that benchmarks were not being met, the rest of us put out the fire.
We worried about “mission statements,” and what could have been done better, when the fire was out.