Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Quote of the Day

The oft-quoted tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that, 'When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.' However, in government more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride horses.
  5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
  6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living impaired.
  7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
  8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
  9. Providing extra funding/training to increase the dead horse's performance.
  10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
  11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to feed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than live horses.
  12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses. And, of course...
  13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

- Sheldon Rovin, in a draft to Systems Thinking, quoted in Systems Thinking for Curious Managers by Russell L. Ackoff


Kathy said...

Having worked in both the public and private sectors I can say with certainty that the listed strategies are not unique to government!

Michael Wade said...


I strongly agree. There are some private sector firms that are very bureaucratic.