I lied, but then we all do

The recent flurry of activity over the ANU School of Music has lead to a revelation that the Manhattan School of Music did not agree to some of the recommendations that the School wanted to do in regard to using the Manhattan School as a tutorial base via computer link.In fact , the American school had not even heard of these new outcomes at the ANU and protested vociferously at the possibility they were being used by the School as part of a “makeover” campaign.

This reminded me of what I call the ex-post facto way of management in major organisations, in particular large public broadcasters (You know the one I am talking about) where policy is created, generated and then the poor old worker on the ground floor finds that these pie-in-the-sky policies cannot be realised in the funny old world of reality.

I used to think there was a disjunction between policy, planning and working through these ideas but have come to the conclusion, in recent years, that upper level managers in broadcasting are so immured in their fantasy world of new technologies, cloud surfing and quizzical looks as the techno geeks serve them up a new plate of activity, that they cannot see the outcome for the trees!

It has been this way for many, many years in the broadcasting world because as managers ascend to the starry heavens of policy they lose contact with the things that bump against their knees or the cut and thrust of day to day activity in the real world of broadcasting. We used to call it the “7th floor condition” because these suited gentlemen (mostly) would only deign to come out of their offices on the 7th floor of Broadcasting House if they could be protected from the hoi-polloi by a battery of advisers, hangers-on and fawning middlelevel managers on contract, who live in fear of December 31!

So it is that the BIG PLANS of senior management tend to be watered down by the time it reaches the scurrying minions at their desks because like the big lie it has to be bolstered with some rare truth, if only to protect the organisation from being embarressed at the next black-out. Ah, from little things,big things grow….

For it is the little “untruths” that media managers can sometimes control not only their staff but retain the status quo among their kind.It always amazed me that the national broadcaster supported wholeheartedly the anti-discrimination act in policy it generally ignored it completely in practice, particularly where the vendetta or personal grudge is concerned. In recent years the implicit attack on individual freedom, through attack on personal vulnerability or a threat to marginalise the individual, is quite common.the technique is above all to attack the individual “upwards” to the media mangers’ manager and to stifle any evidence that allows the individual to attack the personal opinion of the media manager.In terms of anti-discrimination it lies at the core of the central ethic of “fair play” in value.

 

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