Parkinson's Law

March 18, 2014

I was sitting in a meeting last week, it was a long meeting and probably similar to long meetings that many of you will have experienced. My issue is that I am not blessed with a long attention span and I often run out of attention well before meetings finish. This particular meeting was no different and my mind wandered to memories of reading an excellent little book entitled ‘Parkinson’s Law’ by C Northcote Parkinson. 

 

I think that this book is one of the best books ever written on management because it is a deadly accurate reflection on the inertia of organisations and how overly bureaucratic processes stymie creativity and sap peoples’ energy and will to give anything but the minimum effort. What is surprising is that Parkinson wrote this book in 1957 and despite literally thousands of studies into management and leadership it shows that little has changed which may well be a function of basic human nature. The book begins with Parkinson’s most famous law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. I commend it to you – it’s a fascinating read.

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