Many of the encrustations referred to above are exacerbated by governments' focus on a performance-driven culture with its focus on specific targets and outputs. In such a culture, the only safe test is a standard which works against the joined-up, integrated thinking simultaneously proposed. The moment the emphasis is too strongly on a standard, you lose the unique capacity to be adaptive. Over the longer term this can lead to a culture that gradually begins to destroy itself, because it keeps shooting for agreed standards with little ability for change. With built-in specifications, nobody can be blamed. This reinforces the sense of the professional as someone who keeps to the rules. Instead of seeing rules as a background or supportive guide for action, they become the method of progressing. A performance-driven culture also diminishes the capacity to make judgements. A target such as cost per square foot has no wider reference except itself and so, for example, can say nothing about warmth or comfort. This focus increases risk aversion and reduces the possibilities of boundary-blurring and coherent joint working.
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