Monday, 27 April 2015
16 March 2015, 10 am
“Right!” I shout. “Gather round the flip charts! We are going to make some plans. Da-da-da-DA!!!”
My audience is the new Diversity Task Force. It is great to have a task force again; I had forgotten how much fun I had with the namby-pamby non-core skills one. I think I will impose a uniform again. For half of us, the standard blue tights and red underpants. For the other half, red tights and blue underpants. A uniform is a Good Thing, but perhaps not when your aim is to improve diversity.
I herd people into four working groups, with a flip chart each, and tell them to make some plans for stuff we are going to do to improve diversity. Towards the end, I gather everyone together again. This is called a Plenary Session.
I say to the first group, in my most plenary voice: “So, what have you decided?” They say: “We have decided that this part of the task is very difficult and complex and we will need bags of time to do it in and lots of external funding.” This stumps me. I think perhaps there has been some misunderstanding about the words “task” and “force” and “action” and “plan”, and possibly also “working group”. So I tell them: “Nonsense!”, trying to sound brave and plenary, “let’s just start on some little bits of this awesomely insurmountable task shall we, dip our toes in the water so to speak?”
And they look at me as if to say: “You haven’t a clue what’s going on, have you?”
And I cannot deny it. But having a clue what’s going on is an over-rated virtue. Having a clue what’s going on is just asking for you to give up in despair. And anyway it is better not to fill your brain with information – for instance about what’s going on – because then you have more space left for processing. My brain is like RAM: there is not a lot in there at any one time, but feed it a question and it will give you an answer quite quickly, unimpeded by realism or caution or sense. Usually: “Yes, why not?” or “Looks good to me.”