Letter: BBC's drive for 'grim efficiency'

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The Independent Online
Sir: Anyone with even the slightest contact with the BBC usually emerges awed by the sheer bureaucracy of the whole enterprise. From international consultants McKinsey to manager John Birt, no one has yet succeeded in imposing a Marks & Spencer solution on the corporation, ridding it of its excessive paperwork and layers of management.

John Tusa criticises the BBC for allowing a tyranny of sterile efficiency to drive out the BBC's essential qualities of creativity. He is certainly not alone in regarding the present regime as out of touch with the BBC's staff and obsessed with efficiency at the expense of effectiveness.

The BBC management seems to be making just about every mistake in the book: from making existing staff feel undervalued, to attempting to impose new values without engaging people sufficiently in the process.

One must have a degree of sympathy, though, for the senior management. It is faced with monumental complacency and an apparent resistance to new ideas that would challenge even the most dynamic and charismatic leader. What is missing, however, is a sense of a leadership that is not punitive, one willing to look at new ideas for handling change and one that demonstrates that it understands how to handle the natural resistance arising in any change process.

The test of the present management will be how far it unlocks the potential of the remaining staff, reconciles improved creativity with meaningful efficiency, and demonstrates new values that the bulk of staff can respect and emulate.

Yours faithfully,


Maynard Leigh Associates

(Management Consultants)

London, SW6

15 June