An ODE to OD – Charting the Org


by O. D. Gnash

This poem was inspired by the talks and discussion at the recent ODHE Group get together in Windermere. We were thinking about different approaches to organisational design, one of them being to ‘move the boxes’ around on organisational charts. Is this enough to effect systemic change? What are the unintended consequences? It’s also about labelling in the workplace – do we do this even when we say we are being neutral and non-judgemental? What’s in the box?

Lift the lid off the little boxes, little boxes and they’re all made of…

Emotions, commotions, ready for promotions, fearful of demotions

hopeful and hopeless, dreamers and schemers

jobsworths, worth their weight in gold, waiting-for-the-gold-watchers

do-gooders, get the job done-ers, doers of the right thing, do things righters

fighters and blighters

absentees and presentees, people at ease, people pleasers

creators, conductors, obstructers, the unreconstructed.

Deal makers, piss takers, heartbreakers, movers and shakers

leaders, needers, bleeders

old hands, young turks, lurkers, smirkers and shirkers

lifers, high fliers, duckers and divers

goody two-shoes, clever clogs, smarty-pants, down-at-heelers

team players, dragon slayers, nay sayers

empaths and sociopaths (maybe one or two psychopaths).

Nine to fivers, strivers and skivers, dead wood and dead good, up and comers

bummers, slackers and just plain knackered

people who know, in the know, know how, know who, know a (wo)man who can

know where they’re going, going nowhere

onwards and upwards, backwards and forwards, side by side

shoulder to shoulder.

Back to the drawing board.