Halfway through the book, you suddenly stop snickering at the tales of corporate bureaucracy, dumb-witted policies and compliance requirements. It’s when you realize that the joke’s on you. Truth be told, you might be working for (or worked for previously) an organization that lacks common-sense.
Martin Lindstrom’s ‘The Ministry of Common Sense’ chronicles bizarre rules, practices and the “invisible red tape” that surrounds employees and corporations. He reminds us that when people start working for an organization, something strange happens to them. They forget that they are human and start adhering to rules, procedures and use cryptic acronyms that make no sense to anyone outside their company. When that happens, organizations don’t focus on what really matters to its business and customers.
Martin Lindstrom quotes Harriet Beecher Stowe, who defined common sense as ‘Seeing things as they’re; and doing things as they ought to be done.” Behind the lack of common-sense, Martin, says is an absence of empathy. The unfretted march of technology and corporate politics are also some of its causes, he says. Meetings and PowerPoint, not surprisingly, are culprits too.
The author offers a simple change management technique to regain common-sense. Familiar steps include starting small, showcasing value, getting the “low hanging fruits” , celebrating success and using stories to evangelize the process across the organization. Establishing a “Ministry of Common Sense” within an organization, he says, could help ensure the organization’s muscle memory is weakened enough to prevent a relapse to old habits.
The Ministry of Common Sense is a funny and breezy read. While it does not reveal anything you didn’t know. It’s like that cup of coffee you got your hands on, sitting through a boring three-hour meeting.
Read the summary here.