Checklist Charley Horse

Image of officer and person at passport control

Charley horse: A painful, involuntary cramp of an arm or leg muscle.

Slightly off topic

I woke up this morning with the idea for the title. Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin during the Cold War.

It probably came to mind because I am watching a series called “The Americans”. It’s a spy thriller set during the 1980s. Like any good spy story, it is wondrously convoluted. Double agents and triple agents and I-didn’t-know-I’m-an-agent agents. The only annoyance is the South African characters. Why can’t they get the accents right? The black man sounds Jamaican. The white man sounds like a German trying to speak Australian while someone stands on his vocal chords.

My Checkpoint Charlie

I shared with you the dubious joys of the MICT site visit in The importance of fire extinguishers in training. The saga continues: I am still trying to get to the other side of the re-accreditation wall. (If there is no other value that I see in MICT SETA, at least it gives me ideas for my weekly blog.)

Mental charley horses

MICT’s insatiable demand for documents is giving me mental charley horses. I lost count after document number 43 – and that’s without any actual training material.

MICT is happy with our fire extinguishers. It is not happy that we don’t have a first aid officer (because it is not required by law). Apparently delegates who attend virtual training might need first aid assistance…

The latest MICT request is for copies of the lecturers’ qualifications. Maybe that sounds reasonable, but let’s think about this. They don’t employ us. They don’t evaluate our actual training, as in sit in on a course. Now consider Renier. He’s been training engineers and programmers in C and C++ for 30 years. If you’ve been on one of his courses, you know that his knowledge in that area is mind-blowing. Who cares about his matric certificate? (After a certain age, the next question is if you even still have a copy of it.)

Check your checklists for sanity

like checklists. I make my own for all sorts of activities. But a checklist is a means to an end, and that end should not be “more documents”.

I am tired of this relentless demand for documents. The worst supplier application I ever had to complete was over 100 pages – for one person to attend one course. What does your procurement department actually do with these documents, other than check them off a list? (I’m not going to mention the POPI word.)

The definition of a bureaucrat is an official who works by fixed routine without exercising intelligent judgment. I think the key part of that is “without exercising intelligent judgment.” We should train people to exercise judgment, not just tick off lists.

The 56-second video

Most of us are working from home. And switching off our cameras during meetings. In case you were wondering, I’m real.

I am always excited to know that someone has read my blog, so please share a comment.

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