The maharajas of Dalkeith

8th September 2000 at 01:00
"IT'S very difficult for a manager to be high profile in the public sector."

Who says so? None other than the effervescent and ubiquitous Frank Pignatelli, director of education in the deceased Strathclyde. Some might wonder how much more effervescent and ubiquitous he would have been had he really tried to raise his profile.

Pignatelli, now transformed as head man at the Scottish University for Industry, was speaking at a conference in Peebles last week on management in the public sector (page five).

One mismanaged agency, which might have been expected to learn something from such a conference, was not alas present. But, with spectacularly inappropriate timing, the exams body was glowingly featured in the conference pack boasting:

"The Scottish Qualifications Authority - here to help."

The SQA, and others, would also have benefited from an insightul analysis of the requirements of leadership from Professor Amin Rajan, chief executive of the Kent-based Centre for Research in Employment and Technology in Europe.

Change, Rajan suggested, produces a range of different "soldiers", ranging from crusaders ("let's create a new future") to deserters ("thanks for the cheque, I'm off"). Others Rajan characterised as guerrillas, undermining change from within, and conscientious objectors, the ones who should really be listened to but, as in wartime, "they are usually ignored or shot".

Educational leaders might also be interested in his view of organisations at different stages of their evolution. They can be led by a range of people, including "buccaneers", who embody the pioneering spirit, "bureaucrats", who live by the rules, and "maharajas", who preside over decay. Anyone out there recognise themselves?

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