THE BICYCLE BOOK
At a large hospital in the centre of London, during the Second World War, the powers that be decided that they would seek ways of reducing the cost of fuel associated with bringing staff to and from work. As well, bombing raids during the war made public transport both hazardous and unreliable. It was decided that the staff would be encouraged to ride bicycles to work. To monitor the effectiveness of this plan, a Bicycle Book was established in the Porter’s Lodge at the entrance to the hospital. The number of bicycles and who was riding the machine were recorded.
In 1975, during a routine efficiency audit, the specialists conducting the assessment chanced upon the Porter’s Lodge and began an inventory of all that went on there. The Bicycle Book emerged in the look see and the auditor asked about the book and its contents. It was explained that the book contained details of anyone who rode a bicycle through the hospital gates. When asked what happened to the information, the Porter proudly announced, “Nothing, Sir. It’s just always been done that way. My father’s father was Porter here during the war, and we have carefully kept up the tradition. Every bicycle ridden through these gates since 1942 has been faithfully recorded.”
Like any good Talmudic parable, it’s best not to comment on the story.
I can’t imagine working in a boarding program where I didn’t have a change agenda and a couple on the back burner.
(The story came from Edward de Bono in the 80s.)