October 18, 2006

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Unspoken Rules & Delusional Plans

I never cease to be amazed at the human capacity for self-delusion. Of course, being perfect myself, it's not something I've had first-hand experience of. But when I watch some teams make their plans, I can't help wondering if they've read the rules properly. You know which rules I mean? Those unspoken rules that every organisation has. Like the one about not having to obey someone else's rules if you don't feel like it, for example.



But somehow we continue to make plans that ignore these unspoken rules. And then we wonder why the plans don't work.

It's like we planned a strategy for a chess game on the assumption that pawns can move backwards as well as forwards. They can't, of course. But that doesn't appear to stop us planning as if they can.

In my last post, just as an example, I suggested a reason why it's almost impossible to achieve consensus on a large scale. And yet how many plans are built on the assumption that you can? Our plans seem to go fine for a while, and then they are suddenly and mysteriously crushed, as if they'd been set upon by the invisible monster in Forbidden Planet. And we stand around scratching our heads and muttering "can't understand how that happened", and then we come up with an even better plan, that involves even wider consensus, and the cycle of inexplicable failure continues.

I'm a great believer that plans should be realistic above all else. Any plans that contains the words "and then I'll win the lottery" should be considered unachievable and quite rightly not a very good plan at all. For exactly the same reasons, any plan that requires a large number of people to agree on something should be treated with severe caution.
Posted 14 years, 2 months ago on October 18, 2006