Sunday, December 8, 2013

Unintended consequences

At the blog Leadership is a Verb, author John Bishop wrote about unintended consequences and asked the following: “What “no brainer” decisions have you reversed once you learned the unintended consequences?

You can’t reverse unintended consequences until you accept that the result indeed had unintended consequences and that those consequences were causing even more problems.

I’ll bet almost every unintended consequence you had to fix is something you tried to call the decision makers attention to BEFORE the idea was implemented and no one would listen. Then the job of fixing fell to you simply because the decision maker couldn’t be bothered to fix it.

The only way to stop, fix or prevent unintended consequences from happening next time is for management (in the form of the decision makers) to include on their team at least one person who is known as a boat rocker. All managers need that someone standing beside them on their chariot of leadership whispering in your ear “thou art mortal”.

Just in case you didn’t get the chariot allusion, here is the reference from Wikipedia:

“Popular belief says the phrase originated in ancient Rome: as a Roman general was parading through the streets during a victory triumph, standing behind him was his slave, tasked with reminding the general that, although at his peak today, tomorrow he could fall, or — more likely — be brought down. The servant is thought to have conveyed this with the warning, "Memento mori" (Remember thou art mortal).
It is further possible that the servant may have instead advised, "Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!": "Look behind you! Remember that you are a man! Remember that you'll die!".

Oh, wait there is just one more little thing – you also have to listen to the boat rocket and include their warnings in your plans!

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