Sunday, January 19, 2014

My friend Bryan Neva writes a blog called Profit at Any Price and his latest post is a great read and well worth your time. I am including just a little to wet your appetite and I hope you continue on and read the entire post.

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of the Trojan King Priam and his wife Hecuba.  Apollo, the god of prophecy, was infatuated with Cassandra’s beauty and gave her the gift of prophecy in order to win her love.  But Cassandra spurned Apollo’s romantic advances.  So Apollo cursed her so that no one would ever believe her prophetic warnings.  Cassandra, unable to convince people of her dire predictions, then had to spend the rest of her life watching helplessly as her prophetic warnings came true.  She knew what the future held but was unable to change it.

A “Cassandra complex” occurs when valid warnings about the future are ignored or dismissed and has become a metaphor used in psychology, environmentalism, science, medicine, politics, religion, and business.



I have one comment to add. I once asked my son how many times a advisor had to be right before he as a statically trained MBA would begin to accept that advisers evaluation without any statical support.

His reply was "a heck of a lot of times!" My reply was that he was wrong and that his position represented a lot of what is wrong with American business today.

My opinion is that the correct number of times that advisor would have to be right is exactly the same number of times and in exactly the same way he would have to be wrong for you to fire him if he gave you bad advice! 

People didn't listen to Cassandra because a god had cursed her. Without that curse, at some point she would have been right so many times that everyone would have begin to listen and act on her advice.

Are you ignoring some "Cassandra" in your organization simply because they don't have any number to support their intuitive evaluation? If so, how many times have they been right before and might they just have seen something not included in that gorgeous spreadsheet you are looking at?

1 comment:

Bryan Neva, Sr. said...

Sadly, in life people usually "shoot the messenger" and ignore prophetic warnings. This has been the case for most "Cassandras" throughout history.