3 faces for Tuesday

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These are the 3 faces you can expect to see today if you talk to anyone about S*****s T******g.
If so, you might like to consider the helpful suggestions outlined below by the people at systemsthinkingforgirls

  • “Don’t talk about it at all at work. Try not to use any of the language associated with it. People will  resent you for going on about something they don’t understand and don’t want to understand. They will dismiss it as a separate thing. Only talk about it if you are confident others want to hear it.” (from here)
  • “Don’t argue with people and never criticise. Sometimes fun and it passes the time but usually misery-making. Try to avoid it unless you consistently hear people say “After listening to you criticise me, I have learnt that you are right and I am wrong!”. “(from here)
  • “Don’t be enthusiastic Enthusiasm for something people don’t understand or don’t want to understand isn’t usually welcome. I find my enthusiasm repels the people who are happy with things as they are. I’ve learned to tone it down.” (from here)

I personally find it hard to follow this advice, but that’s my failing.  If you too are similarly disabled by enthusiasm I can offer the commiseration of numbers and these quotes sourced from this page of people who tweeted about their experience of systems thinking.

  • “Damn you systems thinking!”
  • “There’s a world of pain awaiting you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try”
  • “ST unmasks pain but offers real hope”
  • “If only someone had told me this 12 months ago “
  • “Would I be happier if I had taken the blue pill?”
  • “This is what I went through at BSkyB I really f****d things up after that, no wonder they don’t want me back”
  • “Aint it just, this is my life”
  • “One way valve:no going back >yep…”
  • “F**k me. Spot on. *sigh*”
  • “I found this profoundly disturbing”
  • “Didn’t warn me and now I’m too far in”

This is clearly a common and difficult problem, a serious one for the individuals. Perhaps it has a name? It seems to! Organisational Cognitive Dissonance!

Here it is described by Mr Flowchainsensei:

“People that think differently to the rest, that ask questions, that dissent, generally cause much discomfort for the rest. Actually, the cause is the (invisible) dissonance caused by the clash of mindsets and idea-frames.Often, however, the “messenger” gets shot because the source of the discomfort gets attributed to them (truly a Fundamental Attribution Error).”

Going back to the 3 faces in the picture at the top, here’s two extra glib uninformed tactics on how to avoid them. I’m not saying this will work, it’s all a guess, but it is the opposite of what I have done so that means there’s a good chance they have legs. Feel free to tell me if they don’t work so I can cross them off the ever diminishing pile of things that I can say out loud in public.

Speak from the specific
If you have done something in a work area, speak about systems thinking in that context only. i.e “we found that using targets in this process did not work. we stopped and used measures instead and things improved”. Someone not involved can’t know better than you surely?

Don’t speak about the theory
The opposite of the above. Extending from “we found this, changed it, and improved by this amount” to “this means that targets don’t work” moves the conversation from conclusions drawn from the data  of your experience, to an abstract level. At this level anyone can wade into the debate with their well-worn current thinking. It’s two theories battling each other without any reality intruding. Pointless, this is what the normal usual thinking is always like, theory battling it out using challenge and defend. Don’t descend to this level, stick to good old reality.

Or better yet, don’t talk about it at all, you want to, but don’t. Read, write blogs, all that. Just don’t talk about it. Simple to type, hard to do.

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