“Whatever plan of action we adopt in our attempt to remake the world, our usual first step it to pin a laudatory label on what we are doing. We may call it development, cure, correction, improvement, help, or progress. We load untested conclusions onto ill-stated premises.

But every intervention in an existing system is, for certain, only an intervention. We will make progress faster if we honestly call the changes “interventions” only, until an audit shows what we have actually done. Needless to say, such honesty will be resisted by most promoters of change.”

Garrett Hardin, “Filters against folly”

Courtesy of the Farnham street blog

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2 Responses to T.b.c.

  1. John Liddle says:

    One of the things I learned when working in the field of performance management is that most managers were obsessively concerned about looking good, looking competent. The climate in which they worked (and made the money to pay their mortgages, educate their children, etc) was not one in which open admissions of ignorance were acceptable so even if they personally would have preferred candour and an experimental approach to their work, the culture in which they were embedded would not have tolerated it.

    Perhaps that’s the most remarkable thing about Toyota: they have a culture where experimentation is not just acceptable but is the norm. They say that their purpose is ‘to learn about making automobiles’. All the behaviours that your excellent blog advocates belong to such a culture and are alien, repugnant even, to one operating on Theory X command and control management. That type of authoritarian culture is not comfortable with experimentation and never will be because it admits ignorance.

    The irony is that the most successful people and organisations are those that happily admit their ignorance and then set about conducting experiments so that they can learn about the subject they’re interested in. That’s what science did. That’s what Christianity didn’t do. Which is now the more credible?


  2. ThinkPurpose says:

    for some reason this went into my spam comments queue, i reckon its cos the word “toyota” was mentioned, which is silly

    im coming to think that the word “experiment” is one of the most important words and approaches there is.

    and its not a scary or jargony word. people seem to like it.


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