Saturday, November 27, 2010

Opting for the Least

When it comes to management problems, the least painful option may also be the the least effective or not effective at all. It is as if we go to a doctor and say, "I know the tests indicate that my appendix is infected and about to burst, but instead of surgery I'd prefer just to take some pills or maybe try a different pillow."

The equivalent of this decision takes place more often than you might expect. Solutions that have zero odds of working are employed in succession as matters get steadily worse. In the meantime, the organization and its members suffer because the decision makers have chosen a cosmetic solution instead of a real one.

I've heard executives say, "Let's try this and hope things get better." Whenever lines like that are uttered, be on the alert. A witch doctor may be in the neighborhood.

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