Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Wanderers

Reviewing an old project and wondering, "Why did they have to make it so difficult?"

The goal was clear. The principles were fairly straight-forward, The facts were not that elusive. But at some point, they chose to leave the main highway, that smooth and paved path, and stumble off into the thorny thickets. They emerged, half-crazed and bloody, months later. I won't ask what they thought about during those lost evenings when they stared at the ceiling of the conference room and realized their mistake.

At the beginning, they may have equated pain with thoroughness, depth or insight. Staying on the main road was less adventurous and besides, that was the common route.

For a good reason.

These are not fools so I can't scoff. I will instead consider what seduced their judgment. There had to be some seemingly respectable reasons behind their blunder.

The most valuable lessons will be found there.


Dan in Philly said...

That was so well put I have nothing to add.

CincyCat said...

In my (limited) experience, the root cause of this phenomenon is a general blindness to the fact that it's most likely their own internal (and often, "sacred") processes that are broken in the first place.

They know what "better" looks like, but simply do not believe that it is possible because their business model is so "unique"...

For these folks, "customization" becomes the mantra, instead of getting back to basics.

It gets even more complicated when office politics and ego gets in the way. If someone has pushed for a multi-million dollar "solution" that has only made the problem worse, it's extremly unlikely that they will say, "whoops! I guess that didn't work. Let's try something else." On the contrary, they will insist their solution is the answer, and it has simply been "implemented" incorrectly.

Michael Wade said...


You have a future in management consulting.


Michael Wade said...


That is high praise.