Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Common Mistake

Beware of assuming that people will behave logically. They often do not. Whims, biases, and "baggage" may drive them and the person who has carefully worked out how they will behave may prove to be as persuasive as a PowerPoint presentation at a rock concert.

All of us know that because all of us have seen it and yet, for many of us, our default mode is to assume logical conduct. Not a bad assumption up to a point but only up to a point.

Use two maps in your reasoning. One is the route that will be taken if logic is the guide and the other is the route if emotion is the guide. The roads may merge but it helps to know the route other than the one you would have taken.


John said...

This reminds me of the challenge I faced when coupled with a boss whose leadership style was inflexibly autocratic and cold-blooded with no second chances. My role as second in command was to insure that collateral damages from his decisions were minimized as much as possible.

I had a flashback to Sociology 201 and the Bales Double Leadership Hierarchy. No question about it: he was the archetype of a "task" leader and I was to be his "socio-emotional" support leader. It wasn't easy, but it seemed to work pretty good until changes in the flow chart brought relief.

That was long ago. I expect Bales has by now been relegated to the dustbin of leadership history, but at a time when I was trapped in the system with no escape he saved my life. In my case he gave me two maps, one to the layout of our subordinates, the other to the often shifting priorities of several layers of bosses above.

Michael Wade said...


Great observation. There is always the formal chart and the real chart.

We form organizations and then we figure out how to do the job in spite of the organization.