Friday, February 8, 2013

Human Beings–Perfect and Predictable …

… in our imperfection and unpredictability.

Watching the snowstorm sweep up the coast today, I have noticed an interesting dialog developing after Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts declared a state of emergency, banning most motor vehicle traffic as of 4:00pm today.

The conspiracy crowd has climbed all over this declaration, citing “Big Brother” concerns and the belief that this is merely another step towards controlling what people are allowed to do.

Most of these conspiracy people aren’t smart enough to realize that such declarations may save the lives of people who otherwise aren’t intelligent enough to avoid potentially life-threatening situations.  It may also prevent loss-0f-life in the ranks of the many brave, unsung heroes who serve as first-responders and would be forced to go out in the storm to rescue these people.

Sadly, such conspiracy-laden thinking is getting more and more predictable.

And with such predictability comes a warning.

As the populous gets more and more wound up over things that exist to save their lives (remember people who fought seatbelt laws as infringements on personal freedom?) or things that aren’t important, the very thing they fear, loss of said freedom, will become more and more a reality.

Any unstable society that grows paranoid about everything deserves to lose its freedom and will do so for its own protection.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict such a future.

Meanwhile ……

I had a meeting last week with someone who made the following observation about the organization and person he works for:

“The cool thing about <<name withheld>>  is that we can work on whatever we want and however we want to do it and he doesn’t care what we do”.

The interesting thing about this organization is that after having spent considerable amounts of cash, they have practically zero to show for it.

Now while it is true that some individuals and organizations have thrived in such an environment, on closer examination it could be observed that they had underlying personal disciplines that complemented their personal and collaborative freedoms, thus producing a great result.

However, many people, when given the freedom to be totally unaccountable for anything or to anybody, usually meet the expectations set for them by delivering little or nothing in return.

When outside observers can routinely predict the result of every project they embrace, you would think someone would decide that a more disciplined behaviour is in order.

Sadly, predictably, excessive ego won’t allow this adjustment to manifest either.

A warning …. and an opportunity

The great challenge we have with these and other examples is that it is easy to predict where the world is heading as a result of what we are doing in and to the world.

And yet for as easily as we can predict such a future, little is being done to correct our behaviour.

Hopefully we will understand this on a higher level soon, be totally unpredictable for once and in doing so, strive towards a higher level of perfection in order to solve the challenges we face in the world.


In service and servanthood,


Addendum: In a meeting with a client the other day, we were noodling over what constitutes a complete solution when it comes to addressing the challenges we face today and I came up with the following picture to express a 50,000 ft. view of what a solution must encompass (click on the image for a larger version).

What do you think?



  1. The key to the failure in the organization you cite is right in the quote: "...he doesn't care". How sad. As your diagram so clearly shows, it is in the nexus of influence that all effective actions happen. With no vision to magnetize the efforts of the team toward the accomplishment of something of value, what can we expect?

  2. Success flows easily in corporate cultures where excellence is cool, where egos are checked at the door, and where leadership projects a consistent and focused vision within everybody's line of sight and earshot, in terms that carry meaning and weight. Most people are capable of amazing discipline and conscientious effort when they can see what they have to do and why it is important.

  3. "when they can see what they have to do and why it is important" ..... an important aspect of leadership - both from the people they work for and within themselves. :-)

    Thanks for the comment, Doug! I agree with you!

    Create a great day!