The question is, what are the false ideas that we believe today? An expert is someone who has mastery of current knowledge, not of future knowledge. I think we have to find a balance between having people who have expertise, but also understanding that not every time is an established idea the right thing. TheAtlantic.com, March 6, 2018, Why so many of us die of heart disease.
They laughed at me. I was a 19 year old Airman in the United States Air Force and was assigned to the National Security Agency. The notion that I had just expressed in frustration was that people should be given jobs rather than unrelated tasks to do. The job would be an area of responsibility and the individual would be fairly autonomous in deciding what to do and when to do it as long as everything got done as needed when needed. These managers just laughed at that notion from this young airman as they looked at each other with mirth in their eyes. Years later while attending college on an ROTC scholarship to become an officer, I took a management course that emphasized research showing it was better for productivity and quality to give people … jobs and not tasks to do. I always wondered how a 19 year old could divine this insight after a year on the job where college educated, highly promoted and apparently successful managers could not.
Much of my ability to improve organizations seemed centered on not being stuck in the truism of the day. Just because everyone knew the normal and expected way to do something didn’t keep me from seeing that another way was also possible. I took a lot of heat for going off and doing things differently than what had been done before. Oddly, I was always disappointed to later discover that my brilliant insight leading to our success had already been researched and highlighted elsewhere as being the better thing to do than what was typically being done.
This notion that what we are doing today is going to turn out to be the dumb thing that future generations laugh at tomorrow worries me a bit. I take solace in that human nature had not changed much in my lifetime and apparently not much in the last few thousand years. Luckily, much of what I practiced was managing the good and bad inclinations of human nature. Hopefully my kids will not have much opportunity to laugh at me and say “Dad, did you really do those silly things?”
What are the potentially false ideas that you follow today that are holding back your project’s success?