Brainstorming simply doesn’t work as advertised.
Researchers at Yale in 1958 pitted 12 groups of 4 undergraduates against 48 undergraduates who worked by themselves. They were given puzzles to solve. The solo students developed twice as many solutions as the brainstorming groups and their solutions were judged to be more feasible and likely to be more effective.
Turns out that brainstorming suppresses the potential of the group.
This is all pervasive and corrosive despite all the evidence saying that most people are trustworthy.
…everything as number 1! I do this to myself. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
…and policies for everyone when in fact it is a minority who need a good talking to…“Come to my office. We are going to have a chat and after that things will be different and better for me and everyone. Failing that, things will be very different and worse for you…”
Oh, how I miss management.
The problem with not working in a corporation anymore is that I don’t get the memos telling me that down is the new up and up is the new down. So when I asked someone the other day about their staff they scowled at me like I was some oppressor of the workers. The term in their organisation is, apparently, colleague.
Let me tell you something.
If one colleague can sack another colleague, they are not colleagues. They are boss and employee as evidenced by the fact that only the bosses use the word “colleague.”
Trying to Improve Performance by…
- Offering bonuses for achievements the individual cannot deliver by herself
- Focusing on outputs (goals) rather than inputs (activities)
- Reviewing performance four times a year. Hey, the plan-do-review cycle is 98% do you know. Four times a year is maybe OK if you do it standing up and the notes are written before anyone walks out the door. But that doesn’t happen.
Only training for skill development when coaching for mindset development and hence performance is where the real upside usually resides.
Sheep-dip Residential Training Courses
Almost a total waste of time. With added liver damage as well. Expensive and ineffective. Flies in the face of stuff we already know, like Hermann Ebbinghaus’ spaced repetition approach to learning and remembering (19th century!!). There is nothing new, including it would seem, our ability to fail to implement what is already known. Duh.
Allowing (often) men in positions of power to think all interactions with the supply chain (forward and back) have to be won or lost. It’s an ecosystem you silly man.
Getting too Big for your Boots
As they said in Mad Men, working in advertising would be a great job if it wasn’t for the customers…
I think this happens around the 100 customer mark. If you have less than 100 customers you know most of them by name. Each is important and you genuinely appreciate the business.
Beyond that, no individual customer seems to matter that much and they are treated accordingly, usually by someone in the organisation who is a colleague at the bottom of the colleague hierarchy.
Status Quo Bias
Putting barriers in the way of new ideas. A default to business-as-usual. Meaning that new stuff has to be off-the-scale brilliant to stand any chance of being adopted or the danger and pain the organisation has to face has to become unbearable before anything new will be considered. This can happen to countries too. I’m looking at you France.
Informed Leader Fallacy.
I like the word fallacy. It’s not pretending, or soft soaping. The leader believes she is better informed and has better instincts than others just because she is the leader…
Treating Farmers better than Hunters.
“Hey, I look after £20 million of sales per year. Every year. Same customers. I look after it. I am important!!” says the highly paid farmer.
Meanwhile the poor hunter, responsible for few sales (that is not her job!!) fights alligators every day for little reward, is forced to become a farmer to get paid properly. So there’s a constant shortage of hunters, without whom there would be no farmers. Best place to be a hunter? In your own business.
I’m glad I got that off my chest. Have I missed anything out? What’s your worst horror story? Let me know below.