Nonsense At Work

#108: June 2016 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift


June 2016

Success Deals Argue Being Stupid

High flyers find success in their little black box

black-boxThere are two funny things about an aircraft’s black box, one funny peculiar and the other funny ha-ha.

Humor is an aid to learning, so let’s begin with ha-ha. The black box is b….. bright orange. Ha-Ha. (So that it can be found more easily.)

No doubt you want to find success more easily. Here’s where the black box funny peculiar can help. The box saves failure and deletes success.

Airplanes are incredibly safe because of the industry’s unrelenting quest for even safer. Hence the smart trick of the black box: it records failure and overwrites success.

We do the opposite. We record our successes with pride and hide our miserable failures. And we think success comes from doing right what must be done when, actually, ongoing success comes from not doing again what was shown to be wrong.

High flyers do like pilots do. They record their failures and overwrite their successes.


Walk away if you cannot make your deals mutually beneficial

connect-your-mannersOh, so much tough talk lately from supposed leaders about negotiating favorable deals. Tough talkers think that win-lose deals are worth fighting for. Real leaders know that win-lose deals are deeply destructive to all parties.

Real leaders aim for mutually beneficial deals. This way all parties want to make it work and no resources are wasted on watchdogs and enforcers.

If you cannot make your deals mutually beneficial, then walk away. I learned this lesson when I worked at a big international shipping company.

The company owned the two biggest deep-sea rescue-salvage tugs in the world. We were negotiating to merge this business with a competitor. One day our team expressed our concerns about the ‘other side.’ The senior VP in charge of the merger stopped us and said, “Either we both gain, or it’s off.” He forced us to change our approach.

Guess what? The merger was a success.


How to argue your way to wisdom

Joker in humourWhen dealing with others, which is always tricky, how do you argue? Do you try to convince the other person that you are right? Or do you aim to show them that they are wrong?

Hang on, there is a difference. If you aim to prove how right you are, then you will be impatient to speak, ignore what is said to you and hear yourself clearly. You will learn nothing more than you have already convinced yourself that you know.

On the other hand, if you aim to convince them that they are wrong, then you will note carefully what they say. You will listen for flaws in their argument, weigh their weak points, and scrutinize their strong points. In other words, you will learn a lot.

When you focus on your points, you might win the argument but gain little. When you focus on their points, you might lose, but you will be so much wiser.


The catch in being anti-government

biggovImagine you’re a fighter pilot. You know that it is insane to fly a dangerous mission. However, if you ask to be mentally evaluated, then you are automatically declared sane because you recognize the insanity of the mission. That’s Catch-22 as Joseph Heller described it.

Catch-22 ensures that no pilot can ever be grounded for being insane, even if he were.

Consider this. You must be nuts to be happy that our infrastructure has crumbled, our environment is polluted and our banks are corrupted. However, if you complain, then you are sane enough to understand the need for ‘somebody’ to fix it.

Catch-22 ensures that no sane citizen can ever be against government, even if he says he is.

Oh, you’re not against government, just against big government? Well, fighter pilots cannot choose to fly short missions that don’t get them near the job to be done.

Now that would be insane.


When stupid and lazy go to work

sabotWhile we’re on the topic of insanity . . . what happens when stupid goes to work? Nonsense happens.

What happens when stupid and lazy pitch up together? About $400 million in damage, according to navy investigators. In May 2012 a nuclear submarine caught fire in a dry dock in Maine. Actually, the sub did not catch fire. The fire was set by a civilian laborer. Why? Because he wanted to go home early.

Now that’s rather selfish. I much prefer the team spirit of a South African woman. Following the anthrax scares after 9-11, she staged a hoax anthrax threat to shut down a large company for a day. Why? She wanted to give her friends, who worked there, the day off.

Intentional nonsense is called sabotage. Many years ago French weavers threw their sabots (wooden clogs) into the looms to clog up the works. (Now you know. Clogging up the works, with or without your sabots, is sabotage.)

From shoes to hoax anthrax to nuclear fires, now that’s worker progress.

Methinks robots in the workplace have a lot of catching up to do.



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