Monday, June 1, 2009

A case for peace

How many times are we guided by other forces - pushed into decisions that we may make if we had all the information. Have you ever noticed how many times you are given a choice or a task, and you realize you don't have enough information to make a decision, but yet you make it any way. These are never good decisions. In fact, anything that is produced under this circumstance just can not be good. Rushing to the finish line is really just a lesson in triage. And inevitably, the aftermath follows. Mistakes happen. Small things. Big things. It doesn't matter. Mistakes are mistakes. And they require explanation and recovery.

So I wonder if we know this, why do we allow ourselves to be disadvantaged this way? Why do we give up our best effort under duress?

The answer, I think, is to prepare for the inevitable. The disaster. The thing that you hate to imagine, or say out loud, but does inevitably happen. In business, we call this risk management. It requires time and forethought. Preplanning, and contingency planning for the what ifs.

Often times when we do plan for risks, we are avoiding the real risks because these are the ones that we don't want to imagine. These are the types of risks that may be highly improbable, but if they happened, the impact would be huge. These kinds of risks are called "perfect risks", or black swans. These kinds of risks are those that are game changing. They alter our lives immediately and ever after. We spend lots of time trying to understand what happened, why, and what to do about it. How to prevent it from ever happening again. 911 is a good example of a perfect risk. The imaginable happened. And it does inevitably. And I believe in the inevitable.

It is important however not to be afraid of the inevitable. It is better to face it head on. Go face to face with it, and you will find that it is not the giant that it could be.

The good thing about a disaster, however, is that it gives us time to reflect. To consider what we would do different. And that's good. As long as we remember to do that.

As humans, however, we tend to forget. We are optimists. We like to do things, and we don't like to plan (at least most of us don't). We like to execute something (or someone when things go wrong), but we don't like to imagine possibilities. And finally, we don't like to work together.

So what's the big barrier? Honesty, I think. What if we said out loud what could happen? What we are afraid of. What would be game changing and life altering. What if we confronted unrealistic demands with a reasonable solution that meets every one's needs. What if we sat down and talked, honestly, about why we can't talk or work together.

This can't be that difficult. It's not like we are talking about world peace.


LAL said...

Good thoughts Lynn and well put as usual. The last sentence says it all - it has that word honesty in it - thats the hard part for most people. People don't like honesty, they say they do, but invariable they can't undertake the task of self evaluation that must come with it. Or perhaps its a case of perception - ever try telling someone "honestly" that their efforts are lacking or falling short - and then the deer in the headlights look as if to say, "what the hell are you talking about?" How can one person's perception be so different than another's if we were all truly honest? My 2 cents.

Lynear Thinking said...

So true. People don't like to hear honesty or deal with it face to face. I can' say I like it all the time either, but at least it's a beginning to improvement.