Why smart people do stupid things

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Why smart people do stupid things

You never get the results you want from the processes you like (if this were not the case, you would have gotten these results already). People in business generally fall in love with those approaches which have given them the best results in the past.

However, the world is constantly changing and we often do not realize that what has got us here, will no longer get us there. When faced with a new problem, our existing thinking patterns keep on spewing out old solutions, without realizing they have become ineffective and obsolete. This thinking flaw is called the ‘Dead Horse approach to solving problems.’

‘One day, a company catering to tourists, using horse and carriage for sightseeing, found that its only horse had died overnight. The Management Team convened and in a special meeting they discussed what to do.

• The Chief Financial Officer pointed out that the cost of ownership of a dead horse is much lower than the cost of ownership of a living horse. He therefore requested to only use dead horses from now on.

• The Human Resource director proposed a new bonus incentive program for the horse to increase its performance.

• The Operations Director ignored the dead horse, since ‘dead’ was not listed as a viable entry for a horse in the SAP system.

• The Patent Attorney wondered if the dead horse could be turned into a trademark.

• The Legal Officer argued the meaning of ‘dead.’

• The Research Director concluded more tests were required to determine if the horse was really dead.

• The Communications Officer thought this to be a great opportunity to launch a new social media campaign to proudly highlight the merits of dead horses.

In the end, having listened to all these ideas, the CEO decided to form a committee to study the subject of dead horses…’

When was the last time you stumbled upon a dead horse?

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