February 27, 2009
Over the past many years, I have had the privilege of analyzing many significant management issues within the technology industry using Goldratt’s thinking process. Each time, I set out to discover the core conflict, I knew that the adventure would be both interesting and challenging to resolve.
What I did not expect was for all of those core conflicts to coalesce to a competition between meeting short-term organizational interests and meeting long-term organizational interests: short v. long! At first, I was surprised because the actual manifestations (what people complained about) seemed quite different each time. However, with time and more examples, I began to realize that the common thread was essentially overly optimistic thinking: a) if everything goes perfectly and we are lucky, we can meet our goals, or b) we are not sure of our priorities, so let’s just try and do everything. I found myself asking, why would any rational business behave this way?
Not long after I decoded that common thread, a friend suggested that I read “Stumbling on Happiness” (it’s funny and enlightening; if you are a close personal friend of mine, you’ll probably get a copy for your birthday!) The answer is we (humans) tend to be irrational! This idea is not new, novel, or in any way original. In fact, there is an entire scientific domain devoted to these ideas: behavioral economics.
Although it’s not like I crawled out from under a rock without an understanding of the need for discipline in all aspects of life (my family instilled the importance of taking the long view and forgoing immediate gratification just like other families have done for millennia), I am simply taking it deeper. This weblog chronicles my absorption and application of this increased knowledge and awareness to life, business, technology, and family → kissing immediacy goodbye.