“It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble, it’s the things we do know that just ain’t so.” Artemus Ward
We’re focussed on helping people improve their businesses in Near Future. And we think a lot about how we might do that. A part of that involves improved thinking, and asking awkward questions. I’ve found over time that most ideas are logically constructed and the best way to challenge ideas are to challenge the assumptions, the basis on which they’re built. If the assumptions are wrong everything else falls apart.
Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert L Sutton wrote a wonderful book on evidence based management a few years ago called “Hard Fact, Dangerous Half Truths & Total Nonsense” which poked holes in many of the modern Shibboleths of management.
One of the myths that Sutton and Pfeffer explored in their books was on the nature of Financial Incentives. The evidence shows that incentives sometimes demotivate, sometimes motivate the wrong behaviour and often attract the wrong sort of talent. Even in the best of circumstance are damn hard to get right. Even a company as clever as Microsoft has managed to design disastrous incentive systems that it has now abandoned.
We are planning a breakfast event in a few weeks in. It will be on the theme of what we know that isn’t true. It is designed to break open a few management myths, the Emperors New Facts. The event will be invite only and we have a few open slots, email dermot @nearfuture.io if you’d like to be included in this or future events that we might run.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear your ideas of things that are generally assumed but are wrong.