Friday, July 13, 2007

Unintended Consequences

We have been taught to be problem oriented that is define a problem then the solution and finally implement it. The result should be a change in the direction we want to go or to achieve a result we want.

Have you found that only seems to work in problems not related to people? It seems that the more people involved in the solution or impacted by the solution the more uncertain it becomes as to what results we will actually get. It is called the Law of Unintended Consequences.

We anticipate problems and develop solutions according to our knowledge and how we would personally handle the situation. We can try to involve others in determining solutions and that will certainly cut down but will not eliminate unexpected results.

We may see a change as beneficial from our point of view but the person receiving the benefit may not see it that way for whatever reason they choose. Rarely does change not have unintended consequences even when it only involves ourselves.

We need to evaluate how certain we are that others impacted by the change will accept the change. If we don't know then we need to find out or at minimum have a damage control program in place to respond immediately when it does occur.

Has this happened to you and what steps can we take for this problem?

9 conversations:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

sarge and i seem to embrace change at every level and seem to always have been that way. guess we are odd! ha ha

smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

No Bee you and sarge just have it all together which I admire

comedy magicians said...

IMO, I think beliefs are hard to change because each belief an individual has is based on thoughts that are physical connections in the brain. The belief comes from the brain giving more "juice" to the stronger connections. The weak connections, can be built strong enough to over come the other connections; thus changing ones beliefs.

Peter Haslam said...

Perseverance is the key Comedy Magicians

Comedy + said...

Well, change is good although most of us love the comfort of status quo. While working my approach was to put something that needed to be changed out on the table and let everyone decide if it's a good or bad thing. Often just putting it out (not forcing it on anyone), that thing that needed changed would become their idea.

You are right...mixing in people makes thing far more difficult. We also need to know what our changes will do to others. That cause and effect part. Execllent post as usual Peter. :)

Peter Haslam said...

Good points Sandee Thanks

Elizabeth said...

The concept that the world is made up of problems that need to be solved is at the very heart of North American culture. Oddly though it may seem to us, this is not a universal belief and many cultures do not approach life from a problem solving perspective, and therefore are not perplexed at all by the human factor in how things turn out -- unintended consequences are just the way things were meant to be.
I treated this in an entry a while back and have also talked about cultural differences in the concept "change is good" (thanks Comedy) -- another American cultural value, not a universal one. Certainly makes for different ways of working and living!

Peter Haslam said...

Yes Elizabeth it comes from the western concept that we are in control of our destiny which many other cultures view differently. I personally lean to the Buddhist philosopy all is an illusion. Thank you for your excellent addition

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