As big a fan of logic as I am, I always apply the final test: "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." In other words, it matters where you end up, even if your chain of reasoning is flawless. If you end up with a stupid conclusion, it matters little how you reached that stupid conclusion.
This is on my mind because I keep running into a stupid conclusion that was arrived at logically. Mercifully, this particular stupidity rarely ruins my day, but it certainly ruins the days of many others.
The day ruining takes the form of endlessly refusing to address any immediate issues because only big issues can be taken up the chain and local power seems to be non-existent. When I tried to push back, in different contexts in different organizations, here is the reasoning that was offered as an explanation:
- Premise: the view from 50,000 feet/big picture is always clearer
- Therefore all decisions should be made by senior staff
- But senior staff cannot get bogged down in details
- So only big decisions are worth making
- Therefore a collection of smaller decisions, even if that collection has an enormous collective impact, should be ignored forever
On the bright side, the resulting not-to-be-admitted disasters seem to offer decent opportunities for a consultant such as myself, so perhaps I should just keep my big mouth shut.
References for the interested: