They ain’t nothin’ ’til I calls ’em

Three Major League Baseball umpires were comparing perspectives on their responsibilities.

“I calls 'em as I sees 'em” boasts the first.
“I sees 'em as I calls 'em” admits the second.
“They ain't nothin' 'til I calls 'em” acknowledges the third.Are you aware, as the third umpire apperently is, of how your perceptions shape your reality? If your view of the world were incomplete, or worse, inaccurate, would you want to know? How would you deal with data — incontrovertible evidence, as they say — inconsistent with your own deeply held beliefs? Would you even be able to perceive the data in front of you?

That's too many questions for one blog entry…but these questions seem to lie just beneath every presentation I make on Responsibility Redefined.

Denial is a powerful position of mind. How frequently is “Oh No! It can't be!” our first reaction to evidence that we don't want to be true? Our beliefs so affect what we perceive that we can look directly at the can of beans on the shelf and not see it, even if we are looking for it, if deep down we really don't want to — or believe we will — find it. In Prophets In the Dark, David Kearns, former head of Xerox describes how Xerox tore apart a Savin copier to analyze how it was made. They then declared in internal executive memos that there's no way Savin could be making copiers for less than it cost to sell them and predicted the pending demise of Savin. Of course Xerox was in denial about their own manufacturing sophistication and was, of course, analyzing not what Savin spent to build a copier but what Xerox would have to spend to build Savin's copier.

What are you in denial about? Its something to think about.

For a list of books that will help you think about examining your story, see Examining what you think you know to be true.

Posted in Uncategorized on 07/05/2006 05:20 pm
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