Life is Complicated – or – Why We Have Poor Management

Posted on January 23, 2009 by


Since starting my new job, I’ve had to come to terms with Dilbert-style management. It’s been kind of a conundrum to me, why we have management that seems to spend their effort addressing small surface issues while leaving major structural deficiencies unaddressed.

Certainly one could blame it on “the Peter Principle” or on high hopes and poor training, but I’ve got another theory. It involves complicated-world people and simple-world people. The complicated-world people think the world is a complicated place, and are more likely to spend time analyzing problems before presenting solutions. The simple-world people see a problem, propose a solution, and move on.

This means that the simple-world people are more likely to act quickly and decisively (which higher-ups interpret as “effective management”) while the complicated-world are busy working on an extensive solution (which higher-ups interpret as “twiddling your thumbs”). But life isn’t simple–it’s complicated. And so I end up with management that runs around, quickly and decisively putting out fires, while the underlying cause of the fires remains unaddressed.

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