Saturday, 15 September 2012

Being right for the wrong reason can still cost you dearly in the long run

Sometimes you get the right result for entirely the wrong reason. If you only care about the results you get and lack curiosity about the "reason why" you will miss learning opportunities and set your self up for a longer-term fails.

The classic example is the Y2K problem which resulted in a unprecedented IT expenditure globally. The lazy software programmers thought year 2000 was a leap year because it was divisible by 4 and used this in all their calculations.The more conscientious programmers, who did a bit more analysis, concluded that Year 2000 was not a leap year because there is an exception to the earlier "divisible by four" rule every hundred years. They programmed it not to be a leap year.

However they were wrong  because there was another exception to the first exception every 400 years which cancelled it out for the year 2000! Therefore the lazy programmers got it right for the wrong reasons (and the conscientious programmers got it wrong).

So where might you be guilty of being lazy and not digging into your good results to ensure that they are good for good reasons? 

And where did you do the right thing but because the short-term results were not what you wanted you decided never to do that same thing again?

Read my article on the dangers of  "Golden Rules".

Ken Thompson (aka The BumbleBee) blogs about bioteams, virtual collaboration and business simulation at