Saturday, 1 December 2012

Cause and Effect

I’m always surprised when an ostensibly sensible person confines their analysis of a possible course of action simply to looking at the first stage of a multi-stage process. In my experience this is almost always a recipe for disaster.

The most extreme example of this was RD who was employed as an Assistant Principal at a Further Education college. RD seemed to regard every interaction he had with people as being totally divorced from what had happened in the past and irrelevant as a predictive tool as to what might happen in the future. Time and again he was left publically bemused by colleagues who didn’t share his view of the world.
If you were trying to write a job description for a totally unsuitable post for RD it would have involved giving him a managerial role overseeing people who were better educated and more articulate than he was. Given that he was a former woodwork teacher such people were not hard to find in a post-16 college.

RD didn’t seem to be able to get his head around the fact that people have memories – very long memories when it comes to being stitched up – and that “forgive and forget” isn’t necessarily part of everybody’s philosophy. Time and again RD would engage in the very worst forms of macho posturing as a manager and then he would act both aggrieved and sad when he found that as a result he was almost universally despised.
 Some years after I left the college I met up with RD in a situation where I was several steps above him in the educational hierarchy. I was chairing a committee on which he was a very junior member – so junior in fact he didn’t even have voting rights – and he still was the odious little man I remembered so well.   Clearly time hadn’t shown him the error of his ways.

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