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Prediction, change and the $2.10 game.

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  • John Carter
    ... An excellent book on the many failings of out predictive ability is The Black Swan by Nicolas Taleb. Possibly the most applicable failing when trying to
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 31, 2008
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      On Sun, 30 Mar 2008, Dale Emery wrote:

      > I invite you and encourage you to keep referring the conversation back to
      > "the real world." If something interesting or contentious or personal or
      > surprising pops up in the data or in the conversation, ask yourself, "How
      > might this relate to leading change in organizations?" Then add your answer
      > to the conversation.

      An excellent book on the many failings of out predictive ability is
      "The Black Swan" by Nicolas Taleb.

      Possibly the most applicable failing when trying to relate the $2.10
      game to XP is what Taleb calls the Ludic Fallacy.

      We mistake life, contracts, customers, markets as being a "Game" with
      "Fixed Rules" and "Fair Play" having tractable probability distributions.

      In reality life isn't nearly so kind.

      Beyond the laws of Physics, there are no Rules.

      There are "Laws" as promulgated by governments etc....

      But they can be and often are broken. They may be enforced
      later....but still your prediction your models have failed unless you
      included that eventuality.

      Your game has a neat tractable probability distribution.... having a
      complete supply of finite moments.

      Many real life distributions are power law / pareto / strange nasty
      things that do not necessarily have a mean and often don't have a
      finite variance.

      More often we do not really know what the distribution is, more often
      than not several mechanisms and several distributions are involved at
      once.

      Yet we're obsessed with Gaussian / Binomial mathematics.

      Why? Because we can do the maths.

      Does this mean life is constrained to behave that way?

      Just ask your local subprime mortgage investor....

      Taleb argues that extreme events are more probable than we'd expect
      and often determine what we regard as "The Status Quo"... at least
      until the next extreme event comes along and rips our cheese clean out
      of grasp.

      What has this to do with change in organizations?

      ....well for your daily dose of paranoia, try Naomi Klein.... (just
      remember, just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean they aren't
      really out to get you....)

      http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine

      Her argument is based on the observation that when an extreme event
      comes along you _can_ shift the attitudes and behaviour of a large
      body of people.

      Her belief and fear is that various entities are using this tactic.

      Both in the form of leveraging natural occurring events (like Hurricane
      Katrina), and worse, instigating events (like currency meltdowns) to
      perform large scale change in populations.

      Paranoia? Maybe.

      What has this to do with "Leading Change in Organizations"...

      I have seen some company size organizations undergo "near death
      experiences" requiring huge layoffs and restructuring.....

      ....and then briskly arise from the invalid bed and gallop off in a
      premeditated direction.

      ie. the whole event was stage managed to shed a loyal workforce which
      didn't fit the "New Plan".

      Yet change is inevitable and a prerequisite for a profitable
      business. So what's the problem?

      I always get the chuckles when people whinge about "Conspiracy
      Nutters"....

      Because I know I can instanter pull their chain....

      "What?", I say, "Do you mean we don't live a whelter of conspiracy? Do
      you seriously believe we are not surrounded by secret plotting by
      clusters of self interested people that don't have my best interests
      at heart?"

      Of course they ridicule the notion.

      "Aha!", I say, "So I can publish the minutes of your Monday morning
      meeting on the web then...."

      Splutter - splutter - splutter.

      I love it.

      Yet it is the answer to leading change in organizations....

      Transparency and honesty.

      How do you make people trustworthy?

      By trusting them.


      John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
      Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
      PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
      New Zealand
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... Or, perhaps, by making them transparent against their wishes? Hmmm? Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com If you don t have the courage to say what you think,
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 1, 2008
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        Hello, John. On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, at 1:11:49 AM, you wrote:

        > "Aha!", I say, "So I can publish the minutes of your Monday morning
        > meeting on the web then...."

        > Splutter - splutter - splutter.

        > I love it.

        > Yet it is the answer to leading change in organizations....

        > Transparency and honesty.

        > How do you make people trustworthy?

        > By trusting them.

        Or, perhaps, by making them transparent against their wishes? Hmmm?

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        If you don't have the courage to say what you think,
        there isn't much use in thinking it, is there?
        --Thomas Jay Peckish II
      • Brad Stiles
        ... Do you find that this approach actually works, or were you making a comment about John s implementation of that approach? I ask because whenever I ve seen
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 1, 2008
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          Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

          > Hello, John. On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, at 1:11:49 AM, you wrote:
          >
          >> "Aha!", I say, "So I can publish the minutes of your Monday morning
          >> meeting on the web then...."


          ...

          >> How do you make people trustworthy?

          >> By trusting them.
          >
          > Or, perhaps, by making them transparent against their wishes? Hmmm?

          Do you find that this approach actually works, or were you making a
          comment about John's implementation of that approach? I ask because
          whenever I've seen this tried, I've generally seen two outcomes. One is
          that it works, sort of, with some major back-pedaling on the whole
          "transparency" front. The other is that people become more adept at
          *appearing* transparent, while actually becoming more opaque.

          Brad
        • Ron Jeffries
          ... I have no reason to believe that this works. On the other hand, the kind of secrecy we are seeing today in the US government isn t working all that well
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 1, 2008
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            Hello, Brad. On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, at 8:23:28 AM, you wrote:

            >> Or, perhaps, by making them transparent against their wishes? Hmmm?

            > Do you find that this approach actually works, or were you making a
            > comment about John's implementation of that approach? I ask because
            > whenever I've seen this tried, I've generally seen two outcomes. One is
            > that it works, sort of, with some major back-pedaling on the whole
            > "transparency" front. The other is that people become more adept at
            > *appearing* transparent, while actually becoming more opaque.

            I have no reason to believe that this works. On the other hand, the
            kind of secrecy we are seeing today in the US government isn't
            working all that well either.

            In his book /The Transparent Society/, David Brin makes the point
            that all kinds of information about us all will be collected, and
            that the best treatment for it may not be to leave it in the hands
            of a "few" who will "protect" it.

            Ron Jeffries
            www.XProgramming.com
            Perhaps this Silver Bullet will tell you who I am ...
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