Evidence Unicorns and Bullshit 3 Areas of Team Building and Leadership Development Create Learning

If you dislike theory, and seek only “Practical action”; That is unfortunate. Anything you do is founded upon a theory of some sort, and eschewing theory merely means that your decisions are being misdirected by some bad theory which you do not know about. – Elliott Jaques; Requisite Organization

There is so much information within the team building and managerial leadership world and Jargon Monoxide (I wish I came up with this phrase Bob Sutton shared what this means on his blog) that everyone feels overwhelmed.

The challenge is determining what works within organizations is complex.

Beliefs, false ideas, reinforced negative theories of work, personal fallacies about competence, improper systems in place for promotions, onboarding, and hiring.

In management and team development, humans and behaviors do not operate in the same short-term cause-effect process that machines do. When something goes wrong, we want to blame people, not processes or systems. Because someone must have screwed up somewhere, and I know it wasn’t me.”

Has this happened to you, In your work or life? Only to later talk to the person and realize that they were working just as hard as you-BUT some process, policy, or procedure held up the work getting completed.

I am not excusing under-performance or human errors; they happen-I am just asking you to think and explore the system in which your work is done and to consider,

…why would a smart, well intentioned person who is like me. purposely do something to negatively affect the work of all those around them?

I like to separate the responses into 3 parts;

Evidence | Unicorns | Bullshit




*An organizational culture

dedicated to telling the truth, even when uncomfortable. *Challenging excessive Pollyannaism, Positive Psychology, and beliefs that may be founded upon false assumptions. *Decisions are based upon evidence that can be replicated and examined by peers within and outside of your field. *You are prepared to change or abandon your processes and thought IF better evidence is found that shows a better way to do something. *There are secondary sources (academic journals, peer-reviewed articles, existing Bodies of Knowledge, etc…) that are applicable and provide evidence for what you are doing. *Organizational, Team, and individual exploration for risks and drawbacks of what is recommended. Everything has side effects-There is no “Silver Bullet Solution.” Some of my favorite sources for Evidence in team development & Managerial Leadership in addition to my blog; Evidence-Based Management Bob Sutton Will Thalheimer LeaderLab Bret Simmons 3StarLeadership Sudden Teams Curious Cat Dan McCarthy Guy Wallace Tom Foster Evidence Soup There are more,

and if your read these you will be alright.

*This term is from Elliot Jaques-Life & Behavior of Living Organisms;
I call these ” unicorns ” false

assumptions and beliefs that we create through language I call these “unicorns.” We can describe the unicorn, its color, weight, how long its horn is, etc…BUT when we look for evidence, none exists. *Organizations and management theory is rife with unicorns – and we hold deeply onto these because much of the foundation for our management is from the same land that the unicorns came from in the first place. *People believe and may have evidence for “unicorns,” and they may even work very effectively.
This challenge arises when we explore the difficulty of maintaining an effective relationship between the sensible world (realism-the belief that objects exist outside my self and thoughts) in which work and production happen; And the world of language (Idealism-the belief that objects only exist within my thoughts and interactions with them) in which creativity and ideas can take on a life of their own. *For an example of a Unicorn; Pay-For-Performance FAILS Incentive-Based Compensation misses the mark. People do NOT remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they see, 30% of what they hear, 80% of what they do.

*For this exploration,

I turn to Harry Frankfurt-On Bullshit;
The essential nature ofBullshitt: although it is produced without concern for the truth, is it does not need to be false.
AllBullshitt must have a blatant disregard for the truth. *Bullshit is more extreme than “unicorns” because the person knows they are attempting to be deceitful. *For a great example of lBullshit, watch this interview on 60 Minutes about Greg Mortenson’s book 3 Cups of Tea.
Or this example from Bob Suttons Blog. *We find BullsBullshitll corners of the world, especially when it comes to management. To counteract the harmful effects that Bullshit Upon your career refers

back to the evidence side of the chart.