Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Blink

For anyone who has ever been in the throes of analysis paralysis - which is coming up for me with the results of the ICTPD online survey. Impending ERO visits, annual reviews, MOE requirements (of any flavour). You would do well to read Malcolm Gladwell's 'Blink'
He talks about the 'Perils of Introspection'
Relate the experiences of a successful military commander to how we operate in schools...
"The overall guidance and the intent were provided by me and the senior leadership, but the forces in the field wouldn't depend on intricate orders coming from the top. They were to use their own initiative and be innovative as they went forward...Once the fighting started, Van Riper didn't want introspection. He didn't want long meetings. He didn't want explanations. "I told our staff that we would use none of the terminology the Blue Team was using. I never wanted to hear that word 'effects', except in normal conversation. I didn't want to hear about Operational Net Assessment. We would not get caught up in any of these mechanistic processes. We would use the wisdom, the experience, and the good judgement of the people we had." This kind of management clearly has its risks. It meant Van Riper didn't always have a clear idea of what his troops were up to. It meant he had to place a lot of trust in his subordinates. It was, by his own admission, a "messy" way to make decisions. But it had one overwhelming advantage: allowing people to operate withoug having to explain themselves constantly...enables rapid cognition."
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