5-4-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Cult of "Positive Attitude"

As someone who has to be careful not to sound hypercritical, I assure you that that particular problem is not what this post at Meeting Boy describes:

[I]f you stack the deck with yes-men, then consensus means nothing: A very large organization which we're all familiar with had a leader who insisted on positive attitude and people who work to find solutions and make things happen. "Can-do attitude" was very important. So in a short time they were racing to the launch of his big project. The consensus within his team was that it was a good plan, with one department head even calling it a "slam dunk". If anyone had any concerns, they stayed quiet. The project ended up a huge disaster despite a very impressive first month, with lots of back-patting and one group even declaring "mission accomplished". In the end it:
  • Turned out to have been sold-in with faulty information.
  • Had a promised price tag of $60 billion, but exceeded $1 trillion.
  • Was supposed to take 3 months, but lasted over 8 years.
It didn't turn out too well for that leader either. Sure, he has his pension, but he's a pariah now, invited to nothing, and trying to make the best of retirement by painting pictures of animals.
As someone who has become suspicious of almost any attempt to build a "consensus" in recent years -- and not just because of global warming "activism" -- I found this piece a valuable dissection of what goes on during the building of such meaningless consensuses. I also suspect that many people who have been slammed for being "negative" in such situations might welcome knowing that at least someone else appreciates their more objective "attitude".

Weekend Reading

"If U.S. policymakers aren't willing to enact these fundamental reforms, at the least it should consider shifting from bail-outs to bail-ins." -- Richard Salsman, in "Bankruptcies, Bail-Outs & Bail-Ins: The Good, Bad & Ugly of Bank Failure Resolution", at Forbes

"[ObamaCare is] like having a law requiring homeowner's insurance to pay for lawn care, house painting and water heater replacement, while at the same time prohibiting the companies from operating an actuarially sound business." -- Beth Haynes, in "Almost All Americans Lack Health Insurance", at The Huffington Post

"If it's true that your marital relationship is one of the things you value in life, then why would you want that relationship to suffer because of your unwillingness to 'selfishly' work to find a solution that satisfies you both?" -- MIchael Hurd, in "Compromise Isn't Always Good", at The Delaware Wave

"[T]hinking before you speak presupposes that you have somewhere else to think!" -- Michael Hurd, in "Is That ME Talking?", in The Delaware Coast Press

Cyprus Better than Bailouts?

To be clear, the Salsman piece is not advocating Cypriot-style measures as answers to bank failures. Rather, it makes the point (among others) that such measures are less bad than the kind of bank bailouts we have seen in the U.S. I know that many fellow readers of his piece will find his position controversial (or at least initially shocking). But hear him out: He makes a good argument.

Heh! (But I hope I don't bank there!)

A reader's comment on an interesting list of myths about password security reads in part as follows:
True story. My wife and I went into a major bank this morning, just as they were unlocking the doors. Had to wait while they booted up. One employee yells across the bank, "What's the password?" and the other one yells back, "1-2-3-4!"

The fact that they could even be ALLOWED to SET such a password tells me everything I need to know about their "IT people".
Not only is the password bad, I am astounded that people were yelling it back and forth, and with members of the public within earshot to boot. Were I privy to the identity of the bank, that would be all I needed to know about it.



Jim May said...

The emphasis on "attitude" with no regard for its source (i.e. whether it's factual) is simple emotionalism, of emotions as absolutes and facts as plastic.

I saw enough of it at my last employer to know it when I smell it.

Gus Van Horn said...

It bears noting that your identification is spot on, regardless of whether "attitude" is considered a good or a bad thing.