Note: First Published December 2012
Beware The Unintended! No it’s different from Beware the Ides Of March.
In trying to accomplish our goals we should periodically reevaluate and determine if there are improvements we can make. Any time you alter an approach the potential for outcomes to differ from your vision. In the discussion of Is Success Good in A Whack on the Side of the Head, by Roger von Oech, we find there can be unintended outcomes from trying to optimizing any process.
One of the examples given is of an Olympic coach who asked a meditation instructor to “teach awareness techniques” to the team. His intention was to boost their performance. The results were mixed.
While “as the crew learned more about meditation, they became more synchronized, there was less resistance, [and] their strokes got smoother….they went slower.” With the increased focus on harmony the team became less concerned with winning. So von Oech says, “Beware the Unintended”. Success doesn’t always mean we reach our intended goals. I was quite successful in a career that had nothing to do with my real passion. As I move forward trying to be ‘successful’ in my art career I am mindful of the final sentence in the section on success. “…..there are places where I’m glad I failed because it forced me to look for a second right answer that, in hindsight, was much preferable to the first”.
The corresponding card from the Creative Whack Pack asks the question: “What are the unintended consequences (positive or negative) of implementing your idea?”
“Everyone has to make their own decisions. I still believe in that. You just have to be able to accept the consequences without complaining.” – Grace Jones