As I near the end of another quarter teaching a wonderful group of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) graduate students while juggling consulting clients, I need to ground myself in the eternal wisdom of Dilbert. Here are a few from the last week that helped me make it through the gray, cloudy, rainy, soggy Northwest early winter.
To inject a little humor into consulting engagements when the leadership team seems to have difficulty making a decision, I share the following story of the metaphor we developed for the Digital Equipment Corporation decision process:
It’s like an important baseball game, say the game at the end of the season between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox to determine which one of the teams is going to the World Series. The score is tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth in Fenway Park and there are 35,000 screaming fans in the old ballpark. The Red Sox are at bat; the bases are loaded; there are two outs; and the count is 3 and 2 on the batter. The pitcher pitches and the batter strikes a sharp single to left field. The left fielder charges the ball quickly and makes a rocket throw to home. The ball and the base runner arrive at home plate simultaneously in a cloud of dust. The crowd is screaming and going nuts.
As the cloud of dust settles the umpire leans over and asks the catcher if the runner was safe or out. The catcher says he was out, of course. The umpire then asks the same question of the base runner, who asserts that he was safe, of course. The umpire then directs the catcher and the base runner to go over to the dugout and figure out between themselves whether the runner was safe or out. When they have arrived at their decision they should come back to home plate and announce their decision to the crowd AND get the crowd’s buyin!