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Unread September 20th, 2006, 02:31 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 271
Default Re: Ann Coulter & Wm. Provine: Evolution's Odd Couple

Todd, I think you are confusing rationality with emotions again.

You are probably no more rational than your clients - although you do seem like a very smart person. You are just motivated by different emotions - that are more conducive to solving their problems.

Having a job within an organization provides many strong emotions involved with status, wages, promotion prospects, retirement benefits, stock options, allies and enemies within the organization, etc. That's to say nothing of the basic desire to benefit as much from your job as possible while doing the least amount of work. Creative problem-solving is hard mental work.

But, these powerful emotions are different from the ones that would guide decisions in the best interests of the company. Very few employees ever adopt beliefs about their job that align with the company's best interests. Almost all are more concerned with their own success than the company's success. That goes all the way to the top. Only insofar as the president of a corporation's success is tied to that of the company will he or she be motivated to make decisions in the company's best interest. That's also what makes some problems virtually intractable within any organization.

As a consultant, you are immune from such emotions (at first at least) - and therefore can apply your rationality in a mental environment not overwhelmed by those stronger emotions.

The longer you remain as a consultant for that company however, the more you are likely to ally yourself with certain factions there - the more likely that you will start to adopt some of their same decision-harming beliefs - and their accompanying emotions. As long as your allies do the consultant hiring then you will probably be able to transfer a lot of that company's money into your bank account - before another faction assumes control.

And all the while you will convince yourself that it's your superior rationality and creativity that makes them pay you - when it's actually the endemic emotional barriers preventing the employees who have similar inate skills - to apply them in the company's benefit.

Best regards, Margaret

PS - Reading this back it seems like you could interpret this as me insulting you or your profession. I have worked as a consultant myself and my cynicism comes from that experience. The fact that an "outsider" can come up with solutions better and faster than existing employees speaks to the enormous effect that "employee emotions" have on their effectiveness. Those emotions simply work to stamp out creativity and views that are in the company's best interests.

IMO those stem from the relationship between the employer and the employee. Also, there are very strong emotions of acceptance by fellow workers that work against an employee making an extra effort at creativity - which is often interpreted by other employees as "kissing up to the boss". As long as those emotional relationships exists as they do - outside consultants will always be necessary and highly valuable resources. And consultants will always tend to be those who tried working for larger companies and found that they value their own creativity too much to subjugate it to those same stifling employer / employee emotions.

Perhaps it's just not reasonable psychologically to expect people to apply creative problem-solving skills to other people's problems - when they are basically being paid to spend a set amount of time at work each week. The consultant relationship is an arrangement that allows you to psychologically adopt those problems - on the company's behalf - while insulating you from the emotions that the employees must experience.

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; September 21st, 2006 at 11:01 AM.
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