Oh man. Although this doesn’t have anything to do directly with the SDMB, one of the flaws of the organization where I work is to try to respond to fluke circumstances by changing policy.
Recently we determined that a letter sent by another organization did not reach us because the US Post Office did not deliver it. The next sentence out of one manager’s mouth was, “We should have a meeting to determine how we can prevent this from ever happening again.”
This was the first time it had ever happened in the nine years I’ve been here, and no one could remember an instance of it ever happening before that in the entire history of the organization. Furthermore, we don’t control the Post Office, nor can we control how other agencies send things to us. In some cases, use of the US Mail is mandated by law for certain official correspondence.
But some people are psychologically incapable of admitting that this was
[li]A fluke event[/li][li]The only time it’s ever happened[/li][li]Entirely outside our control[/li][li]Not very important in itself (there were no bad consequences)[/li][li]Discovered through routine cross-checking that already tales place and would discover any future failed delivery just as well[/li][/ul]
And that’s just one example. Another time, a manager was handling two documents and asked several questions about them, then later came by and asked about the status of “those two documents.” It turned out he actually was describing a different set of two documents (ONE of the original two documents and a new, third item), but because he didn’t name them and didn’t clarify that he was discussing new material, a misunderstanding occurred. He then announced a policy change, effective immediately, in which all future info would be routed through him.
Uh, dude, you were the problem. Routing the info through you increases the chance of error, because you rushed off half-cocked and didn’t even look at what you were being asked, and your loose use of language got you a false answer, AND then you didn’t cross-check what you were told, because looking like you’re dynamic is more important to you than actually paying attention.
The “lesson learned” here should have been, YOU need to pay more attention to what you’re doing.
OK, I ranted. But the principle is similar – changing policy in response to one-time events, especially said change is rushed out, is poor policy.