Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Accepting Stupid

I'm going to speak to a MIS class tomorrow about Project Management. I've been thinking about some of the various pearls of wisdom I can drop on them along with some witty real world experiences. Not a lot comes to mind.

However, one lesson I thought of is learning to accept stupid. I struggle with this a lot, but it's something everyone working in the corporate world will need to come to realize and ultimately come to accept. By accepting stupid, we can deal with stupid with much less stress and irritation. As we rebel against stupid and try to make stupid smart, we only fight the good fight that cannot be won.

Stupid is stupid. It won't change. No matter how much evidence, reason, yelling or process you throw at it, stupid will always be stupid.

What am I talking about? As a project manager you have to deal with all types of personalities and scenarios. At some point during the project something stupid is going to come up. You'll realize it's stupid and object, but stupid will persist. For whatever reason, (and there are an infinite amount of reasons) someone will insist that stupid stay and you'll be stuck with it. It won't matter how right you are or how much better a different way might be, stupid will not leave.

I traditionally fight against stupid and try to move as much stupid out of my process/meetings/life as possible. To me stupid represents inefficiency which ultimately represents waste. I hate waste. Yet, no matter how hard I've tried in the past, I have not been successful in fully removing stupid from any project.

What my experience (aka old age) has taught me is that stupid is unavoidable and fighting stupid only creates more stupid. It also puts yourself at risk of becoming stupid. Instead of fighting stupid, object once and move on. Accept it as a cost of the project and go get a beer and complain with your friends about how stupid, stupid really is.

1 comment:

stayc givhan said...

i have long believed that it is better to have stupid people (who tend to generate stupid ideas that get greenlit but other stupid people higher in the food chain) should have to identify themselves or wear a special armband...

on my job applications i have a question "after the age of 5 has anything ever been stuck in your nose that you had to have another person help get out e.g. a crayon... if yes, elaborate.
i don't prejudice the hiring process based on the answer, but i does help me decide the amount of responsibility a yes answer will be allowed to have.
in any business i am involved in there is a place for stupid people and stupid tasks for them to do to allow others to more efficiently use time.