Performance Perspectives Blog

Sensitized to the lowest common denominator

by | Sep 14, 2010

Earlier this year I attended a football (soccer, for you Americans) game at Wembley Stadium in London. During half time my host informed me that we weren’t permitted to take our beers into the “pitch” (to our seats, in essence) because of prior problems with rowdy fans. In other words, all fans suffered because of the actions of a few bad folks.

This reminded me of an incident that occurred while I was in the Field Artillery more than 30 years ago: we had been out on a training mission and were wrapping up, after what had been an excellent day. Everyone was upbeat and excited to be heading back. It was determined that some powder bags were missing. The XO (Executive Officer) decided to line everyone up at attention until either the guilty party, or someone who knew who the guilty party was, stepped forward and admitted his guilt. I was merely the AXO (Assistant Executive Officer) and although I disagreed with this action, could only offer my thoughts and nothing more. After about an hour of this silliness, the decision was made to head back, even though (as I recall) we didn’t know who had committed this violation. What I do recall was that morale sank as a result: again, the majority who were innocent suffered because of the actions of a few.

Sometimes standards are developed with great sensitivity to the worst of our lot rather than the average or above average individual or firm. This is unfortunate. When inconvenience and added costs are piled on because we have to be concerned with those who don’t abide by the rules or who attempt to take advantage of others. What a pity. [Please don’t construe this post as a criticism of GIPS(R) or any other standard; it is simply a broad statement].

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