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Why all the pain? Is fluff really the cause?

publicado por Garrett O'Brien

Every project has its pain points – some more so than others, yet none are without pain… As pain is an emotional experience, let’s remove the systems and machines and look at just the human factor. For the scope of this articles we will look at pain as experienced from two human factors — knowledge and beliefs. From these two human factors, all other aspects of the project evolve. If you believe there are others, please respectfully share in the comments below – that is why we have comments, yes?

Many of us know that our skills only account for 30% of our actual work while human interaction fills the 70%. How accurate are these numbers? Not sure, but many professionals I know and many articles I have read mention they spend twice as much time in human interaction than they do in my actual work, so the 70-30 ration appears to be reasonable.

The first human factor – knowledge — comes in four forms…

  • Things that we know we know…
  • Things that we do know that we don’t know…
  • Things that we don’t know we know…
  • Things that we don’t know we don’t know….

If your head hurts right about now, I can empathize, mine did too the first time I heard this. Stay with me, I’m about to explain all this…

First, there are the things we know that we know – example, except for those that suffer from color blindness, we all know what the color red looks like… we know what milk tastes like, or a beer… you know the preference of your spouse’s coffee or how they like their meat cooked (ok, maybe some of you don’t).

Next, there are the things we know that we don’t know – you know a trillion dollars is a lot, but you don’t know what a trillion dollars looks like… You don’t know how long will it take one person to spend one trillion dollars if he or she spent one million dollars an hour (no cheating with a calculator, you know you don’t know)… You know you don’t know what it is like to spend a million dollars in one hour… And neither do I…. So, we know we don’t know…

OK, the third form of knowledge is the one that usually gives everyone a headache — there are things we don’t know that we know… what?? Allow me repeat it… There are things we DON’T know — that we DO know… OK, like? These would usually be things we forgot we already knew… something we learned a long time ago, but only now realizing we have learned this a long time ago… Or something we do out of tradition, and are reminded why we have this tradition… Have you ever been congratulated for a great job and you had no clue what they were talking about? That would be in this form of knowledge as well…

Finally, there is the fourth form of knowledge — the things you don’t know, that you don’t know… Everyone is usually fairly certain about this… This is where we usually discover something new about anything. The knowledge becomes evident after much research through our own efforts or after someone who has the knowledge shares their knowledge — and their experience — with us… Sometimes – correction, most of the times – there is a lot of pain involved with this form of knowledge, or lack of knowledge. What you don’t know that you don’t know is something many avoid; it is also something many explore, either out of curiosity or to gain knowledge of what is needed or required for something…

Now, lets focus on the second human factor — beliefs. First, am going to define beliefs as this:

  • Beliefs are the concepts and / or thoughts that have been repeatedly placed in front of us until we “buy-in” to the concept(s) or thought(s)
  • Along with repetition, belief is also a result of who we have chosen to listen to
  • Beliefs are the result of our experiences, our traditions, our habits. Anyone that has tried to kill a habit knows just how deep rooted a habit can be and how much resistance there is to change a habit – which leads why beliefs are usually very difficult to change until the person is ready to change that belief…

Truth will not facilitate a change in belief, otherwise we would change the moment we recognize what we believe is truth. What do we usually do instead? We question it, we test it, then perhaps we accept it – eventually…

If truth will not change a belief, what does? Usually, change starts with repetition – marketers are very keen to this concept, it is how they sell an inferior product or service over a superior product or service. This is also evident with peer pressure – your friends encouraging you to do something you don’t want to do, even if they are wrong about it. Eventually, this repetition will eventually create a persuasion. And once someone is persuaded, they have a choice – hold onto their current beliefs or form a new belief; they go through a decision process.

And how come not all good or great decisions are effective? Some decisions are “before their time” while other decisions have never made it beyond our craniums… Every decision has the right moment , the right season, for it to be introduced – just ask Galileo…

Any belief that is being challenged, or is going through a process of change, one element is constant – pain… not to mention your self-confidence if the belief being challenged is big. This challenge is compounded because you are in the fourth form of knowledge – you don’t know what you don’t know…

When our beliefs are being challenged and our lack of knowledge becomes evident simultaneously, we become vulnerable. Many will react very defensively by invalidating what is being presented. Others will be curious and question everything that is happening — either with confidence or in fear. There are a host of reactions when challenged beliefs and lack of knowledge coincide.

In the moment where the two coincide, this is where both leadership and innovation evolve. Not necessarily together, but one or the other, or both. This is also where the pain point for many is highest – especially when there are a FEW beliefs being challenged and there is a LOT of unknowns that need to be known.

This is the first of a series of articles that will be focusing on some concepts that many believe are not necessary – and what happens when belief refuses to change and the unknowns start building enough weight that a project takes too long to complete, and the budget increases dramatically. And how fluff can be the death of a project before it even starts…


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Garrett O'Brien é consultado por implementações SIRH pelas empresas e as empresas (Fortune 100, 500 e 1000) desde 1991. Seus clientes anteriores incluem Lubrizol, ADP, Case New Holland, a Cushman & Wakefield, MAHLE, Honeywell International, Sodexho, e muitos outros localizados em os EUA Garrett é • Editor e escritor de 4 blogs mundiais focada em SIRH e gerenciamento de projetos, que são lidos em 160+ países • Exec VP para EUA CGServices enfocando multi-fornecedor, o sistema de multi-linha para sistemas HRIS • membro do Conselho de Gerson Lehrman Group Conselho, o que ajuda a instituições dos líderes mundiais se reunirem, engajar e gerenciar os especialistas em uma ampla gama de setores e disciplinas. Garrett se concentra em SIRH global Garrett está trabalhando em alguns projetos em Brasil. Um deles é focando as melhorias necessárias na gestão de projetos, especialmente as fases mais iniciais. O outro projeto se concentra no uso de tecnologia dentro do sistema de ensino para melhorar a educação de tecnologia para estudantes e professores. Ambos os projetos serão locais no Brasil, mas será global em perspectiva. Atualmente, o Sr. O'Brien reside em o estado de São Paulo e funciona a partir de Home Office. Não hesite em contactar-lo diretamente no LinkedIn ( ou por e-mail ( twitter: @thehrisworld @hriscareerworld @thw_research @thwrn_news

Garrett O'Brien


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