Monday, July 30, 2012
It seems that there aren’t too many actions we take in life that don’t have unintended consequences. I suppose it can be compared to knocking over curving lines of dominos as one falls over the next in rapid succession, but there is no intent or plan to do so. It’s just that there always seems to be some sort of reaction to a decision that was completely unexpected at the time. Perhaps that’s because everything is so interconnected that any disruption in the network we inhabit triggers other events that couldn’t be anticipated at the outset.
One o f the “lessons learned” during my project management days was to always brainstorm possible outcomes and unintended consequences prior to installing new systems. Then we could possibly install measures to avoid them or document our reaction if they did occur. And it was always a good idea to have an exit strategy or “back door” in case everything went wrong and we had to bail out.
History is replete with examples of major unintended consequences. For instance, I’m pretty certain the British legislators had no idea regarding the unintended consequences of passing a tax on the young American colonies for the tea they were importing. They were seemingly far too removed from the high level of discontent that was brewing in the new world at the time. Subsequently, the Americans revolted, the French later joined the cause, the new colony was lost and the rebel progeny would far outpace the British medal count when they hosted the 2012 summer Olympic Games in their capital of London!