Simon Terry

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False prophets

When a prophet promises simple solutions, be curious because partial solutions will increase, not decrease, complexity and second order effects are all too common in complex systems.

When a prophet promises a complex solution, be aware that the value is in the outcomes not the effort to get there.

When a prophet tells you what’s good for you, be suspicious as to what’s good for them.

When a prophet tells you what’s good for others, be generous and give the others the chance to speak for themselves.

When a prophet promises it has been done before, be sceptical because context always changes and small differences change outcomes.

When a prophet tells you it can’t be done, be inspired to prove them wrong.

When a prophet promises to end debate, be inquisitive because it is often unclear whether the problem is talking or listening.

When a prophet promises that the fault lies elsewhere, be vigilant that the fault doesn’t lie here.

When a prophet promises to restore order, be concerned because it will take force to deliver order in the face of ever-adapting change.

When a prophet promises to conserve the past, be doubtful because it takes energy to fight entropy and change is required.

When a prophet promises a better future, be pragmatic and focus on the work to be done.

When a prophet promises change in human behaviour, be considerate of whether it is likely behaviour of real humans.

When a prophet promises a small loss of freedom for a large benefit, be sure that the benefit will be at best small and the lost freedom ever-growing.

When a prophet promises to exclude others from community, be confident that they prefer exclusion to community.

When a prophet promises benefit without efforts, be conscious they are offering to take benefits without outcomes.

When a prophet offers something that is too good to be true, be aware that it is.


1 Comment

  1. Richard Seiler says:

    Human nature is to vie for power, it is also often corrupts leaders to get someone else to do the work (pay the costs, assume the risk, etc.) and causes them to lie to achieve these ends. Power, Corruption & Lies, interesting species, aren’t we?

    I find that true leadership is based on systems that encourage full participation by ensuring that all peer pressure dynamics are positive. That the many-to-one social interactions always support the inclusion and growth of every individual in an organization, so if a leader is not prophetizing a path that includes this aim they are likely on a corrupt path.

    It is when every individual grows and feels compelled to give back to the organization that leadership holds its true vitality and prosperity is achieved for all.

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