Re: Anonymity in Meetings LO2798

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 21:09:45 +0059 (EDT)

Replying to LO2785 --

On Wed, 13 Sep 1995 wrote:

> Since I clearly don't know the CEO in question, I won't even try to
> argue with your judgment.
> I was trying to make a more general point: some people like their
> ideas to be blended into those of a group and are motivated by that
> feeling of "teamness." Others, however, may be more motivated by
> being explicitly identified with their ideas and be willing to risk
> the failure of the idea as long as they also reap rewards if the idea
> turns out well.

Sure. Of course. On reflection, it occurs to me that our little exchange
make an almost textbook case of one kind of missed communication. It's
something that happens _very_ frequently.

Schematically, it goes like this:

[1] A recites a personal anecdote S in support of a general principle P.
[2] B suggests an alternative interpretation of S which, as a side effect,
contradicts P.
[3] A rejects B's suggestion.

Why? Well, in this schematic form, we'd have to say we don't know. In
the actual instance we're considering (in which I played the role of "A"
and you played "B"), it was simply that the proffered alternate inter-
pretation didn't fit the facts. But in other actual instances it might
have been - say - that A simply cannot tolerate any interpretation of his
story S that calls P into question. (This is _really_ very common. It's
the stuff of which talk radio is made.)

Fortunately, that turns out not to be the case here. Your point is well
taken: there are many situations in which one would welcome being
identified with the suggested idea.


Now actually, rereading your message once again, I find I could clarify
even a bit more. The contexts I was referring to are those where it's
necessary to examine and decide upon just ONE out of a number of mutually
incompatible courses of action. I felt strongly at the time, and still
do, that in such situations what's needed is a) to define the choices as
clearly as possible, so that we can b) examine thoroughly the expected
consequences of each course. In such deliberations, associating each
course of action with an individual participant amounts to staging a
gladiatorial combat instead of a reasoned discussion.

     Jim Michmerhuizen
     web residence at
. . . . . . . . . .   Actions speak louder than words   . . . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . . . .        but not as clearly         . . . . . . . . . .