Posted by: Kristen Ridley | October 25, 2010

Faulty Logic = Bad Conclusions

I get a lot of “joke” emails. You probably do too, and if you’re like me, most of them you skim and immediately delete.

Sometime back, I got one that listed: “a few examples of bad reasoning causing bad conclusions. Though humourous, the principles are based in truth.”

I read through it, and it was amusing. Then just as I was about to delete it, suddenly it occurred to me: “Hey, there’s a communications version of most of these!” So, I entertained myself by actually adding in the “Communication” example to each of the existing items.

Perhaps some of these will resonate with your experience too, so I’m sharing them. The “conclusion” and the “example” were in the original email (there was no source or I would credit it). The “Communication Examples” are my editorial comment additions.

IGNORING THE ADVICE OF EXPERTS WITHOUT GOOD REASON:
Example: Sure, the experts say you shouldn’t ride a bicycle in the eye of a hurricane, but I have my own theory.
Communication Example: Sure, the Communicator says the employees don’t believe most of the “official company line” messages executives put out, but that’s probably just a knee-jerk over-reaction.

FOLLOWING THE ADVICE OF KNOWN IDIOTS:
Example: Uncle Doody says eating pork makes you smarter. That’s good enough for me!
Communication Example: That whole “tell them what they want to hear” communication approach worked wonders at Enron, so I think we should implement it here too.

REACHING BIZARRE CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT ANY INFORMATION:
Example: My car won’t start. I’m certain the spark plugs have been stolen by rogue clowns.
Communication Example: We can’t seem to recruit enough talented employees to come and work at our company. All the good employees must have moved to Europe.

FAULTY PATTERN RECOGNITION:
Example: His last six wives were murdered mysteriously. I hope to be wife number seven.
Communication Example: We are losing good employees faster than we can hire new ones, the employees we do have are completely apathetic, and our stock price is in the toilet. Hey! We should do more “press” releases!

FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE WHAT’S IMPORTANT:
Example: My house is on fire! Quick, call the post office and tell them to hold my mail!
Communication Example: One of the executives financed his mistress’s plastic surgery with company money, and somebody leaked it to the press who are swarming company headquarters as we speak! Say, speaking of executives, when is this year’s executive retreat happening? It’s Paris this year, isn’t it?

BLINDING FLASHES OF THE OBVIOUS:
Example: If everyone had more money, we could eliminate poverty.
Communication Example: If management consistently treated employees like intelligent adult professionals, sharing information and trusting them to use it effectively, they would probably be motivated to actively contribute to meeting the objectives of the business.

BLAMING THE TOOL:
Example: I bought an encyclopedia, but I’m still stupid.
Communication Example: Employees do not read the information posted on our intranet, so we should do away with any and all electronic devices, including computers, telephones and photocopiers as a cost saving measure.

TAKING THINGS TO THEIR ILLOGICAL CONCLUSION:
Example: If you let your barber cut your hair, the next thing you know he’ll be lopping your limbs off.
Communication Example: If we actually TELL employees anything honest and concrete about our business, they will immediately swarm through the head office stealing the fixtures and murdering management.

JUDGING THE WHOLE BY ONE OF ITS CHARACTERISTICS:
Example: The sun causes sunburn. Therefore, the planet would be better off without the sun.
Communication Example: There are some employees who don’t care about the business or contributing to its success, so we should therefore not tell ANY of the employees anything about any aspect of our business or its objectives ever again.

INABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THAT SOME THINGS HAVE MULTIPLE CAUSES:
Example: The Beatles were popular for one reason only: They were good singers.
Communication Example: This year’s employee survey results were absolutely terrible. It must be because we raised the price of coffee in the cafeteria by that extra quarter.

Hopefully, you’ll forgive me for engaging in some over-the-top hyperbole with this post, but, well, it’s Monday, and I’m almost always looking for something to make me laugh on Mondays! I hope at least one of these made you laugh too. Let me know.

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Responses

  1. Okay, I know I’m spamming your site with comments now that I’ve found it, but I’m thoroughly enjoying reading it and can’t hold back.

    I especially love:

    TAKING THINGS TO THEIR ILLOGICAL CONCLUSION:
    Example: If you let your barber cut your hair, the next thing you know he’ll be lopping your limbs off.
    Communication Example: If we actually TELL employees anything honest and concrete about our business, they will immediately swarm through the head office stealing the fixtures and murdering management.

    ************************

    In the words of the great Homer (no not that Homer, the other one): “It’s funny because it’s true.”

  2. Gretchen: Are you kidding me?! Every blogger in the world PRAYS for people to comment on their posts!! And yours are so nice! You post as many comments as you want anytime!!

    Thanks for reading!!


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