Originally, I wanted to title this post “Stupid Doesn’t Win”, except that sometimes it really, really, really does. It wins far more than it ever should, and as my updated title says, it should simply never, ever win. Not even once. Not at all.
There seems to be an issue with defeating stupidity – to not allow it to exist in even the smallest of quantities. People are always eager to point out that stupidity and ignorance are “found everywhere” and cite it as “inescapable”, which is apparently reason enough for them to not try and fight against it. If anything has to stop, that sort of thinking should be top of the list. Allowing even an iota of unintelligent thought to cloud the judgment of any decision is almost worse than even allowing its voice to be heard in the first place.
Think about it: If I want something to work properly, especially something that involves a team, I am going to train the heck out of everything and everyone until the only way a mistake should likely happen is by sheer bad luck or at least something that is completely out of the control of me or my team. If someone on the team is not able to understand exactly what is going on, why they have to do what is being asked of them, and how their completion of the task helps out not only everyone else on the team but maybe even the rest of the company – then they should not be in that spot. Fire them, replace them, relocate them – whatever needs to be done to make sure that they are not the thing that causes failure. Granted, I hate failure that is not in my control, but when it is in my control it is a billion times worse. If I am just a cog in a corporate machine, and the gear I crank helps crank fifteen other gears that eventually helps get something important done, then I am just going to crank until I can’t crank anymore. If I am not sure if I am cranking it correctly, then I will figure out if I am doing it wrong and change my work if I am. If I think I have found a better way to crank it, then I damn sure do not want to hear my superiors tell me that doing it a better way would be bad because the other people around me cranking the same gear would not be able to crank it the better way because they are stupid.
You never hear machines complain that what they have to do is too hard, or if you reprogram to do their job differently they don’t suddenly give up because they don’t understand what it is you are telling them. They just do it, that is unless the program has tons of bugs in it or the machine isn’t capable of actually replicating the needs of the new program. If either of those things happen, you either rewrite the program to suit the machine or you replace the machine – usually without a second thought. Human workers are obviously not machines, but the same rules should nevertheless apply. If you tell them to do something, and they can’t, either figure out a better way to teach them (rewrite the program) or find someone new to take over (replace the machine). It is hard to accept that, as far as business is concerned, we are just little machines that combine to help power a big machine to success. Stupidity only exists in machines because the people that built them screwed up, that doesn’t mean the designers and engineers just leave it there because, hey, it is inescapable and everywhere. No, they fix it, because stupidity should never, ever win.
Stop letting it.