Organizational Aerodynamics – Chapter Three – Uncommon Sense for Organizations

Organizational Aerodynamics

(Copyright 2000, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Chapter Three – Uncommon Sense for Organizations

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Welcome to our third block of instruction – The art of common sense thinking to take your life, organization or business beyond expectations!  Perhaps you’re thinking that, “If common sense is so, well, commonplace – how can it be of any advantage to my world if everyone has it?  Using common sense to improve the world around us appears to be a paradoxical approach, in that, how can something so commonplace be of any help to me in taking my life, organization or business to the next level?  After all, common sense is like air, isn’t it?  We’re surrounded by it!”

While a pilot or aircrew member may be said to have good air sense when flying, the true paradox of common sense thinking isn’t that it’s so commonplace, but that it’s so uncommonly applied to people’s lives, organizations and businesses.  The world around us is full of examples where common sense was never used or considered in any way, shape or form by people, organizations and businesses – and their actions as a result of not using common sense undermined everything they were trying to accomplish or attempting to be successful at.  The fastest way to ensure your world will never have a chance to meet or exceed expectations is to undermine all you’ve accomplished by not applying common sense to current decision making.

So, if society is full of examples where simple common sense wasn’t being applied, then what was being used in place of common sense that failed?  What failed was almost everything under the sun that was substituting for common sense: pride, emotion, lust, jealousy, anger, hatred, stupidity, arrogance, egotism, narcissism, criminal activity, not paying attention, tuning out, lack of focus, distraction, sloth, laziness, breaking the rules, bullying, a sense of invincibility, showing off, lack of discipline, not caring, recklessness, being under the influence, juvenile behavior, nastiness, lack of responsibility, revenge, vanity, money, greed, etc.

The fact that common sense is so rarely applied is why this block of instruction is titled Uncommon Sense for Organizations, because common sense is commonly found to be uncommon.  Or, to state it another way, the first rule of common sense is that uncommon sense is the thoughtful approach of applying common sense and good judgment to the decisions we make in our everyday lives.  The second rule of common sense then is that any action that undermines common sense is probably detrimental to the health, wellbeing, safety, security, happiness and future success of our lives, organizations and businesses.

1.  Uncommon sense is the thoughtful approach of applying common sense and good judgment to the decisions we make in our everyday lives.

2.  Any action that undermines common sense is probably detrimental to the health, wellbeing, safety, security, happiness and future success of our lives, organizations and businesses.

The third rule of common sense is that if we want our lives, organizations and businesses to keep moving forward in a positive and productive way – we want to prevent them from going backwards – which is what happens when common sense isn’t applied.  “So what makes common sense so special?  After all, it isn’t rocket science.” The special nature of common sense is derived from the very essence of experience, in that experience is often our very best teacher. Experience acts as a guidebook, providing probabilities of success for future actions based on the time tested and proven results of past actions.  Experience teaches us to avoid repeating past mistakes when making future decisions.  Experience is the distilled consensus of what works and what doesn’t work.  That doesn’t mean future outcomes will always repeat past actions, but that future outcomes somehow require a different combination of actions to be successful. The fourth rule of common sense is that common sense is by definition a saying, truism or idiom that captures the distilled essence and consensus of experience into useful phrases that guide us in making sound decisions in our everyday lives.

3.  If we want our lives, organizations and businesses to keep moving forward in a positive and productive way – we want to prevent them from going backwards – which is what happens when common sense isn’t applied.

4.  Common sense is by definition a saying, truism or idiom that captures the distilled essence and consensus of experience into useful phrases that guide us in making sound decisions in our everyday lives. 

We say a decision makes good sense or that it makes better sense when there is general agreement that certain actions will produce better outcomes than an alternative choice.  It doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome, but it is a way of describing or predicting what the outcome will probably be.  There’s no way to predict the future, but if our actions make perfectly good sense, then the odds are in our favor of a successful outcome.  For example, many people don’t have a good sense of direction, so they need to apply caution when driving unfamiliar routes, following GPS instructions or trying to find their car in a crowded parking lot.  The fifth rule of common sense is that when we apply good sense decision making on a regular basis to our lives, organizations and businesses, it becomes second nature to our thinking and to the way we live our lives – and our world keeps moving forward.

5.  When we apply good sense decision making on a regular basis to our lives, organizations and businesses, it becomes second nature to our thinking and to the way we live our lives – and our world keeps moving forward.

The term moving forward isn’t a specific goal in-and-of-itself per se, as sometimes moving forward doesn’t make sense – like when we’re looking over the edge of a cliff.  In fact, most would say that looking over the edge of a cliff makes no sense at all without some kind of precaution – like a railing.    Moving forward is simply a description of using good judgment and making sound decisions to help ensure we achieve our short and long term goals of health, wellbeing, safety, security, happiness and future success.  The sixth rule of common sense is that actions undermining or negating our short and long term goals make no sense at all.

6.  Actions undermining or negating our short and long term goals make no sense at all.

We can all remember specific times in our lives that we’ve done something that didn’t make any sense at all and we wish we could have used better sense or better judgment.  We ask ourselves afterwards incredulously, “What was I thinking?”  While these instances can have negative outcomes for our lives, sometimes we avoid poor outcomes by sheer dumb luck.  These outcomes – the good, the lucky, the bad and the ugly – are all part of the curriculum of the School of Hard Knocks, which teaches us to apply common sense through the psychology of behavior modification.  The seventh rule of common sense is that negative outcomes can eventually lead to better decision making if second chances are introduced into the equation.  If not, the episode can lead to a Darwin Awards nomination.  This is an example of using a sense of humor to deal with negative outcomes, which could have been avoided altogether if the individuals had earlier come to their senses.

7.  Negative outcomes can eventually lead to better decision making if second chances are introduced into the equation.

The eighth rule of common sense is to apply good business sense when making economic and marketing decisions in our lives, organizations and businesses.  Sound economic policy and decision making will avoid many of the pitfalls that prevent us from achieving our short and long term objectives.  In addition, each one of us is our own unique brand in this interconnected world we live in today, so making better financial and marketing decisions helps provide us with better opportunities.  Poor choices can lead to a false sense of security when we don’t see an immediate negative effect, but it just makes more sense to have sense enough to make good initial choices. Poor decision making can have a boomerang effect that comes back to us at the most inopportune time – with a negative consequence lasting well into the future.

8.  Apply good business sense when making economic and marketing decisions in our lives, organizations and businesses.

Another paradox and the ninth rule of common sense is that higher levels of educational achievement don’t always translate to our having gained more sense.  Higher education is often taught in an esoteric manner in an ivory tower with no direct application to everyday experience – and as a result, all the book-knowledge in the world doesn’t apply to many of life’s situations.  Street sense and horse sense are often more valuable skills to have in making sense out of many of life’s situations.  Street sense, like street smarts, and horse sense are direct applications of first-hand experience.  The historical term of horse sense probably relates more to our using good, sound judgement and treatment in caring for and owning horses than in the behavior of the horses themselves.  However, horses instinctively avoid doing anything that may prove to undermine their safety and security.  The tenth rule of common sense then is that the School of Hard Knocks employs life’s best teachers and when we’ve experienced and survived one of its lessons, we tend to never forget it.

9.  Higher levels of educational achievement don’t always translate to our having gained more sense.

10.  The School of Hard Knocks employs life’s best teachers and when we’ve experienced and survived one of its lessons, we tend to never forget it.

When we find that our lives have hit a roadblock, come to a standstill, become derailed or gotten off on the wrong track – we come face to face with the eleventh rule of common sense, which is to know when it’s time to smell the coffee and come to our senses about the choices and decisions we’re making.  When it’s raining you’d think we have sense enough to get out of the rain, but often poor choices only lead to more poor choices.  That’s when people need others to lead them to better decision making.  You might think that everyone has a sixth sense about making good decisions, but experience tells us that just isn’t the case.  So, the twelfth rule of common sense is that when we’re stuck in a rut of poor decision making, we need to seek help and guidance from someone who can help us pick up the pieces and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

11.  Know when it’s time to smell the coffee and come to our senses about the choices and decisions we’re making.

12.  When we’re stuck in a rut of poor decision making, we need to seek help and guidance from someone who can help us pick up the pieces and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

So the next time you find yourself making poor decisions, find someone who can talk some sense into you and improve your future chances of achieving your short and long term goals of health, wellbeing, safety, security, happiness and future success.  An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure when considering the potentially negative consequences of our decisions when we fail to use good, old-fashioned common sense.  After all, the thirteenth rule of common sense is that if any advice is of any value at all, it will have proven itself over time – time, time and again.

13.  If any advice is of any value at all, it will have proven itself over time – time, time and again.

This leads us to our fourteenth rule of common sense, which is that common sense is just good, plain old-fashioned values that have stood the test of time…it makes sense to me!  Last, but not least, our fifteenth rule of common sense is to ask yourself before making any decision if what you’re about to do passes the common sense test, if not – just don’t do it!

14.  Common sense is just good, plain old-fashioned values that have stood the test of time.

15.  Ask yourself before making any decision if what you’re about to do passes the common sense test, if not – just don’t do it!

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The 15 Rules of Common Sense

1.  Uncommon sense is the thoughtful approach of applying common sense and good judgment to the decisions we make in our everyday lives.

2.  Any action that undermines common sense is probably detrimental to the health, wellbeing, safety, security, happiness and future success of our lives, organizations and businesses.

3.  If we want our lives, organizations and businesses to keep moving forward in a positive and productive way – we want to prevent them from going backwards – which is what happens when common sense isn’t applied.

4.  Common sense is by definition a saying, truism or idiom that captures the distilled essence and consensus of experience into useful phrases that guide us in making sound decisions in our everyday lives.

5.  When we apply good sense decision making on a regular basis to our lives, organizations and businesses, it becomes second nature to our thinking and to the way we live our lives – and our world keeps moving forward.

6.  Actions undermining or negating our short and long term goals make no sense at all.

7.  Negative outcomes can eventually lead to better decision making if second chances are introduced into the equation.

8.  Apply good business sense when making economic and marketing decisions in our lives, organizations and businesses.

9.  Higher levels of educational achievement don’t always translate to our having gained more sense.

10.  The School of Hard Knocks employs life’s best teachers and when we’ve experienced and survived one of its lessons, we tend to never forget it.

11.  Know when it’s time to smell the coffee and come to our senses about the choices and decisions we’re making.

12.  When we’re stuck in a rut of poor decision making, we need to seek help and guidance from someone who can help us pick up the pieces and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

13.  If any advice is of any value at all, it will have proven itself over time – time, time and again.

14.  Common sense is just good, plain old-fashioned values that have stood the test of time.

15.  Ask yourself before making any decision if what you’re about to do passes the common sense test, if not – just don’t do it!

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