Assumption is the mother of chaos

I was reminded last night that sometimes what you get depends entirely upon your perspective. I was at a “gig” (I loathe the word) for one of my favoured bands – Athlete. A nice bunch of guys from London who had a few big hits and keep at their music. I was treated to tickets to hear them in Wimbledon, which was a bit confusing because Wimbledon is not known for its music venues in London, so assumptions were made, that suggested a small intimate event.. perhaps for up to 100 people. Not beyond the realm of reason as this happens quite regularly. However this assumption was somewhat off the mark. One presumably made by the venue manger and tour manager as well.

Wrong time and place

Sadly expectations were not met, though I dare say that the first 50 people to arrive had a great time. Unfortunately, as nice as the venue was, it was not suitable for the event and the 500+ people that showed up. It would have been pretty good for 50. This wasn’t Athlete’s fault and I have to admit that I felt rather sorry for them as many people got fed up and left or expressed their frustration at them rather than the venue. The venue was/is tiny, there wasn’t enough room for everyone. The shape of the venue made it impossible even for someone of my height (6’2″) to see them or hear anything other than the bass – no I couldn’t even hear the apologies for the recognised mis-selected venue. Disappointment all round, hopefully something good may still come from this.

We all make mistakes, but do we learn from them?

I’m reminded though that there is a time and place for everything. How many people in a venue, how many clients can be served, cared for and looked after. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew and sometimes the environment means we should pack up and reschedule. Knowing when to quit is as important as knowing when you aren’t up to the task. This is an experience that the BBC are facing today as well. Enormous organisations are hard to manage, but then – so are smaller ones. Similarly with our own money, we make choices, people tend to spend what they have rather than managing it properly or planning spending. We are all faced with management tasks, some we get right, others we get wrong. Sometimes we need to take note and change behaviours. This means learning from mistakes and forming new (better) habits. This is not a luxury, we all make mistakes and all need to be afforded the opportunity to learn from them and correct them where we can. Someone that is a fan – or on your side, will give you a second chance, perhaps a third and fourth (maybe more) but barring all but the most patient of people there is a limit to our “forgiveness” if actions to remedy and resolution are not taken. The Banks still seem unable to learn this basic lesson. It seems certain politicians have the same problem. As for small firms like mine or a great band like Athlete, well we simply have to learn, try harder and make sure that we don’t over promise and under-deliver… much like my new i-phone that is still unusable. The question is, is the mistake an out of character rare event (a black swan) or it is merely representative of a wider problem?