Thought for the month

“You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young." "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen.” From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Author (1952-2001)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Drunk and sober decision-making

In these times of limited financial resources how should organisations and governments make decisions? What is a fair and correct process to decide that Project A should get funded but not Project B? Perhaps we can learn from earlier times? A passage from ‘A History of the World’ recently caught my eye. The Greek historian Herodotus traveled widely and was fascinated by the culture, administrative prowess and good governance of the Persians. Herodotus noted that if any important decision is to be made, they discussed the question when drunk and the following day any decisions are reconsidered when they are sober. If they still approve it, it is adopted, if not, it is abandoned. Conversely, any decision they make when they are sober, is reconsidered afterwards when they are drunk.

Please inform me if I am mistaken and this decision making process has remained in use in your locality.

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