Good Practice Case Studies, You’re Doing It Wrong

This bit comes after the lovely blog from @whatsthepont …

Okey dokey, I’m assuming the mention is a taunt? Well first of all, I can’t believe you’ve resisted the temptation to use a @snowded juxta-lexicography-posing favourite, namely ‘retrosepctive coherence’.

Case studies have this phenomenon built in by definition. You see, what normally happens is someone who does stuff for a living, ends up doing something lush. Then a leadershipper sees it, usually amidst some random flesh-pressing and says “ooh that’s … nice, have you written it up?”

The newly appointed Casestudier panics! Shortly afterwards, they sit there, trying desperately to remember how they got involved in the first place and realise it’s all a bit vague. So they work their way back through what happened. The experienced Casestudier will revert to sticky notes at this point – they can be rearranged to suit the story tellers art.

Then, while they are reminiscing (through a whole world of cognitive biases) it turns out that amongst all this loveliness something marvellous starts to reveal itself – I call it the Mystical Acronomicon. That moment of lucidity, of rational splendour when a logical process rises like a pheonix from the ashes of your memory into an almost-perfectly formed acronym.

So the Casestudier, then sets to type up their Mystical Acronomicon as if it were the rational 3, 5, 7, 9, 12 step wand wave of inevitable success. At this point they often play with the acronym to pick trendier words and elevate the process by drawing a shape, putting the words in boxes in the shape, connecting the boxes with lines and raising the Mystical Acronomicon to the immortal rank of ‘model’.

Then in swishy presentations they explain how their success was formed in the womb of the Mystical Acronomicon. What we really know, is that it didn’t work that way. There were cock-ups, 2SF1SB’s, nice plans, frustrations, arseholes, inspirations and moments of delight wrapped up in seredipity. The decisions they made at the time, were not made using the Mystical Acronomicon, because it didn’t exist.

In the real world we have evolved to be much better at avoiding someone else’s failure, than mimicking their success. Go forth and fail and at the very least, let your life become a lesson for others!

What's the PONT

IMG_4391Good practice case studies are like Hollywood movie trailers…… they only show you the best bits of what happened (with some exceptions).

Sorry if that’s upset anyone, I am trying to be helpful.

There is a great deal that can be learnt from the things that ‘didn’t quite go to plan’ (failure in many cases). However, in most examples you don’t generally get to find out about these golden nuggets of learning.

That’s a Bleak View of the World.  Well, I do go to a lot of conferences and seminars, where I listen to lots of people presenting their good practice case studies. I also read lots of case studies on a variety of topics (for good reasons, it’s not an obsession or anything).

The one thing that strikes me about ‘Good Practice Case Study Land’ is that,……Nothing Every Goes Wrong!

OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but things…

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