Zombies, Israel, and the Tenth Man!

August 22nd, 2013

When is proving yourself wrong a good thing?

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished someone would have been around to prove me wrong just before I made one of many colossal mistakes I have to my credit… Some mistakes aren’t just about getting it wrong, but are paid for by what we COULD have gained and instead missed out on.

My wife asked me to go see Brad Pitt stave off a zombocolypse in “World War Z”, and while I didn’t have great things to say about the movie, one concept it played off of piqued my interest. In the Film, the Israeli leaders subscribed to a formalized mechanism for being prepared for what they might overlook. The notion of “The Tenth Man” is that in a 10 man quorum, there should never be more than a consensus of 9 because 1 man should always be considering the alternative, no matter how improbable, because the Israelis knew that humans are biased toward predicting what’s most ”normal”.

We human beings are fantastic organizers. We can recognize patterns better than any other organism on the planet. The only problem with this is that we have a natural bias toward looking for a CONTINUATION of patterns. This can cause us to miss out on opportunities that don’t fall in line with what we expect to see, or continue practices that are no longer optimal because of the history we have using them. This is why we need mechanism in place within our organizations to play devil’s advocate, to prove ourselves wrong when we’re making assumptions that are bottlenecking our opportunities.

When we first talk to businesses, they are often under the assumption that the suppliers they are working with are their only option, or that they have no leverage to work with to avoid rate increases or to increase intangible value. We work to challenge those assumptions by exploring a wide variety of options, and searching through our extensive database of suppliers. Ask one of our representatives about how we do the legwork to identify the assumptions that are preventing you from taking advantage of your opportunities. Let SafeSourcing be your Tenth Man.

We look forward to your comments.

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