Ignorance, Ineptitude and Incompetence

The paradox of errors is that in order to reduce them, we need to embrace the fact that they are inevitable.

Sometimes the most obvious flaws are the ones we are most prone to overlook or dismiss as "just one of those things". We want to be better and take pride in our work. So lets look at a framework for rationalising the reduction of errors by yourself and others. When we can clearly identify and classify a failing, we are immediately positioned to tackle it.

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3 simple ways to slay comprehension fatigue and learn more in less time


  1. Get a speed reader
  2. Watch videos on Youtube @2X speed
  3. Use Text to Speech to read articles to you

I love to learn - at my own pace. If I could I would read and watch the 1000s of articles that churn through my 160+ site RSS feed. There is a 1 to 2 hour window every day where I review everything interest worthy to me.

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It is how you respond that matters

Things happen - react well both in the moment and afterwards.

Give me a RED CROSS!

Amazon AWS experienced a service disruption to CloudFront.
Things break, it happens. Given the size and prevalence of AWS the whole internet knows it.

Nothing can go wrong quietly in a corner for them.

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To understand is to perceive patterns

Helping staff to see them

20 Hours to learn, 10,000 Hours to master. Is competence somewhere in the middle? This level of understanding comes from seeing the pattern.

Josh Kaufman purports that it takes just 20 hours to establish a base level in a new skill. Malcolm Gladwell popularised the notion that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at it. A premise debated by David Epstein. On either side of the nature vs nurture debate I don’t think there is any denying that practicing helps more than it hinders.

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If it looks straight then it is straight

We put up a new wall in a very old house without a level or a tape measure, and it looks great!

When you can’t “measure twice and cut once”, don’t measure at all, cut in small increments and affix with screws.

Best practices and standards exist because they are best practices and standards. They provide the results written on the tin, not necessarily the results you want. If you don’t take stock of the world around your tasks then doing the right things can lead you to the wrong outcomes.

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Minimum amount of complexity

If you make something easier for your business, you probably just made it harder for your customers. Simplified it for your customers? That burden no doubt moved to your business.

In any process or system there is a minimum amount of complexity that can bare no further compression. This level of complexity acts like a waterbed that bulges up in one area when attempts are made to push down on another.

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If it aint broke dont f..ool yourself

Could something be clogged up that looks all good on the surface? A process? A procedure? A system?

Taking a hacksaw to a steel pipe led to an unexpected benefit. Fixing up an old property triggered the realisation that making things better is often obscured by ignorance. The lack of knowledge, time, money or energy makes the phrase “If it aint broke don’t fix it” feel really natural and right. But that is not always the best advice.

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Never enough time

EXCUSE: “I never have enough time to do that stuff!”

REALITY: “It’s not really a priority”

Maybe you didn’t have time the first day you tried to get something done – but every day? Come on.

You had enough time today to do everything that you prioritised. You prioritise continuously, just not always the way you intend. The problem isn’t time. It is that there are conscious and unconscious influencers on what you really want to do.

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Hit by a bus

The best time to document that process was yesterday – the second best time is NOW.

Every business has one – “the guy” – the one who knows how to do it. What happens if he is hit by a bus? Or when he decides this job isn’t for him any more? Sure, businesses may not fall over without this person – but there is avoidable pain.

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All words and no action

Say what you do? Do what you say? Do your actions line up with your words?

It pays to be wary of getting caught in the trap of perpetual planning and no actual doing.

A brutal truth is that the only alternative to a successful outcome is an unsuccessful one. No matter how much you thought about it or what you intended it is only what you ended up doing that really counts.

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Efficiency vs Effectiveness

You can do things really efficiently, but if it doesn’t create an effective result what was the point ? Results are what matter most.


Are you doing what matters? Got the right results? Awesome! Now what can you do to achieve them more effectively? All over it. What is left to tweak? Now it is time to think about getting more efficient.

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Accountability vs Micromanagement

There is a big difference between asking what people have worked on and telling them how to do every step along the way.

Seeking accountability can very easily be mistaken for micromanagement (and usually by people who need it most). It is the leaderships role to ensure that a company’s most valuable and most expensive resources are focused and aligned to the goals of the business. It is impossible for people to know they are working on the right thing if they never ask. They will never be working on the right things if you never ask them.

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