Saturday, December 03, 2016

Knowing What You Don't Know; a Corollary

I may have blogged in the distant past about a time I discovered the importance of knowing what you don't know.  Briefly, I took a call from the Arkansas program specialist.  I hadn't been in my position too long, the specialist pressed for an answer on an issue, while clearly indicating which way he thought the answer should go.  I don't like conflict (might be an understatement) so I went along with him.

Some months later OIG filed a report challenging the rule the Arkansas office had applied, reporting that they had had approval from Washington for this dubious action.  Big embarrassment when I had to admit to my boss, a very nice guy, I was the one who had screwed up.  After that learning experience I tried to remember the lesson and to teach it to my employees when I moved back into management.

Long story short:  Evan Osnos, a very good writer in the New Yorker, has this paragraph on Trump's phone call with the president of Taiwan:

"For a piece I published in September, about what Trump’s first term could look like, I spoke to a former Republican White House official whom Trump has consulted, who told me, “Honestly, the problem with Donald is he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.” It turns out that is half of the problem; the other half is that he has surrounded himself with people who know how much he doesn’t know."

[The ability to spell diminishes with age, at least in my case.  Misspelled "correllary"]

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