100 Ways to Succeed #112:

Ombudsman for Common Sense

As suggested above, a lot of the giant financial-economic mess we’re in is courtesy a failure of common sense—sometimes, often actually, by the so-called bestest of the best and brightest. We are all “insiders” in our own worlds—and we all lose touch with reality to a lesser or greater extent.

There are a host of things one can do to deal with this, but in this instance I want only to suggest routinely running proposals or budgets, or whatever, minor as well as major, by a “common sense ombudsman.” Said ombudsman, singular or plural, formal or informal, could be a spouse or a neighbor who owns a restaurant or the guy who runs the distribution center in South Podunk who you ran into at the management meeting in Orlando last year.

Napoleon captured the spirit of this idea, ever so long ago:

“The art of war does not require complicated maneuvers; the simplest are the best, and common sense is fundamental. From which one might wonder how it is generals make blunders; it is because they try to be clever.” (from Napoleon on Project Management by Jerry Manas)