Because every swan I have ever seen was white, all swans must be white!
If the contrary had not been proven true over time, this statement would sound quite reasonable. Until the 17th century Europeans firmly believed that all swans were white. The discovery of the black swan in Western Australia in the 18th century disabused them of this misconception. The impossible was possible after all. This event laid the foundation for the “Black Swan-Concept”, which has become a metaphor for unpredictable or unlikely events.
According to Taleb (2008), individuals tend to transfer their past experiences to not-yet-experienced events. They also tend to search for cases that confirm their own theories, or to ignore the Black Swan completely. However, this will eventually provoke obliviousness. Individuals usually worry about the existing and well-known Black Swans instead of the potential ones. As a result, unlikely events skip their attention and are not captured in time.
This is not only the case for individuals. Organizations also tend to re-interpret the meaning of unexpected events so that their own views of the world can be confirmed. Based on the organization’s learning history, specific patterns of observation and evaluation can be derived which have an impact on all organizational information sources and decisions. If these patterns led to successful actions and results in the past, they will most likely stay in service. The relevant impulses (Black Swans) outside an organization would have been noticeable. However, they are often not recognized or talked down to a level that the valuable impulses for self-renewal can no longer be used. This may lead to serious consequences: opportunities or threats are overlooked or misinterpreted. Hence, it is necessary to regularly question the established observation and evaluation patterns from a meta perspective. In this way, it can ensure that the organizational selection also admits variation.
With the foresighted self-renewal concept SEDLÁK & PARTNER helps your organization to recognize and capture the external signals at an early stage. By deliberately feeding relevant impulses to the organizational communication process, developments can be seen early and used for decision-making processes, which will in turn sustain the organization’s competitiveness.
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