Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

August 2012    |    Volume: 44    |    Number: 8

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Performance by Kevin McManus

Industrial Engineer’s monthly column about performance improvement (August 2012) 

Our special cause world

We live in a special cause world.

I thought hard about writing such a general opening statement, but after giving it more thought than it deserved, I felt justified. The special cause events we focus on in media and at work distract our attention and consume valuable resources, even though such events occur only 1 percent of the time or less. Even worse, these rare events often shape our perceptions and judgments about expected system performance. In short, if it is not leaning toward the extreme, it is not worth attention.

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