Friday, May 29, 2009

The Kissinger Politics Stakes Law

My neighbor informed me of today's quote of the day:
University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
- Henry Kissinger
I had heard a version of this quote long ago and immediately fell for it! Years later I was working on a multi-million project at a multi-billion company and noticed that the politics seemed to fairly tamed based on my own experience. Once the project went live I noticed that slowly little stupid things crept up. I turned to my colleague who had been there many years and asked "What' going on? So and so seems to be treating me differently than before..did I do something wrong?" His reply stuck with me "It's not you it's BAU!"

I have long be a fan of organizational laws. Conway's Law is my favorite. I propose a new one:

The Kissinger Politics Stakes Law
As the stakes of an endeavour increase the politics will decline. As the stakes decrease the politics will increase.

If you think about it, it explains so many odd behaviors. Why during WWII did the US Government function so well and during the 90's boom do so poorly? Why do PTA elections seem to be more ferocious than US Presidential ones? It's the hidden law we have all been witness to!

I can't be the first to see this...Google provided the answer Sayre's Law. So it seems Kissinger gets credit where credit is not Sayre-ian :-)

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