Friday, January 29, 2010

The Philosophy of Silver Bullet

If you believe in Werewolves, Vampires and all those demonish creatures you know what a Silver Bullet is. The surprising thing is that this belief is of 20th Century origin-now the term Silver Bullet is used to indicate a quick solution to a difficult problem.
As human's we always want a panacea for all problems. I remember when I was young watching a fake herbal marketer shouting to a crowd with his mesmeric voice that the Fox Horn(do foxes have horns?) powder he has can cure almost every malady. I was amused when some very educated looking (!)men buying the stuff. Maybe for some it can appear to work as it is Pshycological.
Silver bullet works on the premise that there is one fixed way to attack the problem which is monstrous to imagine. There is no other known solution and no harm to give it a try. This is different from Alchemy which is driven by greed to make gold from some other metal. A person trying to do Alchemy is probably searching a short cut to become rich and famous. The positive aspect of this is that they probably end up learning something in ssearch of this skill. On the way they find something else and settle for it which is better than what they had been. It is like aiming for Moon and landing in on a hilltop. But still they landed somewhere higher than where they originally are. This is positive about trying to become an Alchemist.
However Seeking a Silver Bullet is slightly different. For example if US stuck in Afganisthan is hoping that the Taliban will melt with time or make a peace deal with them by legalizing them to be part of Government-then they are looking a silver bullet solution. The problem is demonic with different dimensions and solution cannot be simple.
Several times I hear this when the negotiations are getting tough-look for a face saving formula. I smile at presentations which try to show the best of a worst situations (how service has dramatically improved when reality is market is down and inventories are sky high) as this is also a face saving formula. Face savers are not silver bullets..they are self deceptions. Politicians will want it but not others. Power is not lost with such efforts of people and soon it starts to eat the core of character.
Silver bullet is by scale much larger-promise and belief of an impossible thing to fix a problem. Devil is in details and Silver bullet is the exact opposite of details as it is a hypothesis. Six sigma thinking and Emotional Intelligence are two antidotes for Silver bullets. For example it is common to hear people saying a state of art ERP system will solve all their problems. So be it says the management and then the demons change shape. Now it is a different Silver bullet we want as today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.
Therefore wanting a Silver Bullet is not quite unreasonable but to find one is usually an unreasonable expectation. Managers keep their jobs as Silver Bullets evolve as werewolves arrive in different forms. Hope remains to find solutions for all problems including Global warming which is driven by human greed..this is the philosophy of Silver Bullet.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Gothenburg, Sweden
Still finding introspecting to find who am I? Waiting for a Guru!