Rational Man 5 – Dancing on the Head of a Pin

“Quality losses?” the Declarative Executive asked skeptically. “But quality is a good thing?”

“Yes.” The Rational Man replied.

“A loss is a bad thing.”


“So a quality loss is both good and bad at the same time?”

The Declarative Executive was opposed to the new quality initiative being led by the Rational Man. The Declarative Executive, pulling some favors, managed to convene this special meeting of the Operating Committee of the Executive. With a little pressure from the committee, the quality initiative would be killed. The Quixotic Executive, who hired the Rational Man to head the quality initiative, was uncharacteristically inert.

“A quality loss is a bad thing.” the Rational Man responded.

“But it sounds like a good thing to me. I mean, ‘That was some quality loss there Jenkins. Good work.’ If it’s bad why isn’t it just called a loss, or …” he paused “What’s the opposite of quality?”

This Company, the Rational Man thought.

“Unquality?” someone suggested.


“A quality loss is a type of loss. It is what is lost because of poor processes or products.” The Rational Man had learned patience over his many years as a quality consultant. He knew how Columbus must have felt when talking to his Flat Earth critics.

“Do we know what these losses are?” the Beancounting Executive asked. Another Flat Earther.

“No. You do not measure them at this time.” said the Rational Man.

“So this going to save us losses we do not report?” the Beancounting Executive asked.


“Who will notice then?” The Rational Man felt his globe begin to deflate.

“If I may.” the Punk stood up. The Rational Man gladly relinquished the floor. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?” The Rational Man’s globe was getting flatter judging by the Executive’s reaction. “Who cares?” the Punk continued. “But it doesn’t mean the tree did not fall. Although we may not measure or ‘hear’ of the quality losses, it doesn’t mean they do not exist.”

“What you are saying is not only do you need the money for the quality initiative, but you also need measurers to listen to the quality losses falling in the forest.” the Declarative Executive stated.

“Yes.” the Punk responded, completely uncertain as to what she agreed to.

“So who will do the measuring?”

“I would suggest it fall under the financial jurisdiction since it deals with losses.” she replied.

The Beancounting Executive’s head snapped.

“It might mean expanding the mandate of the financial division.” the Rational Man quickly added.

Glimmers of empires to be shone in the Beancounting Executive’s eyes. The Rational Man’s globe began to regain its spherical shape. “Well,” the Beancounting Executive began, “I think it is premature at this time to stop the quality initiative. I recommend we wait for the final presentation with all of their recommendations. All in favour.”

No one wanted to antagonize the Beancounting Executive and have their budgets subjected to extra scrutiny so the recommendation was unanimously endorsed. The Quality Team had won its first battle. The Earth was round again.

“Thank you.” The Rational Man whispered. The Punk obviously had instincts and more importantly, the gall of youth to take on the Flat Earthers.

“No problem. It’s only been two years since I sat in Philosophy class. This was fun.”

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