Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people and can reasonably be expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.
If organizations are to successfully meet the economic and competitive challenges of contemporary markets, they require people who DON’T rely on “the common sense” to guide them.
Individuals who don’t “… perceive, understand and judge things … ” like everyone else.
Employees who don’t look through a lens shared with the crowd to problem solve and innovate; who don’t expect a shared solution to miraculously cure their specific ills and enable them to gain a strategic advantage over their competitors.
The application of common sense in this way isn’t helpful.
How does applying what is commonly held as fact “… without any need for debate” stimulate innovation and creativity?
How does it help build a culture that challenges the status quo and is curious to try new ways of doing things?
An important issue in organizations today is the reliance on “best practices” to make a strategic change.
Strategic success does not come from applying a cookie-cutter approach where a best practice is transposed from one organizational context to another.
Also read: How To Create A Culture Of Successful People – It’s Magic
It might come close to improving work processes and operating systems of the copycat, but it does so for every other organization trying to make them their own.
Everyone clusters together; no operational advantage for any member of the herd is conferred.
And the strategic advantage is gained by no one.
Common sense is herd mentality; it represents the lowest common denominator thinking.
It is a safe haven for those who believe there is safety in numbers; that to do what everyone else does offers a “comfort blanket” for protection.
After all, if 100 other organizations incorporated this system, it must be the best approach, right?
We don’t need copycats.
Also read: Do You Have A Copycat Culture?
We need individuals who OBSERVE the common sense but are not compliant with it.
Who view a best practice as a benchmark to deviate from by adding their own twist to it.
A culture that is driven to discover uncommon sense to provide their organization with unique solutions that the crowd hasn’t discovered.
Who can see opportunity in differences rather than similarities?
Who change the conversation in their organizations from “Who is best in class and how can we copy them?” to “How can we be unique and go in a different direction?”
Who encourage debate over common principles and accepted dogma.
Who encourage their teams to cast off the common and look for a contrarian approach.
Common sense is a questionable concept; it will not prepare organizations to be unique and special in our crazy competitive world.
It will continue to propagate sameness and mediocrity.
And organizations will die.
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The author misunderstands what “common sense” is. It’s not a synonym for “herd mentality.” On the contrary, the herds in today’s workforce notably lack common sense, which is simply described as sound judgment in practical matters.
It’s an indicator of how devalued sound practical reason has become that a supposedly educated author can describe a practitioner of the virtue of prudence and label him or her as having “no common sense.”
I agree with the previous comment. This reflects a misunderstanding of the definition of common sense – which is sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. Common sense is much needed in this world, but unfortunately in short supply…
I’d say common sense is more “realizing the obvious”. It’s seeing the simplest solution and running with it instead of overthinking and overcomplicating.
An example: a person tries to figure out a solution on its own instead of thinking about who has already solved it and seeking out that solution instead of persisting with the original approach of trying to solve it on its own.
It’s realizing what the lowest hanging fruit is and seeking it.
It’s “weighting” that factors of reality in a more realistic manner. Basically having a more realistic model of reality.
For example: If a person seeks out somebody’s help it can expect be helped or at least be a step further to the solution.
If this person “overweights” factors that seem unrealistic or don’t make sense at all e.g. the potential mentor reacting in a overly competive and repressive manner where a person with common sense wouldn’t expect it simply because it’s unlikely that could be seen as lack of common sense.
Common sense in this sense is a person who has many mental models and tests them (consciously or unconsciously) constantly against the real world to get a better approximation of the uncertain. These models are applied (intuitively or systematically) and are resolved against the reality and each other. The product is a more realistic understanding of reality thanks to very simple and easily visualized tools (mental models) and the motivation to resolve the contradictions between them and the specific case of reality.
As a consequence people with good common sense develop shortcuts which let them make more realistic approximations very fast while their low common sense peers overthink, overcomplicate and get stuck where they wouldn’t get need to get stuck in the first place.
I’d say people with high common sense tend to apply the 80/20 principle, think in probabilities and make use of the knowledge of cognitive biases (intuitively or consciously or both) much more often in addition to the other aqcuired or self-developed mental models.