10 February 2012

Dealing with Hospital Executives

It is an unfortunate but humorous fact that executives have a high rate of psychopathology. It is something to bear in mind when you deal with them. Studies show that at least 10% are nasty: liars, cheats, bullies, assholes, jerks, sociopaths, and psychopaths. Google it. There are actually people who study this. Nasty people have a better chance of being promoted, so the pathology increases as you go up the chain. About 4% of CEOs are psychopaths. This compares to about 0.5% of the general population and 15-25% of prison inmates. You can question these figures, for sure. It's hard to make accurate psychiatric diagnoses (the worst at making diagnoses are psychiatrists).
People, especially psychiatrists, have a cognitive bias that they are good at detecting character traits by interviews alone. Studies show this belief is not true. It's a delusion. No one is good at detecting nasty people by impressions alone. This is not just because people in general are gullible, it is also because nasty people have camouflage. They excel at creating good impressions. The first inkling you have that you are dealing with a nasty person may be too late.
Do not despair. You can arrange the environment to your advantage and minimize risk. You don't have to suspect each and every executive. Up to 90% DO NOT have a major classifiable personality disorder.
Here are some ideas:
  1. Don't go by impressions. Does what they say make sense? Does what they do match what they say?
  2. Make sure your interests are aligned.
  3. Don't cede control to a psychopath.
  4. These people go for the quick score: so choose long term projects or, if you pick a short term project, pick one you can monitor closely.
  5. It is a common pattern to make a score, cool the mark out, and make a score again. So, once burned be careful not to be a victim again.
Thanks and have a great day,

05 December 2011

Unintended consequences

Here is a table on perverse incentives in academia (http://bit.ly/
). The point is that unintended consequences are difficult to
see and difficult to predict.

16 May 2011

Bill James, the main statistician behind Moneyball, has written a book on popular crime: http://n.pr/iF3zBl
The playwright David Mamet: http://bit.ly/k3aGF3. I liked the movie “State and Main.”
New websites for economic data: http://bit.ly/ihC1qh, http://bit.ly/jL2eGB
The “best of the best” economists: http://bit.ly/kQOTt1
Paul Zak says oxytocin shows that markets are moral: http://bit.ly/kC11KE. The 2nd part is best.