How to Melt the Iceberg of Ignorance: Unveiling the Truth

How to Melt the Iceberg of Ignorance: Unveiling the Truth

Nowadays, it seems common practice to attribute a quote to a famous person. This name-dropping supposedly needs to give the quote credibility. People like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Abraham Lincoln, George Bernard Shaw, and Albert Einstein are some of the usual suspects. For instance, the quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” is typically misattributed to Einstein. While misattributions are misleading, they seem pretty harmless as long as a quote isn’t wrongly attributed to oneself.

However, when unsubstantiated studies are presented as scientific facts, these practices tend to lose their innocence. One of those ‘studies’ is remarkably persistent. It is known as the Iceberg of Ignorance or the Iceberg of Awareness. The myth goes like this: A study, supposedly performed by one Sidney Yoshida at Calsonic, a Japanese car manufacturer, described in a scientific paper and presented at an International Quality Symposium in Mexico in 1989, demonstrated that senior leadership (only) has a 4% awareness of problems. The study is often quoted to demonstrate a traditional hierarchy’s disconnect between the top and the bottom.

While appealing, there is no proof that this study has occurred. There is no paper describing the study or record of the presentation at the symposium in Mexico. As a matter of fact, besides the hundreds of mentions, there is no proof the study was ever performed. Others tried to find proof of the study without success. 

If there is no proof a study was performed or that some hypothesis led to performing the study, and there is no data to check the findings or to reproduce the data, per definition, it must be considered a myth.

When I suggested the ‘study’ to be a myth, reacting to a post on Linkedin, I received strong opposition from the author. After all, he argued, if everyone is quoting the same study, it must be true. And while it might not be traced back, it supports the general idea.

That seems to be the truth Donald Trump generally supports: if you consistently make a false claim, it must be true.

This post is for those who embrace facts and science.


  • Edwin Korver

    Edwin Korver is a polymath celebrated for his mastery of systems thinking and integral philosophy, particularly in intricate business transformations. His company, CROSS-SILO, embodies his unwavering belief in the interdependence of stakeholders and the pivotal role of value creation in fostering growth, complemented by the power of storytelling to convey that value. Edwin pioneered the RoundMap®, an all-encompassing business framework. He envisions a future where business harmonizes profit with compassion, common sense, and EQuitability, a vision he explores further in his forthcoming book, "Leading from the Whole."

Share the Post:

Recent Articles

Navigating Complexity: The Cynefin Framework and the Art of Adaptive Leadership

From Division to Unity: The Evolution of Community Design

Navigating the Future with the RoundMap’s Strategic Agility Matrix

Rise to the Occasion: Navigating Complexity with Strategic Agility and Foresight

Beyond Optimization: Embracing Transformation in the Digital Age

RoundMap’s Continuous Elevation Process: Cultivating Cyclical Growth

Beyond Ignoring Early Warnings: Exemplifying Adaptive Leadership in the Face of Disruption

Learning through Reflection: Adapting the Navy SEALs’ Mission Debriefing

Beyond the Bottom Line: Embracing Purpose for Sustainable Success

Embracing Complexity: From CAS to Whole-System Transformation

The Ultimate Dilemma: Reactive Crisis Management or Proactive Transformation for Future-Readiness?

Management Innovation: The Imperative for a Unified Approach to Systemic Change

Circuitry of Innovation: Bridging Organizational Silos for Collaborative Success

Embracing the Unknown: The Courage to Leap Towards a Future of Our Own Making

Adapting to Uncertainty: Embracing Agility in Building Future-Fit Organizations

Join Our Newsletter