Decision-Making

Hoist on her own Petard

The other day I had a weird compulsion to look up the word “petard” in the dictionary.  This came from a family discussion about local politics, and someone (probably my Dad), made a reference to one of our local politicians being hoist on his own petard.  I know that this means that the person in question was caught in a trap of his own making.  But I wasn’t sure what petard actually meant.  Maybe a sabre? 

So I looked it up in askOxford.   A petard is an explosive device in a metal or wooden box.  My handy-dandy paper dictionary provides this definition:  an explosive device in a metal cone.  Which brings all kinds of imagery to bear when thinking about hoisting on one’s own petard. 

The point of this little anecdote is that I had been operating with incorrect understanding of the concept for decades, because I assumed that I knew the answer, and was too lazy to look it up.  One of my professors in B-School used to say, “make no un-tested assumptions”.  I should have learned that lesson 20 years ago.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s