You can probably think of several other possibilities. Of course, the IT team had no way of knowing which of these, if any, might be the right one. But by reflecting on these possibilities, they were able to accept his dreadful behavior as making sense within his own logic-bubble. Given these possibilities, they tried some different ways of working with him—a little more empathy, more detailed status updates, more frequent check-ins with him. He never let up on them, but he did calm down a little.
Thankfully, the team delivered the project on time (a bit early, actually) and within budget. Although they collectively held their breath for the first few months after it went live, it worked beautifully.
Several months later I talked to someone who knew the back story. It seems that in his previous company, Mr. Mean-and-Nasty’s IT department developed a system for his division. It was his first experience with IT and when the IT team said don’t worry about a thing, he didn’t. Shortly before the deadline they announced that the project would slip. And then it slipped some more. When it was finally implemented, it failed in a public way, damaging the company’s reputation and Mr. M-and-N’s along with it. This background provided a context in which his outrageous behavior on our project made sense. And some of the possibilities the team had speculated about his logic-bubble turned out to be correct.
You don’t have to wait till someone exhibits troublesome behavior to consider the person’s logic-bubble. For example, it can be a valuable exercise in preparing for upcoming efforts, such as those in which you’re introducing change. As de Bono notes, the people who are backing a particular change are convinced of its value, but those who will have to implement the change and live with its consequences have their own logic-bubbles. Imagining the factors that might be driving or influencing someone else’s behavior can be a valuable exercise.