I was tried to get this out over Twitter, but breaking it into pieces ruins it. If you want to read one of the most spot on, timeless, and funny books about organizational politics, check out the F.M. Cornford's 1908 classic MICROCOSMOGRAPHIA ACADEMICA: BEING A GUIDE FOR THE YOUNG ACADEMIC POLITICIAN. You can get this short gem here for free.
And here is my favorite bit:
“The Principle of the Dangerous Precedent is that you should not now do an admittedly right action for fear you, or your equally timid successors, should not have the courage to do right in some future case, which, ex hypothesi, is essentially different, but superficially resembles the present one. Every public action which is not customary, either is wrong, or, if it is right, is a dangerous precedent. It follows that nothing should ever be done for the first time.”
It is amazing how over 100 years later, the same principle is still applied far too often. See Daniel Kahneman’s book if you want to see some of the main reasons why – thinking is hard work!
P.S. Cornford was a famous classicist at Cambridge around the turn of the 20th century.