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Lost purposes is the idea that the incentives at a particular level of organization are distorted by the translation layers they must pass through. In the traditional view of a corporation, for instance, the CEO has contact with reality and makes decisions based on their understanding of that reality. These decisions then trickle down through executive managers, middle managers, to various departments. At each stage in the process the decisions are translated by someone who has progressively less contact with the reasons for making the decision in the first place, and are likely to introduce errors and side effects (related: distance from reality). This phenomenon is captured well by the game of Telephone . Even worse, the CEO often has different incentives from the shareholders to begin with. More generally, the fact that different actors within an organization have different understandings and goals is helpful when analysing failures or potential failures. This is one of the key ideas behind the Peter Principle and the Gervais Principle. In negotiation it leads to analysis of the BATNA to predict defection.

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