About “Joyous Corrections” and Other Oxymorons …


Mistake - chalk board - Morguefile

“Ah … Excuse Me … That’s Not Right”

My minister used this phrase recently when someone pointed out an error in a statement he had made … yes, we are that kind of church:)

This sparked my thinking about why we usually do not associate “Joyous” or even “Happy” with having to admit we were wrong about something.  

Whether in church, at work, or just hanging around the house, wherever we interact with others, this seems a bit of a problem for some of us.

After much thought, I finally decided that we do not enjoy correcting ourselves just because we ARE Continue reading

“Being The Best …”

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FailureI enjoy online groups which regularly offer stimulus for my thinking about leadership and human behavior.   The Lead Change Group regularly provides intellectual stimulus and practical thinking about leadership and human behavior, mostly through their daily blog posts by a “motley crew” of folks who care about intelligent and positive leadership development.  When I have a fresh pot of hot coffee and am reading their daily blog post, I am one happy camper.  

Today’s bon mot was Sharon Reed’s excellent post on leadership confidence and fear of failure.  Sharon tells about an artist who invites criticism (in the useful sense) of his work to grow in his competence.  This really struck a chord with me, since I believe that being open to criticism is essential to both personal and professional growth.  This concept has been a part of my professional journey in more ways and at more times than I have the space to convey here.    Below are my amplified comments on failure and success, adapted from earlier comments made to Sharon’s post.

PLEASE DON’T CRITICIZE ME …

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Rocky Road Ahead …


Rocks - Morguefile“WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A STEPPING STONE?  THE WAY YOU APPROACH IT.”

English proverb

 I have been considering rocks a lot lately …

ROCKS ARE INDEED SOMETIMES STUMBLING BLOCKS …

This is especially evident when many of them converge to create rocky terrain which must be traversed.  If you have ever found yourself trying to cross a rocky field, you know the dangers which are often not clear, but can result in nasty falls and broken bones.   At best, it takes time to get across and you have to make a special effort to insure that whatever you are carrying with you is safe and does not contribute to potential injury.

ROCKS CAN ALSO BE STEPPING STONES …

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“Fill ‘Er Up” …


Service Station“A motorist saw a sign “Bob’s Service Station –  Last Chance for Seventy-Cent Gas –  State Line One Mile Ahead”.

He stopped and had his tank fillled, then asked “How much is gas across the state line?”.

Answered the attendant “Sixty-five cents”

Source:  Anonymous and from memory

Okay, this probably apocryphal story is obviously set in a time long ago, which remains now only in some of our memories. 

Gas prices under a dollar a gallon?

… had his tank filled …” as in not self-service?

The trip was not planned using MapQuest, Google, and all the other fascinating apps we have now to help us do just about everything?

Sigh …Grandpa, tell me again about the olden days …

While we may not be rooked into paying more for gas now, we still tend to make the larger thinking errors indicated by this quaint and slightly dated story.  

I am going to make three useful observations about this little story that still help us in today’s much more expensive , volatile, and highly political world.  Whether you are entering the work force, in the middle of your career, contemplating the new “retirement”, or just trying to get along every day, remember these things to engage your critical thinking skills:

1)  Be careful about what you read and react to … sometimes it’s not what is said, but what is not said.

Notice that the sign contained NO misleading or incorrect information.  The thinking errors occured in the driver’s mind, not in the communication they received.

We judge others based on superficial aspects, such as appearance, voice, culture, and setting, and not do the hard work of getting to know the person.  This results in massive misuse or simple non-use of potential in our teams, organizations, and society.

2)  Do not assume, which we have all heard before and yet still fall into doing on a regular basis. 

Making assumptions is hard to avoid in this world, especially given the sophistication of technologically-driven mass communication, the dizzying speed of social and organizational change, and just the sheer volume of information with which we are “pelted” every single day.

Our bias for action encourages us to make assumptions, fed by well-meaning folks who forget Cheryl Bachelder’s caution to us that “Action does NOT equal results” in every case.  We do not always insist on having the time to not rely on assumptions.

3)  Whether considering where to  stop for gas or what career move to make, you always need to ask questions.

Questions, well-phrased and intentional, are golden arrows which fly to the heart of our goals and objectives.

When you ask the right question to the right person at the right time … well, things just seem to go more smoothly then, don’t they:).

Think about all this next time you fill up the old Hupmobile or family truckster.

Meanwhile, I am giving thanks that I have a car for which I pay outrageous gas prices to keep it filled in the Heartland ….

John

 

Image:  Wikipedia page on “service stations”

Lead Change Group | “Making It Easy – A Few Thoughts Around This Festive Time Of Year”


Doing my usual thing, but over at the Lead Change Group blogging post today.  If you are not yet familiar with this fine group of professionals, check us out.  Start with my post and work your way back through the month … it will be time well spen:

Lead Change Group | Making It Easy – A Few Thoughts Around This Festive Time Of Year.

Comments, contributions, and critiques are welcome …

John