It’s Not ‘Not there’

Simply because we can’t see or hear something doesn’t mean it’s not there.

not there

Often, in fact, it’s right in front of us.

More often than we admit we choose not to see or hear things. It starts as a young child and the habit only becomes more subtle and more discreetly executed as we get older.

Statistically speaking 49.999% of us are in the bottom half of our chosen field of expertise, be it sport, academics, leadership or even parenting!

The perception we typically create for ourselves, however, is that we are in the upper quadrant and, in some studies 90% of people believe they’re above average!

Known as Illusory Superiority this bias has some interesting outcomes – and not always as you might expect.[1]

Ola Svenson (1981) surveyed 161 students in Sweden and the United States, asking them to compare their driving skills and safety to other people. For driving skills, 93% of the U.S. sample and 69% of the Swedish sample put themselves in the top 50%.[2]

Interestingly there is also a tendency for people in the face of a challenging task to suffer from the “worse-than-average” effect.

What makes these two tendencies interesting in unison is that it suggests as managers we will often overrate our ability to deliver a message and underestimate the threat our staff experience in new and challenging tasks.

Rather than pat ourselves on the back for delivering a great message and then expressing great disappointment when our staff don’t execute as expected, we should ensure that we examine deeply where such ‘missions’ fail.

Is an irate manager the result of our own unreality (about their ability) rather than an intrinsic failing in those we manage?

How often as managers do we check in with staff on their comfort with what is being asked of them?

How often as managers do we reassure our staff of our belief in their capability to do challenging tasks?

Simply because there is no noise, no feedback, no protest, doesn’t mean it is not there.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority has a great run down on it.

[2] Svenson, Ola (February 1981). “Are We All Less Risky and More Skillful Than Our Fellow Drivers?” (PDF). Acta Psychologica. 47 (2): 143–148. doi:10.1016/0001-6918(81)90005-6.

 

 

Show Pony

abandoned-antique-architecture-959308
What becomes of the White House?

Someone who stages an event with only their personal adulation in mind.

Especially when they take all the credit for what was inevitable (and too serious to become entertainment).

 

Note: I will be posting regular two-sentence pieces like this to keep reading brief on points of simple reflection. They will be tagged “Two Sentences”

I Am

asphalt-communication-commuter-221310

In current times it’s inevitable that some of my posts will veer into politics.

With the surreal event taking place in Singapore at present I can’t resist passing comment on how our egos interfere with our effectiveness.

Safe to say if you’re reading this blog your ego is nowhere near the issue it is for the two men meeting in Singapore (which will be like Cage Fighting in suits with no physical contact).

However, we all have egos and they both serve and hinder us.

When you see things upside down, the ego can be extraordinarily funny; it’s absurd. But it’s tragic at the same time.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

If we carefully observe ourselves we’ll see our ego interfere with our lives on a constant basis, sometimes for good, but also to the detriment of doing the right or best thing:

  • When we feel embarrassed – resulting in inaction when action is what is required.
  • When we fail to acknowledge somebody –  because we’re either a tiny bit underwhelmed or a whole lot jealous, or mostly because we are too full of our own importance.
  • When we do something we know is ‘not right’ – because it’s what we said we would do and can’t deal with our imagined ignominy in changing our course.
  • When we lose focus on a conversation – because no one is listening to us (possibly because their egos are working overtime too, or, simply we are a bore).
  • When we interject (my own personal Achilles) – because our ego can’t wait to show ours is bigger, brighter, funnier or more important (yeah right).

Though we may sigh in despair about the events unfolding and the painful rhetoric which will follow, we also need to take a moment to listen to and observe our own ego.

Imagine life if we trained our ego to understand what a good time can be – where it considered not just you but for those around you.

We need to both feed and nurture our ego but at all times be aware it’s with us.

Even if it’s not raging like some of the more public ego’s we see today, we need to actively manage our ego’s impact on ourselves and those around us. It’s a constant work in progress.

Where do you see the biggest impact of ego – either personally or from others?

What can we do to turn this ‘force’ to positive use?

 

Dance like no-one is watching

Tensions
Making choices to do new things

This graphic is a simple illustration of why some things never see the light of day.

The return to my blog while not “new” is a new beginning. It is a true reflection of the tension illustrated here.

We can spend much of time answering questions that haven’t been asked or answered other than inside of our own heads:

why

Why do this?  Will anybody follow or benefit?

…and the answer to almost all of these types of questions – is that other than yourself

“Who cares?”

  • If you’re not doing it, nothing is happening.
  • If it’s not out there, nobody is judging you, nobody is looking.
  • If you’re not speaking with an independent voice, then how are you relevant?

To paraphrase Seth Godin – don’t keep waiting for the perfect horse on the carousel – just get on they are all going to the same place.

So here I am.

I’ll be reflecting on many things, and hopefully doing it in a way that reflects an attitude of dancing like nobody is watching.

I will be dipping into:

  • How and why we change
  • What we say and how we say it
  • How we respond and how we react
  • What blindsides us and what truly motivates us
  • Assumptions we make
  • Things we fail to challenge, and those that we do
  • Challenges we fail to take and those that we choose to pursue

I beleive:

  • That we care more deeply about each other than most of us care to or know how to express.
  • That community is at the core of humanity.
  • That we all wish for a better world – the world that we share, but at present not so well.

I hope to bring something to that discussion

My primary motivation is that this blog may change somebody’s life for the better – bring more clarity, more insight, and more reflection at a time when they need it, now or in the future. I also hope people will use this to look back and reflect on their own experiences and take the learning forward.

Being a father of 2 wonderful daughters this also serves as a capsule for them to understand me and perhaps even themselves better in years to come when I can’t be around to explain myself.

I’m on this blog knowing that it makes me more real, more vulnerable, more reflective and considerate.

Thank you for giving me your time.

Richard

The Complicator

Complicated

A good friend and colleague of mine introduced a wonderful new term to my vocabulary – The Complicator.

I see them in many many places now, and I wish I had this cue to spot them earlier.

Generally I confused them with Chicken Little – people who always thought the sky was about to fall and couldn’t see the upside of anything.

Complicators however are a little more insidious and beguiling. They constantly complain but at the same time they seem to move things forward. You admire the effort, and say to yourself

“Wow in spite of all those problems they made progress, good on them”.

And that is it, they’ve got you. hook line ( that’s a tangled line, and not as strong as it should be, and by the way the hook is made of the wrong metal, and not really appropriate for catching those kind of fish) and sinker (it should be heavier, but we found a way around it, modified it, talked to the design department, rang the supplier, then the sea was drained of all the water so it didn’t matter anyway).

You get the point.

I like to keep things simple, minimise the drama, focus on the outcome and not embellish the journey. Complicators do just the opposite. If you asked them to go to the corner dairy to get some pens for the office the story would go like this:

“That Dairy is hardly ever open (you know it is right now), the last time I went they were working on the footpath outside (3 months ago), damn what time does my favourite program begin…

They want you to say “Hey look it’s alright I’ll go…” to which they reply

“No, no, its fine, be back shortly”

That’s the game. Eric Berne describes them well in his book Games People Play.

So my question is – what the hell do you do?

My thoughts:

No, can’t print that one. Lets try another…

Give them an out for their plea’s for attention

Say “No I’ve heard that already what has changed?”

Say “Yep you told me that so what do you plan to do about it?

Say “Hey, it’s great you recognise the problems, it’s also great you know how to solve them. What I want to hear are the solutions”

All the other options involve weapons, cars, buses and combustible materials.

Have a great day, I’ll struggle to get through mine because, because, because….

Don’t encourage me!

With the remarkable success of doubling my visits for each of the first three days since I got my blog back and running under a new address, I’m encouraged.
So thanks whoever you are.
In return a new post is coming out in a few minutes.
Bless
Richard