Things I’ve Learned This Week

Sometimes, I find I’ve had a stretch where several important lessons have been emphasized over and over again, and it’s time to simply write them down.  I thought I’d share them with you, since it’s been a heck of a week here.

1. Life rewards action.  When you take action, rather than ignoring something, things gradually get better.  Hoping problems will simply go away is called procrastination or waiting for disaster to strike.

2. You can teach faster than people learn.  Yup, telling someone something does not mean they’re going to do it or act on it.  They may need time to think about it, mull it over, and eventually, make it their own.  But just because you said it does not ensure that it’s really been “taught”.

3. Leading with Empathy is always a good idea.  Dr. Bob Brooks suggests small things like using “joining” techniques and phrases that helps people see that you understand their position and that you are all on the same side when trying to solve problems.  This advice works in every day life, no matter where.  The more people can see the problem and the problem rather than the people as the problem, the closer you are to a solution.  Blame helps no one and just makes people feel lousy.

4. Speak up for those weaker and more vulnerable.  It’s easy to stay uninvolved and let people fight their own battles.  Sometimes that’s even the best thing you can do,  but helping people find their own power, or helping them navigate situations where they are clearly the underdog or overwhelmed by the situation helps even the odds and make it a fair fight.  Letting the system beat up on the vulnerable and watching from the sidelines is cruel.

5.  When you have a dispute, bring a solution to the table.  Whenever an inevitable disagreement occurs, brainstorm solutions or suggestions in advance of the meeting, so you can start by solving the problem rather than distributing blame or beating a dead horse.

6. Remember that when you find you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.  I got this from a recent seminar and it’s attributed to Dakota Tribal wisdom.  Simply put, if it’s a no win situation, know when to bow out and stop fighting.  There are constraints in every situation, and you may not be able to change them, no matter how out of the box you may think.    And in case you haven’t seen the list of common dead horse strategies we try rather than the simple dismount, I’ll repeat them here for you, for a giggle:

  1. Changing riders
  2. Buying a stronger whip
  3. Falling back on: “This is the way we’ve always ridden”
  4. Appointing a committee to study the horse
  5. Arranging a visit to other sites to see how they ride dead horses
  6. Increasing the standards for riding dead horses
  7. Appointing a group to revive the dead horse
  8. Creating a training session to improve riding skills
  9. Comparing the state of dead horses in today’s environment
  10. Changing the requirements so that the horse no longer meets the standard of dead
  11. Hiring an external consultant to show how a dead horse can be ridden
  12. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed
  13. Increasing funding to improve the horse’s performance
  14. Declaring that no horse is too dead to beat
  15. Doing a study to see if outsourcing will reduce the cost of riding a dead horse
  16. Buying a computer program to enhance dead horse performance
  17. Declaring a dead horse less costly than a live one
  18. Forming a workgroup to find uses for dead horses
  19. Changing performance requirements for the horse
  20. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position
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