Nonsense At Work

#103: January 2016 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift

January 2016

Clueless Gossip Reverses Festive Celebration

Don’t ignore clueless communicators who have earned respect

quillpenI get very annoyed when reading a garbled report, a jumbled email or a truncated text message. Surely, being able to write decently is a basic requirement for success.

Note that I said decent and basic, not excellent and essential. And why not? Because I have worked with successful people who are rather clueless when it comes to grammar, punctuation and word choice. One is a CEO who can fix broken businesses even though he is flummoxed by language. Another is a dyslexic business founder whose company is still growing after 30 years.

So why then do I get annoyed with clueless communicators? Because many are simply lazy and expect me to do the work of deciphering their mangled missives.

I willingly struggle through the prose of successful people because they have already earned my respect. Invariably, what they are trying to communicate is worth understanding.

Success depends on having access to gossip without passing it on

gossipAs we are on the topic of garbled communication, how about some gossip? If your office is gossip free, then I assume you work at home, alone. Gossip, after all, is human nature. It has been with us ever since the third human arrived on earth.

How should you deal with gossip? If you are a boss, then use it. Once upon a time Japanese executives trickled strategy ideas down the hierarchy. They refined the strategy based on the reaction of the people who would have to make it work. You too could seed a bit of gossip to test a new idea or policy. That is, as long as you are tapped into the gossip network.

And if you are an employee, use it. Listen to as much gossip as you can stomach. There is no better source of career making information.

But whether boss or employee, don’t be labeled a gossip. The trick is to have access to gossip without passing it on. If you figure out how, please let me know.

Reverse your daily rush from happiness

ants-highwayHave you noticed in rush hour traffic that the other side of the highway is just as clogged as the side you are stuck in? I have often wondered why we on this side can’t simply trade jobs with those on the other side. That way we will all be closer to home and much happier.

Much happier, but not because of less road rage. After all, we get our morning kicks not form caffeine in the car, but from venting loudly and crudely.

The happiness I’m talking about is more long-lasting. It comes from having more time to spend with other people. No, being trapped in a tin can surrounded by hundreds of other people similarly trapped does not count as quality time spent with others.

If fumes make you fume, then you are depleting your supply of happiness. It’s time for you to trade places with a driver on the other side and work closer to home.

Reality is for people who cannot fake feeling festive

faking-realityThank goodness another festive season is history. Years ago I saw this bumper sticker: Reality is for people who cannot handle drugs. That is so 1960s that I will now modify it for our time. It’s quite a list.

Reality is for people who cannot handle video games, texting, social media, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, smart phones, apps, tablets. . . .  Tablets? How did we get back to drugs?

I’ll tell you how. We got back to drugs because we cannot cope with unintended consequences. Technology has boosted our control freak natures so much that we forget that human actions easily trigger more than one outcome.

Unintended outcomes happen when thinking goes wrong. And thinking goes wrong when we struggle with what is real. Like during festive times of year when reality becomes even more unreal.

Which is why I conclude that reality is for people who cannot fake feeling festive.

It’s over once you celebrate

celebrate-too-soonEven if you are feeling festive, don’t celebrate too soon. Keep in mind that nothing is over until it is over. We tend to forget this because we don’t bother to distinguish between goal-directed activity and goal activity.

Let me explain. Goal-directed activity is what we do to reach a goal. Goal activity is what we do when we reach the goal.

Doing things to achieve a goal tends to increase our need or desire; enjoying the results reduces our need and desire.

Here is a good example. Preparing dinner is goal-directed activity. The closer you get to the end of making dinner, the hungrier you become. Eating dinner is goal activity. The more you eat, the less hungry you become. Simple!

Why does this distinction matter? If you celebrate the end of a project before it is totally done, you will struggle to get people to wrap up the loose ends and finish it completely.

Are you a festive communicator?

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