Nonsense At Work

#89: November 2014 MindShift

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

November 2014

Conveniently Meet Bad Shrinking Life

Conveniently right brained

conveniently-rightFinally, proof that business people have split brains. No, not left brain right brain. I mean right-brain wrong-brain. Actually, we all do it. We easily switch brains, depending on what we want.

In the quest for the sweet life, a wrong can easily be repackaged as a right. For example, we know how bad it is for children to eat too much sugar. Yet, there is a shortage of food company executives who admit that it is wrong to sell sugary foods. Are all food executives childless?

But let’s stay closer to home: We have parents who are vocal about healthy foods, yet all the while padding their retirement fund with stocks in companies that profit from selling unhealthy foods.

We are all guilty of right-brain wrong-brain thinking. The trick is to develop enough backbone to stand more often on the right side and less on the conveniently right side.

Compelled to meet

MeetingMeetings, meetings, bl. . boring meetings. Are you also tired of unproductive meetings? Here’s how to get out of them, constructively.

But first, let’s define ‘unproductive meeting’. It depends. Meetings can be useful, but not necessarily useful in equal measure to all attendees. Some will find the meeting more effective than others.

Want to know which camp you fall into before the meeting? Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t attend? And what good can I do if I do attend?” If your answers are trivial, then ask the meeting convener the same questions. “What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t attend? And what do you expect me to contribute if I do attend?” If you are not given compelling reasons, then stay away.

However, if the convener is your boss, and the compelling reason is “you keep your job”, then by all means attend.

Can the bad, then raise the praise

can-the-badWe have lots of bamboo drying in our yard, which makes me misty-eyed thinking of my school days. No, I don’t miss them. My tears come from remembering being caned whenever Teacher wanted to exercise his batting arm.

It seems that every generation repeats the same old debate: should we reward good behavior or punish bad?

Fifty percent of adults believe that to influence a child’s behavior for the better, we should encourage the better behavior instead of punishing the bad. All other adults believe that punishment works quickest.

What about at work? As a manager, should you focus on good or fixate on bad? Always fixate on bad. Remember, adults at work, unlike kids at home, can pack up and leave. This is exactly what your good people will do if they must constantly deal with bad, whether bad work, bad behavior or bad attitude.

So, can the bad before you raise the praise.

Bigger who for shrinking what

doctorThere is nothing like applying for a life insurance policy for forcing you to face the reality of what you have become. Suddenly, you find yourself being judged by a stranger. Embarrassed, you feel compelled to defend your habits, your lifestyle and your waistline.

By now you know there are only three ways of changing. By adding, subtracting or redesigning. I have gone through the adding phase and now I am trying hard to change by subtracting what I so easily added on.

Redesign is not an option; in many ways, physically, I am what I am. It is this ‘what’ that a life policy aims to insure, the very part that I cannot easily redesign.

Well, actuaries are wrong! My value is not in my ‘what’, but in my ‘who’. And I have the power to redesign the ‘who’ I am. I can still become a bigger ‘who’, even as I shrink my ‘what’.

Life geared to one speed

bike-one-speedWhenever I’m forced to stop for a big yellow bus, I remember how I got to school: by bicycle; come rain or shine. (If it rained hard in the morning, my bike was given a ride to school by car. If it rained in the afternoon, well, I could dry off at home.)

My bike had one gear or no gears, depending on your engineering know-how. Going uphill or downhill, the pedaling was the same. I never learned about gears first-hand. I never experienced how engaging a lower gear makes pedaling easier uphill. And how not engaging a higher gear on the downhill could have serious consequences.

And so I tackled life with one gear, going at the same pace whether working or vacationing. I am wiser now and I can spot people who grew up with multi-geared bicycles making the same mistake, living life at one speed. At least I had ignorance as an excuse.

Are you geared to one speed?

Welcome to our side of the nonsense divide


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