Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2007
TALKING IN ABSOLUTES
"That will never work!"
We can vary those statements by adding "he" or "she", but the key is that we should start listening to our language.
When I do my seminars on workplace relations and we talk about how we are going to change the culture and how we are going to eliminate 2% behaviour, there is usually someone in the room who blurts out, "Yes as if that will happen. You will never be able to fire her!".
I get disheartened on two levels. First, it is really sad that we seem to concentrate on the bad rather than the good that can come out of something and second, that we get damaged so much by others' actions that we cannot see the good.
When we say to someone, "you never pick up your cloths" or "I always have to be the one to pick up after you", we are damaging the other person. By using these absolute phrases, we are not acknowledging the fact that maybe, just maybe the phrase is inaccurate.
When we use terms like, "that will never work" we are not giving the situation or the person a chance. Remember how you feel when others say that to you.
"I don't know why you are doing that (fill in your name), that will never work." Either you get frustrated and give up or you get stubborn and you continue on even if that statement was true.
By using those terms you also come across as a very negative person who people just don't want to be around. People like to be around others who are upbeat and happy.
Here are some suggestions if you need to comment on something that you think will not work or if you have had bad experiences with certain people in the past.
"Are you sure that will work?"
"My experience is that it may be difficult to change the culture here."
"From time to time, she..."
"I need you to..."
Remember to tell others what you need, not what they are doing wrong.
Finally keep in mind that there is no such thing as "never". I have seen people who make that statement regret it when in fact something changes and they do what they said they would "never" do.
Start thinking in the positive, not the negative and your life will change because your outlook will change. If you drive down the street and say that you will "never" find a parking spot, I guarantee that that will be the outcome more times than not. I generally get a parking spot in front of the place I need it.
Take care and I know you "always" enjoy the Caravan.
By Pierre R. Ouellette Hon.B.A., LL.B.
I regularly speak to students involved in co-op programs. One of the things I try explaining is a proverbial ‘fact of life’ they could expect to face when out in the so-called ‘real world’. That fact was that a 90% average may be wonderful in school but could be disastrous at their placements. By a happy coincidence I recently came across a piece that should help me illustrate my point in the future!
If 99.9% was good enough then...
* 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily
* 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped per year
* 18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled per hour
* 2,000,000 documents will be lost by the IRS per year
* 2.5 million books will be shipped with the wrong cover
* 315 entries in Webster’s Dictionary will be misspelled
* 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written per year
* 103,260 income tax returns will be processed incorrectly per year
* 5.5 million cases of soft drinks produced will be flat
* 2 planes everyday would land unsafely at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport
* 291 pacemaker operations will be performed incorrectly
* 3056 copies of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal will be missing one of the three sections
* 880,000 credit cards will have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips
- The Daytripper newspaper - Vol.13 Issue 1
I hope this will make those students sit up and take notice! Heck it certainly made me pay attention!!
As usual I welcome your comments and observations and can be reached at Pierre@CooperativeAction.com.
Quote of the Month
Submitted by Brodi Mouradian
To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
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