Wednesday, November 17, 2010

children in grown up bodies


occasionally my work inspires me for my ideas of what to write here and today I am filled with a desire to vent.

I am regularly reminded that while our bodies age, and our vocabularies increase, the level of maturity is not guaranteed to follow. Moreover wisdom may never come to an individual despite many opportunities because they are lost in a selfish mode that has served them well. Make no mistake, I believe the selfish do not acquire wisdom and that it is clearly a gift resulting from selflessness.

What has irritated me today is people who don't understand that to work together you need to offer constructive feedback or solutions to each other.
  • Telling someone that their plan is bad is not helpful, at all. 
  • Pontificating about how your own plan might possibly be different, and better, and more like a theory that you had had is also not helpful. 
  • What is helpful is drawing attention to a particular point that you think you can offer an option or an alternative too. 
Sadly though some people get used to others allowing them to speak their minds without any tangible contribution to the conversation, other than to voice their idea, which they have heard before and is not relevant to the discussions or decisions at hand. Incredible. Must be nice to be so important that people must listen to you despite the fact that its not helpful.

Sadly I almost laughed because while the "feedback" was coming in I likened it to my kids and their wild requests that come in from time to time. It goes something like this:

"Would you like to work together to clean up your lego so its easier for you to build new things?"

"No, I would like to take an inventory of all my lego and throw out the stuff I don't like and buy new stuff!"

"I see, do you realize that we could spend more time playing if we just cleaned it up and you could start playing"

"I want new stuff. New stuff is better. Obviously I can't make good things with old stuff. Because you won't think about new stuff your ideas are old, outdated and bad."

"Ok, but we have discussed many times before how we could organize your lego better, so now we just need to get into action and start to look at doing it. If you like we can do the first idea and see how that goes and do more."

"Did I not make myself clear? Only cool people build lego with the new themese and the new way of doing things. I would rather sit here and complain about the old way of doing things, even if I don't get my way, than fix the old way and get to play"

I find it interesting when I talk to people about this and I relate one of the issues embedded in this is related to their expectations of resistance or over selling and under delivering. Take for instance the Toyota stance on car pricing. You can generally expect that the price posted on their web site is close to what you would pay. Walk across the street to the GM dealership and you can hack thousands off the sticker price. So if you go into the world thinking that others will take advantage of you unless you kick and scream until they give you what you want you tend to think its fair game to demand more of others assuming that they will just negotiate back.

As an honest person this really tickets me off however. When I create an estimate for something (some piece of work) I use my expertise and experience to assess the right method of attack and the resulting target for completion. I allow for some contingency depending on the risks, I am not an idiot, but I do not "pad" my estimates because I like to have some free time or because I like to let the customer include things "for free" or because I am lazy. So when the wrong kind of person comes along who does "pad" and has those assumptions I am going to clash with them. To make matters worse, when the same issue happens with ideas wherein I proposed an idea to a solution, taking into account the reality of the situation, I am proposing the best that I think can be done in the time allowed. I am not, as the "padder" thinks choosing the least effort solution hoping to impress in the end by doing more. I want a realistic target and realistic expectations.

Kinda like the difference between the smaller tablets and the Ipad. Gotta "pad" the size of the screen to over compensate for the actual work its going to do with you. ;-)

so people, please be kind to each other and helpful. We have enough backseat geniuses out there and us drivers are really thinking of installing a privacy shield to block them out.

ok, I feel better now. 

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