dimanche 26 février 2012

Thomas Jefferson and I have some disagreements which I may address in some forthcoming work; meanwhile, among his educational insights in his first inaugural address is our tendency to leave our offices with less than the reputations we hold upon entry. Going beyond merely promising to do his best, Jefferson reminds us, "when right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional, and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts." A valuable lesson I prefer to share with all from Presidential candidates to CEOs I learned while working in Customer Support in a software company during 2000. Let us describe a hypothetical worst case situation being as having nor product nor internal process you discern stands for the values you prefer to uphold, yet, your shelter and food are derived from your representation of that. In your spare time you may continue what high-mindedness evades the degradation of others. The contradiction of that hypothetical situation includes your human customers' best interests which, were the money on the table a negligible amount, you could serve best by telling would-be customers to go away. Happily that hypothetical situation differs from my real experience in which there were millions on the table. Thus we established friendly routines for weekly updates of progress, reduced expectations and focused on relatedness and communication. Benefits include the acceptability of 4:00 am phone calls. The magic happened in having expectations reduced so low, all progress became interpreted as good news, even when the progress report for the week was an update one year late. I think leaders in our societies from national candidates standing for election to corporate chiefs might benefit from this technique of (a) reducing expectations while building rapport in support of (b) honest progress reports which transmit true data on a regular schedule, especially about toxic assets. This technique far exceeds the traditional approach of keeping secrets and I think may respond as a winning strategy to Jefferson's correct insight: reputations tend to deplete with time by traditional public relations. Bill Maher recently reminded us all, a winning technique in public relations is to always bring one's wallet. My experience is, we may also routinely bring our honest report of the progress made so far in the area of cleaning up toxic assets, inside the managed context of nil expectation with friendly benefits.

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