Speaking from Doing the Right Thing and Achieving All Your Goals at the Same Time
Doing the Right Thing is a book about people who work in offices, why we fight, and how we can stop fighting, solve our problems, and get back to work. All materials on this site Copyright © Marianne Powers 2002. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    Next

Doing the Right Thing and Achieving All Your Goals at the Same Time

Full Book Outline:

---People Are What They Are and It's Irrelevant Anyway
---We Don't Know What Other People Are Capable of Achieving
---People Are Not Accountable for Their Thoughts and Feelings
---We Don't Know What Other People are Thinking and Feeling
---People Are Accountable for Their Words and Actions
---Assume Everyone is Doing the Best They Can
---Assume Everyone Has a Good Reason for What They Say and Do

---Listen Very Carefully
---Welcome Information, Criticism is Information
---If You Have a Choice, Don't Choose to be Hurt
---Examine Your Motives
---Targeting Problems is Good, Targeting People is Evil
---If You Want Someone to Do Something for You, You Have to Be Completely on Their Side
---When People Don't Understand, Listen Better

---State Your Position Clearly and Ask for What You Want Specifically
---Tell Them Even If You Know They Won't Understand
---All You Can Do is Tell Them, You Can't Make Anyone Do Anything
---When People Don't Meet Your Expectations, Change Your Expectations
---Give Them 100 Tries to Get It Right
---If They Can't Get It Right in 100 Tries, There Must Be Something Wrong with the Procedure
---Teach Everyone to Do Everything

Tell Them Even If You Know They Won't Understand
You have to tell people what you want and what your goals are if you want their help. Itís true that they might not help you even if you tell them. But if you donít tell them, itís going to take a lot of luck for them to somehow stumble upon it, even if they are willing.

It may seem like people should already know what you want. But, take the time to put it into words anyway. Make what you say specific to each person you are talking to. Let them know what you want from them personally. Explain what goal or goals this will help to achieve. You will probably notice that even you did not know exactly what you wanted before you did all that, so they really couldnít have known.

It may be that after you have done all that thinking, you feel that your reasoning comes from a certain level of experience or training that your audience does not have. You might think that itís no use telling them, because they wonít understand. In this case, it is even more important that you tell them what you want and what your goals are, because it is even more unlikely that they will just happen to figure it out on their own.

Sometimes, you should explain things to people, even if they wonít understand now, because they will understand later. Sometimes, it wonít be for years! Sometimes, it just takes sleeping on it, or maybe a few days, weeks, or months, before something happens that brings it into focus. Sometimes, you can explain what you want and what the goal is at the beginning of a project, and the person you are talking to will not really understand it until they have started working on it or have gotten half way through it.

The other reason you should tell them even when you know they wonít understand is that, if you donít tell people what you want and why you want it, they will come to their own conclusions. If they really donít have sufficient experience or training (or good mind-reading ability), they will probably not figure out what you are actually thinking. If you have somehow given them the impression that you think they are too stupid to understand, they will probably not be in a charitable frame of mind when they are figuring out your motivation. But, if you have told them what you wanted and why, even if they didnít understand, they know you did have a reason and that you didnít mind stating that reason in public. They know they can get you to explain it again whenever they want. They know they can send people who need or want to know to you for the explanation.

Of course, it is not always the other personís lack of experience or training that makes it hard for them to understand you. Sometimes, itís the way you are explaining it. It is not always necessary or even desirable for people to understand things in the same way or to the same degree that you do, especially if it is not their area of expertise. Television writers are always trying to figure out ways to explain Einsteinís Theory of Relativity to me. And sometimes I even think I get it. But I donít think I understand it the way Einstein did. Still, if you canít figure out how to explain it in a way you think they will understand, tell them any way you can.

Sometimes, I remember thinking that someone wouldnít understand, but what I was really worried about was that they wouldnít believe me. This usually involved not so much what I wanted as why I wanted it. Whenever I feel that way, I know I need to make sure I understand my motives myself (both the public ones and the real ones). Then, I need to tell the truth about my motives and have no hidden agenda.

People will almost always help you achieve a goal that is good for you, good for them, and good for the group. People will sometimes help the group even if is detrimental to them personally. People will sometimes help you even if your goal is personal and what you want will benefit no one but you. Whatever the situation, you need to tell the truth about what you want and what your goals are and let people make their own decisions about whether they will help you or not.

Next Section: All You Can Do is Tell Them, You Can't Make Anyone Do Anything

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