Listening 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

Targeting Problems is Good, Targeting People is Evil
I have said and done evil things, although I didn’t think they were at the time. I did intend to do harm to others, but that was justified, I thought, because they were bad people who had to be forced out, or at least neutralized. I have also been the target of evil intentions and been forced out and been neutralized. A few times, I have spoken with or tried to recruit onlookers, who said they couldn’t tell who was in the right and who was in the wrong because both groups acted the same way and used the same weapons against each other. They were cowards, I thought, afraid to take a stand. I was wrong.

You do evil when you attack another person. When the thing that you criticize is an integral part of a person – their race, their religion, their background, their personality, their intelligence, their sanity -- you are attacking the person. When the thing that you criticize is something they can’t change, you are attacking the person. When you fight that way, there is no way that they can ever agree with you. It is a fight to the death. One of you must be destroyed. That is evil, no matter who is doing it, no matter why.

You do good when you attack a problem. When the thing that you criticize is something a person has said or done, they can listen to you and agree that they should not have said it or done it, or not. When the thing that you criticize is something they can change, they can listen to you and decide to change it. When you fight that way, there is a possibility that they can agree with you. You can talk until one of you convinces the other or until you know that neither of you will convince the other and adapt your plans accordingly. No one has to be destroyed.

It is all right to criticize or disagree with what someone says or does. What they say or do can even be “unacceptable”, as in, I can’t live with that or I can’t work with that. It may seem like it is the same as attacking the person, if you believe that they “can’t help it”, but it is not. Everyone is accountable for what they say and do, no matter what their limitations are. And everyone deserves to know what is required in any given situation and to have the opportunity to meet the requirements, if they want to, if they can.

It is evil to try to achieve a goal by attacking someone, no matter how much they seem to be obstructing the goal, no matter how noble the goal is. It is wrong to save yourself (or your goals) by destroying someone. Your goals must not require someone’s destruction. I don’t mean that you should give up a goal if someone opposes it. You should fight for your goals. But, a good fight has a way out for both opponents and, if they get in trouble, a way for them to redeem themselves and be forgiven.

Sometimes people in a business or a relationship stay together even when their goals are so far apart that there is no way that it can work. At the time, breaking up seems unthinkable. There aren’t enough assets to put everyone in a comfortable position if they split. It would be so costly. It would be so messy. But that is what must be done. Because what happens if they don’t is so much more terrible than that.

Evil words and actions are easy to identify. They are targeted at a person. Saying that someone is evil (or stupid or lazy or whatever), is evil. Saying that someone has said or done something evil (or made a mistake or did not complete an assignment on time), is not. Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to get rid of an enemy is to make him a friend.” If you attack only the things that come between you and the other person, you allow them to be your friend. If you attack the other person, you make it impossible for them to be anything but your enemy.

It is especially dangerous for a good person to do an evil thing, whether it is intentional or not. If you are good, you cannot use evil for any purpose because it will destroy you. If you have achieved any power or prominence because of the good things you have done, the consequences will be that much swifter. Power is not something you can get for yourself. Power is given to you by other people, for a reason. If people have been attracted to you and support you because of the good you do, it is those good people who will be right there to confront you and expose you for any evil you might contemplate. At the very least, people who care about doing good will leave you. Then the only people around you will be the ones who are attracted to you because of the evil that you do.

Next Section: If You Want Someone To Do Something for You, You Have to Be Completely on Their Side

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