Knowing 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:

KNOWING
---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

LISTENING
---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

SPEAKING
---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

People Are What They Are and It's Irrelevant Anyway
I have often complained about another person, expecting the listener to understand that it was impossible for me to work with this other person because of what he or she “is” -- lazy, stupid, or whatever. Often, the person listening to me agreed. They didn’t want to work with lazy or stupid people either. But that was when I believed that I could actually figure out what a person “is”, and that what a person “is” matters.

There was a clue that I wasn’t very good at figuring out what people “are”. The clue was that it was usually easier to get agreement that someone was impossible to work with if the person I was talking to didn’t know the person I was talking about. If the only information they had was what I was telling them, they usually saw it my way. But, if the person I was talking to did know the person I was talking about, I often got an argument from them. They saw the other person differently than I did.

Another clue was that even people that seemed lazy, stupid, or bad to me had friends, too. And sometimes, the people who liked them were people that I liked. Of course, there was always an explanation for that – the bad person that I didn’t like had fooled the good person that I liked – but there was another explanation. They saw the other person differently than I did.

And even if I could get someone who knew the person to agree with me, there always seemed to be someone else who disagreed. Or we all agreed that someone had one attribute, but still disagreed on whether it was important, or on what other qualities or defects they had and how important those were. So, we might all have been looking at the same person, but each of us might put that person in a different box, depending on what we thought was their most important or dominant quality or defect.

Of course, it could be that I was an exceptionally bad judge of people, but I don’t think the problem was my skill at it. I think the problem was in judging people at all. People seem different to other people because they are different in different situations and at different times. New experiences and insights change people and give them attributes they never had before. And people are many things at once.

I am intelligent if you talk to me about my work. I am stupid if you talk to me about art. I am full of energy for answering calls, getting claims paid, troubleshooting computer problems, and generally figuring out how to get my job done. I am incredibly lazy at housekeeping. I am kind, cooperative, and understanding with people who help me achieve my goals. I am suspicious and critical of people who try to prevent me from reaching my goals. I have finally learned that I need to get those people on my side, if I can, instead of fighting with them.

People are a conflicting conglomeration of thoughts, emotions, experiences, skills, ineptitudes, qualities, and defects. No one is perfect, or its opposite, for that matter. One word cannot sum up a person. People will not be just one thing because it is easier to deal with them that way. People will not change to suit our purposes. They are what they are. And it doesn’t matter.

For us to do the right thing and accomplish all our goals, it is not other people who must be something in particular, it is us. To do the right thing and accomplish all our goals, we must be consistent and fair and unbiased -- we must treat each person the same as we treat every other person, no matter who they are, no matter what they are. People are what they are and it doesn’t matter what they are. For us to do the right thing and accomplish all our goals, what we say and do cannot depend on what anyone else “is”.

We must treat our allies well, so they will continue to be our allies, and because it is the right thing to do. We must treat our opponents well, so that it is possible for them to become our allies, and because it is the right thing to do. If we treat our allies well and our opponents badly, we are not trying to achieve a goal, we are trying to win a power struggle. Both our allies and our opponents will know it and neither of them will think it is a good thing. Nobody wants to be a pawn. If we believe our goals are good, we must keep trying to convince our opponents and keep trying to include them in the work and in the reward. If we give up on our opponents, we obviously don’t believe that the goal is good for them, too. We prove that they were right to oppose us. We give up on our own goal.

To accomplish our goals, we don’t need other people to be something, we need them to do something. To do something, people only have to understand what we want, agree with the goal, know how to do some part of it, and be willing to do it.

It is not necessary or productive for us to figure out what people “are”, which is good, since it is nearly impossible.



Next Section: We Don't Know What Other People Are Capable of Achieving

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