I’ve been working with a group of pre and early teens and we’ve been talking about perceptions and reality. In our last meeting, I asked if they have ever greeted someone and not been greeted in return. Emphatically – yes!
So I broke them up into small groups and asked them to come up with a list of at least 15 reasons why someone they greeted would not respond.
At first they listed things like this:
- They hate me
- They are mean
- They are rude
- They are a bully
- They are racist
It took awhile for them to start coming up with reasons like this:
I walked around the corner and into the office. The moment I saw her, I knew I was going to employ her. A high performing employee had referred her. She was professionally attired, already chatting with others on the team, and I knew that she had an impressive resume.
In spite of everything that looked so positive, I kept the interview consistent with all others. And not surprisingly, she soared through the first few questions.
And then I asked my favorite one.
We’ve all been there…
When our boss hires a friend:
- Then the friend leverages that relationship to charm their way out of responsibility and accountability.
When laws are created for the good of all:
- But certain groups are consistently exempt from the law.
When an executive relocates:
Inconsistency is unfair and confusing. It creates stress, erodes trust, increases frustration, wears people out, decreases ownership and limits potential.
On the flip side of that, fairness:
I recently visited a high school that has invested years teaching their students to be activists.
While that effort alone is impressive. The uncommon skill they are teaching, and modeling for the students is even more so.
Through instruction and experience, their students are learning that a healthy culture is a balanced culture. And that in a balanced culture it is possible to think critically and to be compassionate.
They are learning how to shine a bright light on truth with data and personal experiences. …While getting involved with, and loving people that have made choices they disagree with.
They are engaging people and growing their cause because of their unique approach. And the impact they are having on the students, families and the community is beyond impressive.
What those students and their families may not realize:
- Is that it is uncommon it is to learn to balance challenging concepts.
- This skill will benefit every part of their lives in the years to come. (As individuals. with their families, in the businesses and non profits they will serve and within the communities and nation they will live in.)
Now imagine the cultures you are a part of:
Are Truth and Love strategically poured into the foundation and the future?
Some people and organizations hate conflict.
- Judgmental words
- Explosive behavior
- Relationships struggling or ending
Then they allow that fear to drive their results!
- Some feel victimized by the past and hold so tightly to those emotions that they experience less joy and less productivity.
- Others have rumbling fires of anger burning about present issues. Occasionally smoke seeps out as they vent to those closest to them. As those fires continue to grow everyone is at risk of their eventual eruption.
- Some are unwilling to learn an alternative way of dealing with conflict.
- Others don’t realize there is an alternative.
- And none realize that their choice to wait for the other party to change, is spreading growth-eating bacteria throughout their organization.