Spirited Debate on LO LO6675

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
14 Apr 96 01:29:07 EDT

Replying to LO6643 --

In a posting on this issue, Ray said,

"I was very surprised at the emotional responses the term [bureaucrats]
generated. And no action was taken on the problem until consultants were
called in a couple years later. A few years later when the VP was leaving
the company for a better opportunity he said, "Well Ray, here's one less
bureaucrat to slow things down." A member of his staff referred to the
incident 5 years later! I had no idea their feelings could be hurt in any
businesslike setting during an objective discussion. It appears the term
attacked their self image as hard driving dynamic efficient doers (which
they all are).

The point is that emotions severely interfere with effective dialog and
should be avoided most of the time. Communications are difficult enough
without the added impediment of emotional responses. And one cannot
estimate the response of others based on what their own response might be
to words, phrases, etcetera. I now think in terms of "say unto others as
They would have me say unto Them". The tough part is figuring out what
that is, but in general, soft works better than hard."

=== End quote ===

This is very accurate. I too have seen this many times, and it interferes
with getting things done. However, I don't think this contradicts Hal's
point at all. As Ray himself has said, in calling them bureaucrats, he
mis-characterized them to some extent. Ray said they were hard driving
dynamic efficient doers. It is not surprising they could not understand
his point. They could not envision themselves as bureaucrats because they
were not.

In a similar situation I had the experience of telling someone that his
behavior caused people to perceive him as an alcoholic. He was shocked.
As a consequence of my clear, blunt message, he understood that his
behavior was a problem. By characterizing his behavior -- not HIM -- I
let him see the problem without attacking him. He had the choice of how
to deal with the problem. We jointly developed a plan that solved the
problem. There is no doubt in my mind that the problem would have
continued -- no learning would have occurred -- without intervention, and
he would have been fired. As it was, he worked out his problems and was a
valuable and constructive employee until his retirement.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc. 76234.3636@compuserve.com

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>