Admittedly, my grasp has always been tenuous, but I threw out the line in a recent management training, went public. Upped even my own ante. And surprisingly learned I'm not the only one thinks we're more productive if we quit being so realistic.
A thoughtful, intelligent senior manager was regaling a typical work horror -- powerful, egomaniac colleague priding herself on hoarding information, shucking blame, pitting folks against each other, and wreaking general havoc and mayhem. He'd dug his heels deep into the office carpet over a particular battle with her, and while absolutely justified, intransigent & pouty were not his nature. He was unnerved as much by his own behavior as by her's.
So I suggested he pretend like she was a normal person, just engage as if she was the most rational, easy--to-get-along-with colleague imaginable. Act normal and expect she'd do the same. Then see what happens. Worst case, she'd still be a jerk, but at least he'd maintain his integrity. And feel better.
I'm not sure he took my advice. (He's a psychiatrist; flights into imaginary fancy are kinda frowned upon in his business.) But I got lots of other head-nods.
Seems many of us are weary of reality's game. Screw it, we're saying. And not with muffled voices buried in the sand. But with a fledgling recognition that we -- the good, honest, compassionate, kind, decent folk -- actually outnumber those who are greedy, mean, violent, and power-hungry. They've been louder, richer, and sure get more prime-time attention. But we outnumber 'em. By a lot.
So let's pretend -- better yet, imagine & intend & assume -- that our values run the world's show instead. Telling that crappy co-worker, lousy teacher, rude sales clerk, or even the Guantanamo torture-memo authors, the encroaching Taleban insurgents, the Burmese junta, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir & his Darfur genocide, the pesticide executives harassing Michelle Obama about her organic garden ...I'm sorry, that's not how we play this game.
I'm in San Antonio and besides the warm weather, riverwalk dining, prickly pear margaritas (the most luscious shade of bright pink), Lee Ann & I are teaching our annual management training. End of today we showed the first two segments of Marcus Buckingham's Trombone Player Wanted, (download parts 1 & 2 free on iTunes).
It always makes me cry. Not cause he's so adorably cute, dimpled chin, sky bright blue eyes and everything ... but 'cause he encourages, with passion unprecedented, that we all go with our strengths. Not our responsibilities. Not what we've grown into. Not even what we're good at. But what we knew age 5 and 8 and intensely 14 those few things that carried the blood through our souls.
This clip doesn't do justice, but it's short enough to entice. And ya get to see the dimple ...