Stand-up comedians like to say that the ability to deal with heckling outweighs the best material. If you can’t talk back at the speed of light, you’re lost.
I was listening to a team describing their experience of a recent (unsuccessful) change programme.
Apparently the consultants in question had accused them of viewing the process in a ‘glass half empty’ way.
‘Half empty?’ retorted one wit. ‘Its broken, mate’.
Insisting on glossing over the ‘not so good’, and attempting a constantly positive take on things really is a painfully counterproductive approach. I am always looking for light but helpful ways of getting stuck into ‘what happened here’.
Pretending it’s all OK is not OK.
And yet… revelling too assiduously in all that went wrong can really turn everyone into Eeyore.
I think the trick is to follow the lead of the inspired team who set up the Library of Mistakes in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. Of all the human activity areas in the world to display an almost superpowered reluctance to analyse (even acknowledge) their past errors…step up, Finance and Government.
How wonderful to establish somewhere to study – thoroughly yet compassionately – ‘000s of examples of mismanagement, and to try to understand why ‘smart people keep doing stupid things’.
Thrillingly, the keeper of the library is called ‘The Errorist in Chief’.
See you there, fellow errorists.
I’ll be looking at the 2016 volumes. It’s quite a big section………