Thursday, April 14, 2011

i-TFTD #314: On Criticism

#314-1. Whining is a reverse placebo. When you get good at whining, you start noticing evidence that makes your whining more true.
-Seth Godin, Marketer and Author (1960-)

#314-2. Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.
-Gene Fowler, journalist and author (1890-1960)

#314-3. Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain—and most fools do.
-Dale Carnegie, American self-improvement guru and author of 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' and other bestseller books (1888–1955)

Complaining about the right thing to the right person at the right time is neces! sary but whining is ineffective complaining. A related concept is escalation, an essential skill to possess in today’s system-driven, matrix-structured global organizations. Many people confuse the art of escalation with complaining. If you do not escalate a matter to your boss in time, you not only lose the defensive opportunity to protect your interest, but are shutting the door to obtaining a solution in a timely manner. If you escalate to someone else’s higher-ups you may temporarily make the person unhappy but you will generally find that in the long term it results in respect and responsiveness. This, of course, assumes that you have been fair and transparent in attempting to get a business objective met and resorted to escalation only when reasonable follow-ups did not yield timely response.

When we face criticism or opposition it is useful to consider what the other person wants instead of focusing on fighting the opposition per se.

One should guard ! against acquiring the reputation of being a whiner. A handy technique one manager I know uses to curb this tendency in his team is to tell them, “Come to me with any complaint or problem but state it and then give at least one possible solution or suggestion even if it requires someone else to do something.”

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