Vincent Writes

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Interlude: Do what you do best

war_and_peace_1956.jpgNote: I decided to rework the first paragraph a little.

It’s funny how we perceive people. Yesterday, I had a discussion with my 19-year old brother about his social behaviour, which can sometimes be called “dick-like.” I did not mean this as an insult, rather I told him to turn what might be perceived as a weakness into a strength. Because believe it or not, sometimes the world needs people to be a little unpleasant. 

The point is that we are all good for something in life, while society is trying to turn us into mindless drones all good for the same thing: be nice. That’s not good at all. In a project—and I remember listening to a podcast about this at some point—there are number of diverse, but vital roles. There’s the pusher, there’s the devil’s advocate, and there’s the mediator. Only the latter has to be nice. The first has to do, and the second has to keep it real.

How do you notice what you are? I think you notice by doing stuff and measuring your own level of uncomfortableness. Mediators are used to finding the middle-ground, and will feel uncomfortable having to choose sides that make other sides unhappy. Pushers want to do and feel uncomfortable sitting still. And the real-keepers feel uncomfortable in the unreal setting.

Society is a bunch of people, who all fit in different camps and really want other people to be more like them. But what they often don’t realise is that if everyone was the same, we would all be making the same mistakes. There would be no growth. Society needs arguments, wars, the occasional explosion, because it shows truth (can you tell my star-sign is Aries – god of war?). After which things need to get done to fix what happened and we finally need to head in the right direction.

The reason I write this, as unrelated to this blog as it may seem, is because every single project will suffer from people-problems. There will be majority and minority groups, there will be a vision that may not match all these groups. There will be a reality that may not match that vision. And there needs to be a middle-ground so that the people and the organisation can continue to function, while growing at the positive rate that it should.

What this means, in a managerial context, is that teams should consist of vital counter-figures, to create a cocktail of vision, execution, reality, and diplomacy. And the best way is to choose people who do what they do best. Not people who bend at every breeze (though during storms, it can be wise to bend), but people who put up a good fight for what they believe in.

OK, my philosophical point, which was inspired by countless hours of sleep-deprivation, is now over. Tomorrow, I’ll get back to business as usual. The picture is of course of the movie “War and Peace,” based on the equally-titled book by Tolstoy, recently released in a new and better translation .

1 Comment

  1. Your blog is really excellent. It inspires the readers who has that great desire to lead a better and happier life. Thanks for sharing this information and hope to read more from you.

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