I was reading the excellent blog of Bob Sutton recently, and in the left hand column, he had a list of 15 things he believes (about organizational life.) His list is astute, but it got me thinking about things I believe – in general. Here’s a start on my list.
1. People are intrinsically good. They mean well, want to do right. I have certainly witnessed many behaviors to the contrary, which I guess are the exceptions that prove the rule, but I believe that most people most of the time want to act morally and ethically.
2. Positive thinking really works. Henry Ford said, “whether you believe you can or not, you are right.” Or something like that. The other thing about positive thinking is that it is much better than the opposite. When I’m around negative people I feel the weight of all their negative energy dragging me down. It’s easy to fall victim to that mentality, so I much prefer to surround myself with positive thinkers, people who believe in themselves and others.
3. It pays to be nice to Mother Nature. We owe it to our children and to our parents to respect the earth. Recycle, even when it is a lot of trouble. Plant a tree (or a flower). Set a spider free. Feed the birds. Don’t kill honey bees, even if you are afraid they will sting you. Use less energy. The list could go on forever, but you get the idea.
4. Indolent is worse than stupid. People can’t help the brains they were born with. Well, maybe they can read more, study harder, apply themselves to improving the use of their brains, but basically either you’re smart or you aren’t. But indolent is another thing all together. In my 25 years or so of management, I have run across a lot of indolence – people just not caring about the quality of their work, their output, their attention to detail, their general usefulness to their employer. That I cannot tolerate. Ignorance is understandable, indolence is not.
5. People should be more considerate of each other – friends and strangers alike. It feels so good when someone lets you out in traffic, or when I see someone pick up trash in the street, or when the guy behind you in line gives you the nickel so you don’t have to break a $20. As a society we do not pay enough attention to being considerate of our fellow citizens. Being considerate of friends and family is definitely important, but that is sort of expected. But strangers? No one expects us to be nice to strangers, really, which makes it all the more special and important.