Wednesday, August 17, 2005

why can't people say I was wrong or I don't know?

Maybe it is because I went to a school where I knew that some kids were smarter than me and learned to go to them for help with particular subjects, but why is it so hard for so many people to admit a mistake, an error, or ignorance? How hard is it to admit "I do not know"?

I find that in the corporate world, because people never want to show any vulnerability, people will give half answers or circles of BS rather than admitting they do not know the answer. I understand the need to spin BS sometimes, but simple instances of ignorance are ok. Nobody knows everything. This reaction is not because of my interaction with trainees today but rooted deeper.

I think a great tool for learning is asking questions and beign honest with ones lack of experience or knowledge with a particular concept. Some concepts are difficult to learn, and people learn in different ways. Asking questions is a way to gain knowledge. It is also not a sign of failure to not know something. In fact, if you do not know what someone might consider a basic part fo your job it is most likely a failure of your manager, mentor or trainer. Those people are ultimately responsible for your base knowledge. If someone does not know an intricate piece of their job, it is a sign that they need education in that piece or can be a sign of inexperience. Everyone nowadays seems afraid that if they admit wrongdoing of any kind they will be terminated. It just does not work like that........

...they are much more likely to fire you when you question a VP's ideas or judgment. Pack your bags for that offense. Corporate America in most instances will reward average people who do not rock the boat rather than brilliant people who question the norm and create change. That might because the managerial theory exhibited by most managers/supervisors is the CYA (cover your @ss), personal empire model. Obedience will be rewarded since it will not challenge their standing with their superiors. Even poor performance can be dealt with if you do not challenge the boss. (That is a perfect description of how things worked at my old job.)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw

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