Food for Thought – It Starts with Me

Some days some things make me crazy.  When that happens, I tend NOT to write about it.  But something I read last night kind of summed up how I had been feeling.  So here goes.
A good friend’s daughter experienced the loss of her husband; they were in their 20s with a new baby girl when disease took his life.  The grief that this young lady has allowed her “friends” to see is unimaginable.  It is through this young lady that I heard about the book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.  She would post quotes from the book and I was intrigued.
Then recently one of my good high school friends lost her husband somewhat unexpectedly.  This particualr friend had a hell of an upbringing and had persevered and triumphed, so in my heart I knew she would eventually be okay, but my heart hurt for her.  I thought about the book Option B and I picked up two copies.  
I finished reading my copy last night and I have sent my friend a copy.  Let’s just say if you have expereinced the loss of a loved one or if your friend has experienced a loss, this is a great book on how to handle the grief and the memory of the loved one.  
It is written by Sheryl Sandberg.  Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity.  “I want Dave,” she cried.  Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
“We all live some form of Option B.  This book will help us all make the most of it.”

Bracelet from great nephews — an ALS fundraiser.

Last night as I was reading the final chapters I came across an incident that kind of sums up a lot of how I have been feeling.  The book is co-authored by Adam Grant.  The chapter is Failing and Learning at Work.

“When Adam was in graduate school, he was terrified of public speaking.  After his first interview for a teaching job, he was told that he would never make it in the classroom because he wouldn’t command enough respect from hard-nosed business school students.  He began volunteering to give guest lectures.  He only had 1 hour to win over the students.  At the end of every lecture he handed out feedback forms asking how he could be more engaging and effective.  The comments were not fun to read.  BUT he did this consistently and he improved.  When he started teaching his own class he did the same thing and then he e-mailed the students the full set of comments.  He opened his next class with an analysis of the major themes in his students’ comments.  A few years later, Adam became Wharton’s top-rated professor.”
Could you imagine if companies were open to this kind of feedback from their employees?  Accepting feedback is easier when you don’t take it personally.  Being open to criticism means you get even more feedback, WHICH MAKES YOU BETTER!  The ability to listen to feedback is a sign of resilience, and some of those who do it best gained that strength in the hardest way possible.
My absolute favorite paragraph is this, “When companies fail, it’s usually for reasons that almost everyone knows but almost no one has voiced.  When someone isn’t making good decisions, few have the guts to tell that person, especially if that person is the boss.”
If you own a company, are you meek enough to ask your employees for anonymous feedback on how things might be done better?   If you are the boss, do you just shoot down a suggestion as soon as it comes out of your employee’s mouth?    
I know that some of my readers will think I am referring to a certain organization and other of my readers will think I’m referring to a different organization.  Yes both did cross my mind, but it starts with me.  I’m a boss.  Dave’s a boss.  Are we willing to accept feedback in order to better ourselves and the business?   Meekness is a fruit of the spirit.  Are we demonstratig meekness? Food for thought for sure.

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