Friday, April 10, 2009

Why did it take me so long to learn...

  • Never write an email response when I'm angry. Waiting 24 hours can mean the difference between a relationship-straining diatribe (and looking whiny) and a rational appraisal of a situation with reasonable recommendations.
  • Don't use "Reply All" to show others how smart I am by taking on [whatever, whoever]. I now limit my distribution of "I think you did something wrong" e-mails to the individual. The serendipity is that half the time I'm wrong, and I'm saved the public embarrassment of their "Reply All" that makes that obvious to the world. I took a course in grad school that helped me analyze my interaction style. I titled the summary paper that described my newly found insight "You're Wrong and I Must Warn the Others." If that describes how you interact in groups, you might want to put it on your list of "things to work on." (BTW--I'm still working on it.)
  • When having to choose between the best solution (as defined by, uh, me) and a consensus, go for the consensus. The theme of me being wrong half the time applies here as well--the compromise is not such a compromise since half the time (at least) my best solution would have been wrong.
  • Don't squander the opportunity to lose an argument.


Ken Hilburn said...

Mike, thanks for teaching these to me years ago... and reminding me now how much they're still important.

Mike Hughes said...

Ken, your memory is too kind. As I recall it, I was learning these lessons from YOU!

Anonymous said...

Mike -- Your post reminds me of that old adage "Praise publically, criticize privately." Thats been one of the most useful lessons I ever learned. I still get a great kick out of "You're wrong and I must warn the others!"

Thanks for another thoughtful post -- Mark Wallis

Anonymous said...

I cut the following out of a company newsletter back in the 80's.

Ten Pretty Good Rules

1. Never wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

2. Never argue with an idiot, people watching can't tell the difference.

3. Observe everything. Admire nothing.

4. It is easier to obtain forgiveness than it is permission.

5. Rarely resist the opportunity to keep your mouth shut.

6. Don't ask the question if you can't live with the answer.

7. If you want a new idea, read an old book.

8. If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.

9. Never have a philosophy that supports a lack of courage.

10. Don't look back unless you intend to go that way.

compiled by Fellows of the Strategic Studies Group, 1982-1983
Naval War College
Newport, Rhode Island

For what it's worth,