Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Whiners

We have too many rules in our house; ‘tis life with young boys who are learning consequences and morals on the fly. My wife and I employ a collection of carrots (you can play Club Penguin for 15 minutes if you …) and sticks (if you ______, you can’t leave your igloo/play Club Penguin). I think the sticks work better.

The two most important Soderquist regulations: Be nice to mommy (and your brother), and no whining. The latter is an artifact on my oldest son’s door.

Companies are somewhat like families, artificially inseminated around an idea, a collective purpose, and a bevy of values. Families are directed by moms, companies are ushered by leaders. Both, when successful, are unselfish – they give more than they get. Givers are effortlessly allocentric. Getters are selfish, prone to whining.

It takes just as much, if not more, energy to whine versus give. Whining is a proactive effort; giving is natural, reactive.

What’s worse is the negative energy that whining perpetuates: It can kill a company faster than a poor product or erroneous strategy. Example: I am acquainted with a company that’s embroiled in a board-level cat fight, super smart guys chaperoning a technology with great potential (that, unfortunately, may become notential soon). Big time finger-pointing and negative energy abound (is it possible to have negative momentum, where mass is multiplied by negative velocity?). A contemporaneous (today) email excerpt from one cat to another:

Your making a scene about this now is as helpful as kids screaming in the backseat of a car in traffic.
Happy holidays to you too. Lumps of coal to the side, a resolution is evident if – it’s a major league if – we can discard emotions and apply logic and common sense. Therein lies the challenge: People run companies. People are emotional. Emotions can cloud judgment, for both givers and takers. When this happens, the efficacy and potential of the company, regardless of individual intentions, can dissolve. Fast.

Rewind to the kids and one of their favorite Jack Johnson tunes:
It’s always more fun to share with everyone.
If you've got a ball, bounce it to the gang
If there is a new kid, invite him out to hang
If you've got one sandwich, cut that thing in half
If you know a secret joke, tell it and share a laugh
If you've got two drumsticks, give one to your friend
Make one beautiful rhythm, share a beat that never ends

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