Third Batch of Inane Tweets

Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. George S. Patton

Better hope you like surprises, then, because you’re going to get them; some — per Patton — surprising but pleasing, others not so much. Most people, most of the time, need guidance of greater or lesser degree. If you’re a manager, it’s your job to figure just what kind of assistance and instruction, and how much of either, people want and need, or need whether they “want” it or not. Few will shine when all they’re told is “here’s what to do” without at least some hint of how to do that. Granted you can hobble people with too much instruction, but you can also paralyze them with too little. “Have at it, kids” is not a prescription for success.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky

Yeah, in hockey that makes sense, and who wants to gainsay Gretzy when it comes to hockey? Perhaps it’s true in some other sports as well. Not in baseball, though. In baseball, you need to be fairly selective. Sure, swinging and hitting the ball, rather than standing there striking out or swinging and missing and striking out, at least gives you a chance for a hit: That’s why they say to “swing hard in case you hit it.” But every baseball fan knows how many rallies have been started, or furthered, by a walk, or several walks, and how many games have then been won by walk-fueled rallies. You take what the pitcher gives you, right?

Baseball is not business, but it’s sure a lot more like business than hockey. You have to be selective in what you decide to do; you have to understand your Company’s situation, your situation within the company, and thus what makes most sense for you and your team to do at any, or rather every, given time. Sometimes that means you should take what you’re given and run with it. Swing hard in case you hit it, but don’t swing at every pitch.

At New York Life, we used to have a saying: Here you can do anything — not everything, but anything. I don’t think that’s the philosophy there any longer, but it was an important part of working there for many, many decades, and it’s a heck of a good strategic orientation for any organization. Don’t swing at every pitch; be selective, take a walk when it makes sense to do so.

The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside. Tenzin Palmo

I can hardly pretend to be an expert on peace and happiness, although I will note that I share Freud’s contention that mental healthiness is more akin to normal misery than it is to Tenzin Palmo’s peace and happiness. That said, what can we make of this division between inside and outside? Do you really live within yourself? – How often? Too often and you’re a candidate for what my mother would call the booby hatch. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I live both inside AND outside myself, and I fully expect that any answer (let alone THE answer) I’m looking for will not be magically found inside myself — although a bunch of hunches might reside there — but in myriad actions and interactions outside myself, i.e., in the world, not just my world, but our world.

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