Dealing with the seven habits of highly INeffective people – the art of rebuke

February 21, 2012

As you progress on the long road known as the journey of life – you will all eventually reach the realization, succeeding in life is not so much about uploading the seven habits of highly effective people as it remains the unpleasant business of dealing successfully with the seven habits of highly INEFFECTIVE people.

There is no point in being highly effective, if you are constrained by the reality of the conditions that surround you – to put it another way, what is the use of a thorough bred Italian sports car, if all you really have is a country dirt track? It is not good. You may even have the fastest car in the world and arguably the best driver, but without a stretch of decent race track, it’s no good.

The way of the farmer has led me to this unpleasant realization. I call it unpleasant because that is precisely what it is – it is an unpleasant business to correct people and this is why many leaders themselves don’t want to get involved in the dirty business. Hence, they prefer to outsource it to either human resources (aka human remains) or to lawyers. But correcting people is something that is unavoidable if one is serious about the business of consistently getting high performance from those who you work with. And it is sad that so little has been written about this to guide business men or leaders who may have to from time to time enforce discipline and make sure good practices part of their business process. Even a kid who is studying in middle school may have to learn the art of correction to deal with a school bully or someone who regularly borrows his notes without bothering the reciprocate the favor – so this is really a life skill that applies to all – yet so little has been written about this.

The way of the farmer is never to be rude to the person who you are correcting. Before setting to correct a person – it is necessary to ask: do you have a rapport with that person that allows you to internally persuade him? Does he respect you? If you don’t, then find someone who he respects and go and see him and let that person do all the talking.

Recently while entertaining a business delegation from Burma. I took them to a Chinese restaurant – the chili fried rice was supposed to be the signature dish of this establishment. Unfortunately, what came out from the kitchen was subpar. This is a problem. A very big problem, as we were expecting another 9 dishes and if this simple one couldn’t even be whipped up to the standard, then you can more or less forget the rest. So what I did was walk into the kitchen and showed them all how to cook fried rice. It was a simple gesture. One that was performed without too much fuss and it seemed to any observer all this man was probably doing was trying to show off to his guest and the kitchen staff: what a great cook he was. But beneath the surface of what appeared to be Chinese opera, there is a far more serious message, one which I am sure will be picked up by the perceptive reader.

To correct a man, one should ALWAYS do it first as a friend and then proceed as a brother and finish it off as a father. This way the man who is corrected will feel as if you care for him so much that he can do nothing except respond kindly to you.  

Darkness 2012

In studying Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” I found one piece of advice to be particularly valuable when it comes to dealing with the seven habits of highly ineffective people:

“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.”

This principle has borne fruit throughout history. Those leaders in war who were regarded as sharing the dangers and sacrifices of the troops were particularly loved and respected by their troops. Some took this behavior to extremes; others simply made a point of showing solidarity with the rank and file.

Before getting carried away with this notion, let us read the next passage and understand both in proper context:

“If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose.”

Any bloody fool can read something and even laminate it – but to execute this is not so easy. The Tao of the Land has taught me how to do this: one must never force his will ontu others – remember a child, a wife or even a subordinate is not a cow or goat. So never correct a person when you have not bothered to correct yourself first – you must first be free from anger. The worst thing you can do is a correct another man when you, yourself are angry! It is like a farmer jumping up and down when he sees all his fruits refuse to ripen – he is wasting his time, as there is no such thing as fast ripening fruit. If this man continues to force his way either he or the tree will have to go. It is a silly enterprise.

The way of the land is to first seek to understand. To spend time observing the shape of the clouds, watching the flight of birds and a hundred other things and when the time is right, proceed with the correction. But even when you do this be so gentle that the correction is not even perceived as a correction by others. Above all do it with true brotherly love and this way there will never be any bitterness only the brotherhood of man.

Research and study this well.

Extracted from the daily log of Darkness – entry 204 – The Suriman Tales 2012



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