2nd Thoughts

I have been having a lot of second thoughts lately.

It’s frustrating really.

For instance the other day I was asked about what “globally competitive means.

English: World map of the 2008-2009 Global Com...

English: World map of the 2008-2009 Global Competitiveness Index (source). Each color represents one quartile of the ranked nations. Green nations score higher, red nations lower. Grey nations are not ranked. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My response was that the world really needs to get off of this idea of being competitive, and instead connect to the concepts and skills associated with communications, collaboration and cooperation.  Why must we always focus on being more competitive instead of seeking ways we can create a better, dynamic to solve the world’s challenges?

 Perhaps we should look for ways to build social and political skill before we build up ways to be more competitive.  Dan Pink, in his book “To Sell is Human” tell of Yehonatan Turner’s technique of personalizing his work.  He suggests that we should approach each person or problem as if they are your grandmother– making it ultimately personal.  Pink asks us to think about how we would treat people if everyone were that friendly, kind woman with whom you meals, coffee or tea and catch up chats with growing up?  “What changes would you make if the employee you’re about to ask to take on an unpleasant assignment wasn’t just another employee but was the woman who gave birth to one of your parents?” (Pink, 2012, p. 228).  Would not, this approach, make great sense for those who are seeking to be competitive knowing that the other person they are in competition with is the same lady who still sends Hallmark cards for the holidays?

Please don’t get me wrong. I am as competitive as the next guy– noting that if I don’t get my golf game together soon I am facing another long season of grief from my buddies.  I hate to lose.  Does the idea of being globally competitive mean that somebody has to lose in the global arena?  What if that loser is a potential ally

My second thoughts don’t stem from those beliefs though.

My second thoughts center on the manner in which I expressed my passion for this issue.  I’m not saying on went on a rant, but I think I struck a cord with my hosts and perhaps came off as a bit rude. This was certainly not my intention.  My colleague traveling with me referred to my expressed opinion later in the day saying, “Andy earlier went on a bit of a tangent about competition so I can talk about…”

“Huh??”  I thought.  “Tangent”.  Hmm.  Ok.  Perhaps.

Thus my second thoughts.  Who wants to be seen as going on a “tangent”?  Not me!  Well… not too often anyway.

Then I thought “Hey Andy. Why should you be a wilting flower who can’t express his opinion?”

Common sense would tell you that its ok to speak up.  We’re all teachers after all.  Speak up.  Just do so with care, with humility and sensitivity.  If you do so you might be making your self more globally competitive.

Photos:  http://static.flickr.com/3103/2648847927_edffe7328c.jpg
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