Friday, October 9, 2015

“What do you think?”

Arno Gourdol:

A few weeks later, sitting at the same computer, Steve is leaning in, his face just a few inches from the screen as he studies the pixels. On the screen is a new design for the shape of the Aqua windows. In the previous iterations, the windows had four rounded corners, but now the corners at the bottom are square, to solve a design problem with the placement of the scrollbars.

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FTA: "Steve has to be escorted everywhere on campus. He refuses to carry one of the access cards that would allow him to open the locked doors that separate the buildings. No one is really sure why, but there’s probably some logic to him for this eccentricity."

The sedan chair wouldn't fit through the doors? ;)


While I enjoyed the fun Sunday reading (obligatory nod goes here:), I do pick a serious bone with its conclusion:

“What do you think?”

Four simple words that convey so much: I care about what you think, I want to listen to you, I respect you, I trust you.

If you work with creative teams, try to use it sometimes. It doesn’t cost much, and you might be surprised by the results.

This is terrible advice without an essential qualification: the only time a manager should ask “What do you think?” is when she honestly wants to know the answer. If she's already made a final decision - or simply couldn't care less what her underlings think - then asking and immediately ignoring it is precisely the sort of notoriously patronizing PHB behavior that puts everyone's hackles up faster than anything else. It's a huge professional insult and excellent way to ensure competent employees who know their stuff eventually quit as response.

(Been there, done that, was not a happy camper as you can imagine.)

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