When is Long-Term care appropriate?

April 23, 2014 Affective LeadershipAssociation InsightsEmotional IntelligenceJust 4 Laughs  No comments

My dad, who is just about to turn 80, sent this to me.  I hope you enjoy the system of diagnosis as much as I did.  Though hidden in humor (which is the best way to convey almost any message) the story says a great deal about the heuristics we use in decision making.  

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, “How do you determine whether or not an older person should be put in a Long-Term Care Home?”

“Well,” he said, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the person to empty the bathtub.”

 teaspoon bucket teacup

“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No” he said. “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?

Apply this story to one of your next meetings.  Tell the story and then ask in what ways “Are we limiting our options by sticking to the comfortable confines of past performance instead of searching for simpler more effective solutions.  Applying the spoon to bucket logic to daily practices we might see patterns that would earn us a window seat as well.   

doing the wrong things wellMany nonprofits have evolved from printed materials to e-content and annual educational conferences.

Phone calls were replaced by voice mail, then email and now the dreaded conference call or video chat.  

Maybe we need to empty our bathtubs of old understanding and realize that science and technology offer a new range of options while at the same time dispelling an even wider practice of doing just because we have done.  My new friend in the UK has a perfect description for these traditional time wasters.

Here is a quick list of current management practices as compared to scientific realities.

Management Superstition

Methodological Science

 Productivity requires command and control

Engagement increases with flexibility 

Authority is assigned

Influence is  earned

Groups are more creative than individuals 

Individuals are more creative than groups 

HR is important 

6% of employees believe HR is relevant 

 U.S. companies are creative

9% of U.S. companies are creative 

Multitasking is good

Multitasking doubles completion times and increases errors by 1/2

Criticize in private

If the performance impacts the team address misbehavior publicly



The Truth About Creative Teams

How to Make HR Relevant

Solving America’s Innovation Crisis 

Brain Rules, John Medina  

Drive The surprising truth about what motivates us, Daniel Pink 


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