Don’t Shoot the Other Leg

Imagine that you had a boss that, every day, shot you in the right leg with an airsoft gun when you came into work. You think this is horrible, so you say: “Someday when I’m a manager, I’ll be the complete opposite of this jerk. I’ll shoot my employees in the left leg!”

Clearly you’ve missed the point, right? But people do this more frequently than you imagine. They take a bad example and try to use it as such, but because they don’t have a firm grasp on exactly why their example is bad, they just do the opposite on every metric. But the opposite of a bad action isn’t necessarily a good action – especially if you identify the wrong axis.

“My last plant died because I gave it too much water. So this time, I’ll give it no water!”

Don’t just flip the script in a perfect way. Examine why the course of action was negative. Examine the full spectrum of alternatives, not just the most extreme one.

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