Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's In It For Me?

"Seek those whose first reaction is collaboration, not those whose first reaction is 'what's in it for me'" - Thom Singer

A Facebook status update by a friend of mine about "mistakes along the way" (in business and personal life) produced a lot of comments.  Most of them were supportive of how great he is as a businessman and a person, and that his mistakes were minor, forgiven or forgotten.

I know this friend through a national organization and we do not live in the same city, thus I do not know him well.  I am personally aware that he is a "giver" who is fast to volunteer and always willing to share a tip, a suggestion or a helping hand.  I think the reason he received so much praise from those who knew him well is that he is a collaborator.  Collaborators are special souls and for this they are loved.

We live in a time when too many people ignore the wants and needs of others and instantly wonder about their own loss or gain in every situation.  "What's in it for me" is top of mind.  Skepticism rules and memories of how others have served are short.  People are cautious to the point that we are missing opportunities.  Many "step over $100 bills to pick up pennies".  Few are slow to anger and fast to forgive (with many taking the opposite path).

Another problem is that we often (I do this, too) jump to assumptions about what is going on in the minds of others.  We expect negative actions and dream up wild imaginary scenarios that creates adversaries.  There is too little looking for win / win.

However, nearly everyone thinks they are the collaborators and that the other people are the problem.  Thus we have the great disconnect.  Thoughts and actions are out of sync.  Nobody wants to be an ass (okay, nobody is the wrong choice of words, because clearly some do enjoy being the jerk).  Few people wake up with the hopes of being self-centered and internally focused, so why does it happen so often?

When people are involved, there is always room for mis-understandings. It gets ugly when one is sure in their soul they have no fault.  It is interesting to watch people react ... as the ones who live by "what's in it for me" will instantly find the fault in others without ever admitting they could have behaved differently.  Fingers are pointed, they gossip to mutual friends, there is belief that they are intentionally being take advantage, and they are 100% sure the other side is at fault.  Collaborators, on the other hand, will ask, "could I have done something differently" and never assume that they are free of blame.  Collaborators are fast to accept partial responsibility and they seek win / win solutions over the long run.

While nobody is always one way or the other... there are patterns.

What do you think? (and thanks for reading the whole post!)

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am in the middle of two friends who are in a dispute. One of them clearly is a "what's in it for me" person. She makes accusations and gossips about it to everyone. The other person really wants a solution and is a collaborator. Your post was eye opening.