Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Motivations: Burt and the Goddess

As he stalked into the marriage counselor's office, Burt was fed up. He was sure the counselor would be unable to help. "Look", Burt said, "I want a divorce and nothing you can say will change my mind. The only advice I'm interested in is how to make my wife as miserable as she's made me. I want revenge. Any suggestions?" The counselor immediately gauged the situation, and on instinct said, "I understand how you feel, and I do have a suggestion. But it's vicious; really heartless. Are you sure about this?" Excited, Burt leaned forward and said, "Yup, let's hear it." "Okay", the counselor said, "As soon as you get home, start treating your wife as if she were a goddess. Cater to her every whim. Love her, pamper her, compliment her profusely. Make life as easy for her as you possibly can. Then, just when she begins to blossom in the glory of your attention, pack up and move out. File for divorce and never speak with her again. She will be crushed forever." Burt thought the plan was perfect and he put it into action that night. Several months passed. Then one evening at a social gathering, the counselor spotted Burt across the room. He approached and asked, "Burt, how did things work out? Did you file for divorce?" "Divorce?" Burt responded in utter amazement. I'm married to a goddess! I wouldn't leave her for the world! I took your advice and things are better than ever. We're both very happy."

This story could otherwise be titled "Communication and acceptance cause vengeful plan to backfire."
Whether in marriage or management, when you want someone to change their attitude or actions, first communicate your unqualified acceptance of that person. Although Burt didn't realize it, that's exactly what the counselor had advised. When people feel rejected, they usually respond negatively. But if they feel accepted and approved of, then lasting, significant change is quite likely. Whether in marriage or management, people change because they want to. 

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