Nerd Guru

Because technical people need good soft skills to get ahead.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mace Windu on Perspective

As someone in their late 30s, I need to exercise or my balding, flabby body will not be long for this earth. Fortunately, this is what treadmills were built for and I take the semi-wimpy route of jogging on it while watching something off of the Tivo. My usual choices are either PTI or Inside the Actors Studio.

On the latter, I recently caught a rerun featuring Samuel L. Jackson which first aired about the time Attack of the Clones came out. At about the halfway segment, Lipton repeated a quote of Mr. Jacksons’s from an earlier interview:

"I don’t care if the audience likes the character or not as long as they
understand his motivation."

This struck me as a classic lesson in perspective or point of view, whichever label you prefer. There’s always somebody at work that you don’t get along with for one reason or another. You may think this person is out to get you or is just plain stupid for coming up with the ideas they do. That’s rarely the case.

Before jumping on somebody for having an opinion that seems ludicrous to you, give the other person a little credit for a minute and invoke the words of Samuel L. Jackson. What is their motivation? Why would they have a stance like that? Is there information they know about that you don’t that might cause them to come to a different conclusion than you? Why are they trying to optimize the aspects of the situation the way they are?

You can have the same set of facts as someone else, but your motivations can be very different and lead you to draw completely opposite conclusions. Rarely does someone say something stupid intentionally. Give the other person credit and try to dig into why they think the way they do. You will often find that you may come up with a solution that benefits both of you and is better for your company overall. Along the way, you can build strong relationships instead of creating lists of enemies which leads to more opportunities later on as you establish a solid network of associates.


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posted by Pete Johnson @ 9:15 AM   1 comments


At 7:56 PM, Blogger Juanita's Journal said...

"I don’t care if the audience likes the character (Mace Windu) or not as long as they understand his motivation."

Great quote by Mr. Jackson. It's a shame that many SW fans had failed to do even this.


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