The Frustration Factor


Do you ever have to work with people who absolutely, totally, and unequivocally drive you up the wall? Do you sometimes feel like climbing the wall all by yourself as the quickest way to escape from those people? Are there those days when you struggle with the nearly irresistible impulse to turn into a ranting, raving maniac? Is there that one person who gets you so uptight that you don't know whether to throw your office key in his face and walk out or just sit down and cry? If you are saying Yes! Yes! Yes! you have had first-hand experience with "The Frustration Factor," up close and personal.

If instead, these questions are hard for you or if you have never experienced "The Frustration Factor," it is likely that you have lived your life on a very lonely island or are a saint, complete with robe and halo. The Frustration Factor is an ever-present ingredient of organizations from banks to hospitals, from schools to used car dealerships, from large corporations to service clubs.

The dysfunctional behavior of people who drive you up the wall is self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating. It feeds on itself. Unless you are aware of the behavior patterns of the people I call "players" and are prepared to counter them, it is easy to become the foil for their antics. Once this happens, it is too late for most people. The game is on. The world quickly divides into players and foils.

Here is the real problem though. Anyone new coming into your company enters in the middle of the game. He is immediately part of the process, either as a player or as the foil for other players. The game quickly consumes senseless amounts of time, energy, and company resources. The Frustration Factor becomes a major resource drain. Playing the game takes on as much importance and sometimes more importance for the players than taking care of business.

The Frustration Factor is much the same as the virus causing the common cold. The symptoms are always about the same although the virus has a hundred varieties. Players range from warriors to mainliners, from troublemakers to those who always play it By the Book. There are players who are aggressive and those who are passive, players who are extroverts and those who are introverts. I describe and discuss all types of players and their techniques in detail.

The Message of the Christmas Tree

In this post, the theme moves from the familiar to playful, from what we all know to what we all should be sure to remember. Dennis the Menace has the key to the door each of us should take care to unlock. The Message of the Christmas Tree shares much more than a simple decoration. It reminds us to be sure we fill each present with joy and caring.

Just Crying In His Beer

Micah dropped by his neighborhood watering hole to pass the time on a Friday night. He is pulled up to the bar and talking to himself or perhaps to the bartender, it’s hard to say for sure. What we do know is that he is just crying in his beer which seems to magically keep coming. I don’t know how he does it but why don’t you give it a listen and see if you can figure out the trick?

A Short Trip On The Success Train

Do you have time for a short trip on the success Train? I sure hope so since I am going and would very much enjoy sharing the trip with you. I hear we may get a few tips on saying “Yes,” to our success. That shifts the journey from a pleasant outing to one that promises to be totally terrific. Let’s climb aboard.

Christmas Rap

You say you are not a fan of rap music? Well, don’t be too quick to judge. If you aren’t humming this one later on today or tomorrow, I’ll consider the notion that rap music is definitely not for you. Here’s a little wager though: I’ll bet you can’t go four hours without humming it in your rapper head.

We Got Trouble

WeGotTrouble is a compressed way of pointing out that we got trouble. Either way, we got trouble and you can join in if you want to be able to say that you’ve got trouble too. OK, you won’t really have trouble but just listening may let you know how much trouble we’ve got. Go ahead. Press play and take a chance.

Audio Tidbits Encore (vol. 0)

I got an e-mail from an Audio Tidbits Podcast listener who wondered what my favorite posts have been over the last year or so. There are several posts that I particularly like but a few stand out in my memory. In this episode of the podcast, let me share three or four of my favorites. I hope you like them too. If you have a favorite, let me know and I will include it in an encore one of these days.

The Know-It-Alls Of The World

The expertise and insight of the know-it-alls of the world are boundless; and the K-I-A’s are ready to provide advice and input anywhere, anytime, for anyone. A K-I-A was there to point out to Noah that there may be a flood, to T. Edison that playing with electricity might be shocking, and to Neil Armstrong that pulling off his helmet and yelling, "Where's the party?" could take his breath away. There may have even been a K-I-A around to tell Moses to be sure to get it in writing.

The K-I-A openings have an annoyingly familiar theme: "Have you thought about…?" "Did you notice…?" "You may want to…," and the old standby, "If I were you…." Well, thank you very much; and while you are getting the inflection on your sarcasm just right, don't forget W. Churchill's admonition "Even a fool's right sometimes."

• Whether you have a chance to explain your reasons or can only walk away, don’t let arguments get out of hand.

This post was, in part, adapted from Your Exclusive Guide To The High Road, available now in the bookstore.

The Great Tax Cut?

I am hearing that there is going to be a great tax cut, maybe even the greatest tax cut of all times. Unfortunately, that is the limit of what I hear of any substance. I guess I am expected to reflexively believe that a tax cut of any kind is good and that the current taxes people pay are excessive and unwarranted.

Since I get no details, I might as well go ahead and comment on what we know very little about. I hear politicians and political pundits do that daily and as best I can tell, they don’t know much about what they are talking about either.

The Train To Nowhere

The train to nowhere is coming from anywhere and is headed somewhere but the exact destination is a mystery. Hop aboard and take a chance on ending up somewhere you want to be or just put the car in park, lower the windows and relax. The train to nowhere will pass, eventually.

The Great Mouse Hunt – Day Two

I hope you enjoyed your adventure on the first day of The Great Mouse Hunt. You are about to learn that the first day was merely a warm-up for the real hunt. The first day was a teaser for hunting hobbyists but the second day of The Great Mouse Hunt is restricted to serious hunters. Only if you are prepared for the real deal should you click play and join the hunt. Please know that you have been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

The Great Mouse Hunt

Have you ever wished you could guide a hunting party into the deep forest in hunt of the Great Mouse? Well, this is your opportunity to lead The Great Mouse Hunt. Just click play and be sure to bring along all of your mouse hunting gear and take care to dress for the weather.

Crossing Personal Boundaries

We have been hearing in the news a lot lately about people crossing the personal boundaries of others. Typically this comes in terms of sexual harassment or sexual behavior that is uninvited and unwanted. When the behavior is overt and intentional, there is no reasonable excuse for the actions of the perpetrator.

In many situations though, the unwanted behavior is unintentional and the person behaving inappropriately has no clue. He or she quite simply does not have the social and interpersonal awareness to limit his or her behavior. In this episode, we focus on the complexity of personal boundaries and our need to protect our personal space. At the same time, we also need to avoid violating the personal space of others. Please listen and think about how the discussion may apply to you and your relationships.

Rhythmic Excursion

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a new post with you. OK, it has been quite a while. For my first post for a very long time, I thought a rhythmic excursion might be just what you have been hoping I would have for you. Well, here it is. I hope it was worth the wait.