How To Matter Leadership

Nothing Personal — It’s Just Business

It might seem that if others are also in the box, my being in the box may not be all that big of a deal. It’s a state I can easily justify or at least rationalize, since everyone is doing it.

So what doesn’t work in the box? Why do I need to get out and stay out?

1. While I am in the box, there is little hope that others will change their behavior, attitudes or perceptions of me and of their world. I am and remain their justification for maintaining the status quo. I am the everyone in everyone is doing it.

2. In the box, doing my best to “cope” with others is limited by my perspective. I do things and behave in ways that are contrary to what I feel I should do. It doesn’t feel right but I think I have no real choice, no reasonable alternative. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business. It’s a dog eat dog world, either I get the bear or the bear gets me, that’s just how it goes.

3. Leaving the box is not an option, or at least that’s the way it seems to me. Sure, I could get out of the box but I definitely don’t want to be out there by myself. Unless everyone is leaving the box or nearly everyone is leaving, I will just stay in the box where it is safe, even though it does not feel quite right to me. It’s just business.

4. I know that in theary we could all sit down and talk this over but that is certainly not going to happen. Communicating about how we feel and what would be the right thing to do is just not how to take care of business.

As I said, it’s business and talking about feelings, personal values and what we truly believe is just not how business is done. What would people think about me if I started talking about all that warm and fuzzy stuff? It’s for sure I’m not interested in finding out.

5. Even if I thought climbing out of the box was a good idea, and I don’t, I would need a whole new skill set. I am a business person and not the warm and fuzzy type. I have to focus on getting the job done and not on all that touchy feely stuff. I don’t have either the time or interest it would take for implementing those new skills and techniques. It’s just not me.

6. Changing my behavior is not something that is either needed or wanted by me or by those I do business with. We are all comfortable in the box or perhaps only think we are comfortable in there. My point is that it doesn’t matter either way. It’s how business is done and everyone is doing it.

There is not much point in thinking about getting out of the box anyway. I have been in there so long that I don’t think I could get out if I wanted to. I don’t have a clue about how I would even start.

The folks from the Arbinger Institute have included a few “how to” tips for me just in case I decide that staying in the box may not be something I am sure I want to do.

Here is how it works.

The moment I see someone else as a person, with needs, hopes, and worries as real and as legitimate as my own, I am out of the box. It is no more complecated than that.

Can I do it? Maybe I can but maybe not. Here’s what I can try.

Don’t try to be perfect. Do try to be better.

Don’t accuse others of being in the box. Do try to stay out of the box myself.

Don’t focus on what others are doing wrong. Do focus on what I can do right to help.

Don’t worry whether others are helping me. Do worry whether I am helping others.

I can certainly stay in the box if that is my choice. It is unlikely that anyone will fault me for it. As everyone knows, it is just business.