Sunday, September 12, 2010

Act? Care? Envision? Think? -- Follow the herd?

"I chose "Care", but don't always do it," one friend emailed me.

Another wrote on my Facebook page, "Perhaps we are sorted by the occupation we choose. I bet most accountants would fall into the detail ["Think"] section."

Another friend noted that because the original discussion had been about the need for a common vision, she, normally a "Think" person, "likely would have been inspired to choose "Envision!"

Huh? Let me bring our new readers up to speed.

In a previous post, I described a meeting where the people were asked to stand by one of four signs--with no in-betweens allowed--that best described them:

Act! Plunge in and try things.
Care. Make sure everyone has a say before acting.
Envision. See the big picture and possibilities before acting.
Think. Figure out the details before acting.

Here's how the group responded:

Twenty-two of the people stood by two statements. Three people stood by one statement. No one stood by one statement.

The "Think" friend, in the middle of master's level counseling courses, also pointed out that because people could see where other people were moving, a herd mentality might have influenced the outcome.

And, good counselor/student that she is, she also provided other options to help me derive my own conclusion: Even distribution across the sample population OR Act-15, Think-7, Envision-3, Care-0.

A fourth friend suggested the opposite: "Guessing no one in that group chose Act!. 22 took #2 or #4. three chose #3. I would have to say #1 for myself, though only in most general and relative to what I observe in others sense. So, what happened next?"

Good question.

Time for an answer.

Twenty two of the people not only clustered around "Act" and "Envision," they positively swarmed to get there. Two people stood by "Think." No one stood by "Care."

Wait, wait wait!

Hold the horses here.

What happened to the third person who was supposed to be standing by "Think?!?"

Well, the third person was me. I was a bit caught in the crush of people trying to get to the "Act!" and "Envision" side of the room. Before I could move, the leader had positioned herself in front of the "Care" sign, and had begun speaking. I would have had to walk right in front of her to get to the other side.

At least, that's one way to look at it.

Another way, of course, is that I was still "Think"-ing about it and didn't "Act!" quickly enough.

But the distribution concerned me. 

I see too many half-baked ideas being rushed into policy or production without enough thought being given to the ramifications and consequences. I also people abandon brilliant, creative concepts when they can't immediately understand them and put them into action. We love our ruts, no matter how inefficient and counterproductive.

Being a "Think details" person, I know how tedious the work of preparation can be. Translating a "Vision" into "Act"-ion takes time and effort. It's easier just to write off the idea, than it is to make it work.

The irony was that this was a group of educators operating in an ostensibly Dewey-based system. The same John Dewey, who wrote extensively about Democracy And Education, where everyone's voice is part of the process. Only no one, apparently, "Cares" enough to listen. Or maybe we just didn't "Think" before we "Act"-ed. Or maybe we need some to "Envision," others to "Think," others to "Care" before we all "Act."

Or maybe the underlying truth is that we aren't truly made to function in a pure democracy.

You didn't really "herd" that idea here first, did you? :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post, kind of drawn out though. Really good subject matter though.