Personal Interaction, according to Dilbert creator Scott Adams

Scott Adams’ theory is that a typical human understands only three ways to interact with another person.
  • Pushover: I’ll do whatever you want.
  • Negotiator: I’ll do this if you do that.
  • Bully: Do what I want or there will be consequences

The value of the Adams Model of Personal Interaction is in understanding what modes of interaction are likely to work together. Obviously two Bullies will make bad partners. Two Pushovers will get nothing done. A Negotiator won’t do well with either a Pushover or a Bully, because neither will negotiate.


How to soar like an eagle (in a world full of turkeys)

Technically, tonight’s video presentation was entitled “Beyond Excellence,” a very well done 1-hour (plus) seminar by Rob Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson also happens to be the author of “How to Soar Like an Eagle,” ergo the blog title for what will probably be the last entry for this class, Organizational Behavior.

He began his presentation with the story of Larry Walters, known in some circles as “Lawnchair Larry” because in 1992 he took flight over Los Angeles in a lawn chair, with the help of 45 weather balloons. He was determined to fly. He was determined to constantly improve. Well … he was determined.

When asked by a reporter why he had done it, Walters replied, “A man can’t just sit around.”

Maybe that’s what inspired the Disney Pixar movie, “Up” …

Speaking of Disney, Stevenson talked about how at Disney, it’s always “showtime” and all members of the Disney team are cast members who are always on stage. He talked about how in our professional lives we always need to be on stage, because you really never know who it is that you’re dealing with. He shared the example of a commercial real estate agent who was asked for help leasing a 500 square foot space, and because he handled it so well he ended up winning the business for Coca-Cola and ultimately a commitment to lease about a million square feet of space.

Speaking of Coca-Cola, Stevenson then shared the story of how a company lost a 100-truck order that they had “in the bag” with Coca-Cola, right up until the moment that the truck driver rolled up at the Atlanta headquarters and the senior Coke executive saw a Pepsi can on the dashboard. Oops. The company lost the order for the other 99 trucks.

He recommended reading the book, “Good to Great,” and reinforced the point of getting the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off … he also alluded to the possibility of how some people end up in organizations having something to do with the timing of when they were hired. A strong culture will work to get rid of the people who don’t belong there.

How do you create the WOW effect? Astonish people, have a great reputation. Hire for excellence. Example of WOW, Harley Davidson tattoos on the human body.

Stevenson shared the “8/16 rule,” where if you do a good job people will tell 8 others, if you do a bad job people will warn 16 others

MOT = moment of truth. (every point where you come in contact with a customer)

At the beginning and the end of the presentation, Stevenson talked about the importance of a FUBAR list … a list maintained by the company that has the mistakes people have made so others can avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Control, cope or capitalize – CHANGE

CARE trumps everything … care more about the customer than about the sale, commission, etc.


Stevenson used the image above to reinforce the point, “We are what we perceive ourselves to be.”

All this CHANGE is stressin’ me out, Doc!!!

Tonight we watched the video “Managing Change and Transition,” featuring Dr. Ben Bissell and his guidance on the physical and emotional toll of change.  He explained the two categories of a so-called Significant Emotional Event (SEE):

  • Professional, such as a reorganization, layoffs, relocation, or
  • Personal, such as marriage, the birth of a child, illness, loss, divorce

Upon experiencing a SEE everyone will go through five stages:

  • Shock or denial—the “I can’t believe it” phase
  • Emotional reaction—predominantly anger
  • A bargaining period—the change is sinking in but you are trying to alter its effects
  • Depression (clinically known as “grief”) because all change produces loss and all loss must be grieved
  • Acceptance, both emotional and intellectual, of the change

On average, one should expect it to take up to 1 1/2 years to work through these five stages.

Dr. Bissell shared the four signs of trouble that could have life-threatening implications:

  1. troublesome body part,
  2. short breathing,
  3. faster eating pace, or
  4. poor sleeping pattern

So, to stave off this outcome, it is vital for organizations to recognize that employees need to “go through” the stages without, however, sacrificing job performance.

Some other insights from the video include:

  • employees will mirror the behaviors of their managers
  • all low morale is really unresolved anger
  • information is minimized and perceptions get distorted during a SEE
  • an organization should keep as much of the familiar as possible during a SEE

I found this interesting graphic that shows what happens next after people move through the five stages … with the goal of moving on to new beginnings. In any case, “moving through” is important!