When kids fell out of the trees

“Första gången jag träffade er, trillade barn ur träden.”
My sister in law recently reminded me that the first time she visited us, children were falling out of the trees.
It was a summer day and we were all in the garden. Our three sons were playing with their friends and yes, they were climbing the apple tree and falling out of it. My brother and sister in law’s Jack Russel chased our cats and our dog chased their dog. (He would always protect “his” cats, even if he would happily chase other cats.)

Yes, kids were falling out of the trees. Toys were all over the house and the garden was growing above our heads.
Now the boys are all teenagers and if they fall it is rather from a moped than from an apple tree.

Life has changed. It does all the time. Too often we forget to change with it.
We tend to add things all the time, but we rarely remove anything. Not only at home, but also at work.

Consider a checklist that is helpful when created. Over the months and years of using it, anything we come up with is added. Any small mistake must be prevented so another item is added. And another one.
Suddenly you have an elephant checklist that is never used because it is too extensive to be practical.
To change when life does, regularly review what you do.
At home – are you doing all the things you did pre-kids, at the cost of having fun together with your kids or your partner?
At work – are the checklists, procedures and meetings still relevant or is it time for an update, a decluttering?

Remember the great quote from Peter Drucker:
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
We all go through different life phases. 
To enjoy whatever phase you are in right now – make room for it by removing what is no longer relevant.


Keep your foot out of your mouth, sweetie

The chairman looked at the only woman in the meeting room. She was the expert in these types of questions.
“This assignment will fit like a glove for you, sweetie. Can you start tomorrow?”
Manda looked straight at him but didn’t respond.He tried again.
“Sweetie? Manda?”

“Oh, you mean me? I thought you were referring to Victor.”
The chairman frowned.
“Victor? This is not his area of expertise.”
Manda cocked her head to the side.
“No, no it isn’t. But since he is such a sweetie, I thought you were referring to him.”
Victor tried to keep quiet, but his chuckling grew steadily louder.
The chairman looked confused and Manda was not offering any more explanation. Victor intervened.

“I think what Manda is saying, is that if you call me Victor, she wants to be called Manda. But I guess if you call me sweetie, you can call her sweetie too.”

Be aware of how you use language. Or rather, be aware of your thoughts.

As long as you truly see the individual behind every face, be it a woman or a man, a person with light skin or dark skin, a young person or an old person, you will be truly inclusive and you will automatically keep your foot out of your mouth.


Honesty is no excuse

”Well, at least I am honest about it, I tell it like it is!”
The senior project manager Victor raised his chest and chin, staring at the colleagues around the table. The junior developer who had just been told he was useless and not good enough to stay in the project, walked out of the conference room, head down. The atmosphere in the conference room was tense, cold.

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

After a few seconds of silence, Manda sighed deeply.
“Really Victor? Since when is honesty about telling people they are useless?”
“Well, he is! Have you seen his code? What was I supposed to say, that he is doing well? He isn’t!”
Manda stood up.
“Don’t use honesty as an excuse to be a bully.”
Victor also stood up, looking closely at Manda. She was one of the best ones in his team. He could not afford losing her, or her trust.
“Hey, I don’t have time to be a teacher to that kid.”
Manda put her hand on his elbow, lead him out of the room, away from the colleagues who all felt awkward. 
“I know that you want the best for the project Victor. When you calm down a bit you will remember what honesty is really about.”
Victor stopped and put his hands in his pockets.
“Well, since I am not calm yet, why don’t you remind me.”
“An honest leader would have seen his own mistake of promoting this developer too soon. And he would have handled the consequences without making someone else look bad. Honesty creates trust, Victor. Not fear.”
Victor lowered his head.
“I behaved like an asshole, didn’t I?”
Manda smiled.
“Are you sure you want an honest reply to that?”