“Don’t build a bridge if you want to use the pillars of doubt and suspicion.” – Tasneem Hameed
The number one indicator of a healthy organization is the practice of Benefit Of The Doubt.
It’s also a tool you can use to shift a culture from toxic to healthy, and I call it BOD, Baby. (I like the alliteration and it makes it fun to say it, think it and be it.)
BOD is the practice of giving others the benefit of the doubt. It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how hard people work to embrace AOG (Assumption of Guilt) instead. BOD leads to Not Taking It Personally, another of my favorite tools, which automatically leads to Trust, Compassion and Respect. I do love these tools!
Tracy’s late for the meeting. She doesn’t think I’m important enough to show up on time? Fine. I’ll cancel this meeting. And I’ll tell everyone it was her fault. That’ll show her.
(Maybe Tracy is dissing the organizer. Canceling and bad mouthing isn’t going to change that; it will likely exacerbate an existing problem.)
Tracy’s late for the meeting. I wonder what’s holding her up? She’s often late for meetings; maybe she has too much on her plate. I’ll wait 5 more minutes and then reach out her to learn what’s going on.
(Maybe Tracy is dissing the organizer. The organizer has chosen to Not Take It Personally, even if it was intended to be a personal attack. The organizer has chosen to give Tracy the BOD, Baby, and will reach out with compassion to build a bridge towards partnership.)
The way we respond to data is a choice. Here’s another example.
They never invite me to lunch with them. They’re so obnoxious; they enjoy leaving people out. They flaunted it in front of me when they looked at menus online. I hate it here.
(There’s so much energy going into how these people don’t want to hang out with this person and do like to torture him. He’s grumpy and probably not so fun to be around. The question – is this a self fulfilling prophecy?)
They never invite me to lunch with them. I wonder if they know I want to join them? Come to think of it, I once said no. Do I really want to go or do I just want to be invited? Maybe they’re tired of me saying no.
(The energy here is going to introspection, which can lead to a healthier relationship with his colleagues, whatever his truth about lunch. It also eliminates all that angst and toxicity that comes with AOG.)
AOG is outward facing; BOD is inward facing. People who choose AOG are often afraid to look inward. It can be scary to look inside and see that little child who felt left out on the playground, or that young adult whose heart was broken, or that grown up who never felt truly loved because she doesn’t yet love herself.
It’s not our job to help someone love herself (unless of course that is your job). Our job as managers in an office is to create a safe space for creativity, productivity and reliability. BOD delivers this in spades. By ensuring an environment of Trust, Compassion and Respect, we feed people’s souls. People collaborate and talk and share ideas.
Here’s the other incredibly neat thing about BOD. It’s infectious. When you embrace it and practice it consistently, others will also. And when that starts to happen, it’s magic! Like a pebble dancing across a lake, BOD ripples quickly. A lot faster than AOG actually. It makes sense – AOG is dense, heavy, and sad. BOD is light, bouncy and fun.
Do you choose AOG or BOD with your colleagues, family and friends? With the drugstore clerk? BOD, Baby. Go for it.
Originally published at The Roundtable Business
Photo: Flickr/Neil Cummings