Has your team experienced The Doofus Drill? It’s when one person thinks another person is stupid, a “Doofus.” They don’t like how Doofus leads, the decisions he makes – or doesn’t make, or how he acts. But instead of directly addressing those issues with Doofus – this person talks to everyone else. (Somehow, strangely expecting Doofus to change.)
President Reagan, when being criticized for talking with Gorbachev, essentially responded by communicating that ‘we don’t get in trouble when we talk with each other – we get in trouble when we don’t.’ There are too many teams in trouble because The Doofus Drill is the primary method of communication. (“I’ll have my guys talk to your guys, and I’m not changing until you change…”)
Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” If your team suffers The Doofus Drill, ask questions that build awareness of what happens when we speak directly with each other. In the end, if our awareness is great, then it is our responsibility to act in accordance with our values.
It is helpful to consider that when we approach Doofus we don’t have to criticize him. It’s not like Doofus wants the team to fail. He wants the same thing we do. And when we start conversations from that place, from a place of fighting for Doofus’ success, suddenly we can begin to talk about more things.
A friend stated that “being angry with someone is like drinking poison and hoping they die.” There’s enough poison in the world that there’s no need to self-ingest more. Will we make the choice to talk today – or go back to the person we always were, who is only capable of doing what has already been done?
If responsibility is the price of greatness, it begs the questions: Am I aware? (Great?) And if so, what conversation do I have the responsibility to have today?