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?
The Doofus Drill was a great refresher for me. Not so much from a work perspective, but a personal one. When your life starts to change in many ways all at once and you feel you have no control it is quite easy to have imaginings of how things are going to be. The reality is you have no idea how things are going to be and as a family it is even more important to communicate during those times. Don’t wait until you are upset. Talk it out and you will feel better. Know where the other person is coming from so you can help rather than have hurt feelings because of lack of communication. I went through this very lesson last night. We talked and we both feel better. We took the responsibilty and had the conversation. Now we can move forward and face the changes together.