31 Game Changing Questions Day 29

In Blog by Jamie Stuck


A manager last week was complaining about what she saw as the motivation levels of two of her team. ‘Those younger kids: they don’t seem to care like we used to.’

This is an example of The Universal Human Paradigm:

‘We are disappointed with others and want them to be different.’

It is so built in to our functioning as humans: the idea that if someone else behaved or spoke differently, we would be happier or more effective.

And it always comes as a complaint. It’s so draining.

Moreover, it is often projected not just up and down the organisation, as in leader/follower relationships, but also across the company in peer-to-peer relationship. It is the foundation of silo thinking and other inter-function ineffectiveness:

“If only those people in X department did Y, we’d be better off”
“If only those people up there showed more gratitude, we’d be more motivated”
“If only those people down there stopped moaning so much, we’d feel more like thanking them”

It could be different.

When we talk of politics at work, it’s always about negative or unwanted behavior. Can there be a set of positive political actions? Yes.

So too: what if The Universal Human Paradigm were always positive in intent?

Here’s how:

Turn it around. Whenever you feel yourself about to explain why someone else ought to be different, pause and consider these principles:

  • Assume positive intent
  • Accept your own partial view
  • See the best in others; don’t make up the worst
  • Ask for clarification – find out what people meant
  • Remember, no human being ever changed for you. They changed for themselves. So if you want the relationship to be different, have a conversation about what you’d both want to be better, for the good of you both.


Declare the first week in April as ‘complaint-free’ week.

Take a collective vow: “No whining!”


Listen to day 29 HERE.


David & Charrise