Monday, September 01, 2008

How'd you like a kick in the butt?

Have you ever noticed how when something is stuck, whether it be a stubborn door or a machine that wont run, we tend to try the "magic foot lever" (aka a simple kick) to get it moving?

I've lately become addicted to an old sitcom titled That 70's Show, in which the curmudgeonly father figure presumes that most people are dumb-asses and would benefit from a friendly visit of his foot on their ass to promote improved performance. Who knew that Red Foreman could be such a wise man??? Out of the mouths of babes... and screenwriters.....

But seriously, there has to be something to this whole kick in the butt phenomena, right? Examples of this are all around us:
  • That really tough English teacher who just hated you. She made you struggle and strain to finish that book and write that essay. She kicked you in the ass... and look at you now! You can read and string words together to form a cogent stream of thought. Looks like that kick worked out ok.
  • How about that maniac coach you had? He made you run laps till you decorated the track with your lunch. But when it came time to run at the track competition, you had the stamina to keep going. Another Kick success story.
  • Finally, what about your first tough boss. You know, the one who made you do it over till you got it right and kept handing you more challenging projects all the time. Now you are managing people ( or well on your way if that's your choice) and more capable than most because of all the foot-traffic your boss left on the seat of your pants.
When you look back on these things, you really did need that kick. While you might not have been a total dumbass at the time, there was a lesson you needed to learn and that kick was just what you needed to get you moving towards learning it.

So, it seems that kicks aren't just for stuck doors - they are to help people like us get un-stuck from the cycle we are in and launch forward for something better.


Remember those who gave you those kicks and consider if someone on your team could benefit from the same care and concern, albeit not necessarily in the form of your foot in their butt - after all, I'm an HR weasel and I don't want you to kick someone literally then say you did so because I told you to.

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