Fast Friday with Maya Angelou (and Oprah)

Posted May 27, 2011 in Latest News & Insights

Given that Oprah Winfrey has “left” her television show (seems like a lot of hoopla for someone who now has her OWN 24/7 network), I thought it would be appropriate to feature a quote from one of Ms. O’s all time favourite teachers in this edition of Fast Friday: Maya Angelou.  Oprah must have quoted this phrase hundreds of times over the course of her 25 seasons:

When you know better, you do better.

I love this quote, but sadly, I find most people who know better don’t actually do better.  They just seem to get really great at telling you all their faults and doing nothing about it.

To truly “do better”, you need to make a conscious effort to change (which is often easier said than done).  Example: I have a friend who interrupts ALL the time.  She knows she interrupts all the time… but knowing it doesn’t make her stop doing it.  The reality is, when it comes to behaviours, there usually has to be a “what’s in it for me?” reason to make the change.   Which usually has to involve avoiding some kind of pain.

Also, it’s easy to dismiss feedback, especially when a particular behaviour is one that – in the past – seemed to bring us rewards.  Think of that really smart guy who always had the right answer in class and got the A+.  Now that really smart guy is your boss who won’t shut up with his great ideas and has built a team that never offers input (afterall, what’s the point)?  Why would someone like that change?  In my experience, they don’t… until something blows up and they have to.

So, this weekend, here’s my challenge to you:  what’s something that you know about yourself that would be better for others if you changed?

Personally, I know that my daughter hates it when I look at my blackberry when I’m spending time with her on the weekend.  And I quote:  “ARGH! That blackberry is driving me IN-SANE!!”  So this weekend, I’m going to turn it off.  The “what’s in it for me” is obvious… I don’t want her thinking that my work is more important to me than she is.  Because it’s not.  See you Monday.

Happy leading!


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