With apologies to my colleagues, Ray and Larry, for taking so long to enter this space, here is my first entry for Calm Patient and Good-Humored.
Frankly, I find this new form of communication to be very intimidating. I’m sure that’s why it has taken me so long to do this. Larry and I exchanged e-mails early on about Ray’s suggestion that the three of us collaborate on a blog. It seemed like a good idea …at first. Then came the reality of posting for … who knows? … to read.
I guess this made me realize that down deep, I have always wanted to be in control of my messages and thoughts until I was certain I was right and could prevail on a point of view. So in this give and take environment, it has taken me awhile to work up the courage to put my thoughts out there. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m sharing this little confession at the outset because I believe many others feel as I do. If so, I’d love to hear how you’re dealing with it and whether you’ve gotten over it.
Enough of that!
Of all the Principles of practice attributed to Arthur W. Page, I have always found “Remain calm patient and good-humored” to be my favorite. I think that’s because it suits my personal style.
In the many crisis situations I’ve dealt with over the years, it was always easier to see your way forward if you could get people involved and concerned to just calm down so you could talk through the situation.
Ralph Larsen, Johnson & Johnson’s ceo during the 1990s was a master at creating a calm and steady environment for discussion. Even during the worst moments, he would say, “this, too, shall pass.” It was such a liberating comment. Of course it was easy for him to say that; he was the ceo. But in setting that tone, he took the pressure off and assured that cool heads would prevail. And, I think we reached better decisions as a result. I know we did!
“Remain calm, patient and good-humored” is a mantra that we could use more widely in society. The lack of civility in public discourse, especially in political rhetoric that is inflamed in the media, makes it nearly impossible to reach a consensus on anything. We need more leaders who exhibit a tone of reason, who care enough about establishing a common ground for the public good to want to embrace opposing views with calming speech, patience and good humor.
More on this in a future post.
So, thanks, Ray, for picking a great thematic for this discussion place.
(Posted by Bill Nielsen)