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It must be noon; my dogs just relocated to the living room.

They’ve taken their positions on the arm of the couch.  From there, they have a good panoramic view out our bay window, over our front porch, and beyond.

They are on the lookout.

There is no mistaking when the mail is about to be delivered, for the ruckus is considerable, and sustained, and the noise is out of proportion to their sizes …

One day, as I was taking a day off and was abruptly interrupted by the frantic barking for what seemed like — well, it was irritating! — I noted to my wife:  “You know, you would think they’d figure out that she comes pretty much every day, and nothing of consequence happens.  She keeps coming back.  They know that.  Geez!”

My wife responded with an alternate point of view that to this day just simply floors me.

“What do you mean?  They are, six days a week, successful.  Six days a week, they chase the mail lady away.  Six days a week, they bark up a storm, and the threat is averted; the uniformed menace does no harm to you and I, nor to little puppy dogs.”

Wow.

Two things pop to mind.

First:    It is quite the skill, I think, to be able to see another’s perspective.  I mean, really; don’t you think my wife pretty much nailed our dogs’ point of view?  It’s as if she has some kind of ability to teleport mentally into them; to see the situation as them, and to assess within their world, using their worldview.  Is that empathy?  Whatever it is, it’s impressive!

And whatever it is, the world needs more of it.

Second thing:  I see futility, my wife sees success; and we’re both seeing exactly the same thing.  Right?  I mean, if a video camera was capturing the scene, day after day, it would see the dogs assume their post on the arm of the couch, the mail lady approach the house, the dogs bark like there’s no tomorrow, the mail lady leaves.

But because we’re seeing from different points of view, we infer quite different cause-and-effect explanations.

I know that the mail lady comes every day because she has mail to deliver.  She leaves because she’s accomplished her task.

My dogs know that the mail lady comes every day to terrorize people and puppy dogs.  She leaves because they are ferocious defenders of the homeland.

My wife knows… both perspectives.  (She probably knows others, but I’m too scared to ask!)

Of course, this all has no relevance to work, right?

Consider —

  • Marketing … says yes
  • Finance … says no
  • Legal … has to review it
  • HR … is concerned
  • Strategic Planning … is frantic
  • Engineering … is above it all
  • Manufacturing … wants more floor space
  • Top Management … wants someone responsible!

Isn’t it somewhat of a mystery how we successfully deliver on any organization-wide initiatives?

It’s not the terrorist mail lady delivering the daily mail; but the ruckus is considerable, and sustained, and the noise …

I wonder what my dogs would think of this threat.  I’ll have to ask my wife!

I’ll ask her after they stop barking like there’s no tomorrow.

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