Presenting the First Nationally Televised Jigsaw Puzzle Assembly Competition.

No football games to watch at so moment so I’m TV surfing. Just saw a few small groups of young “fans” watching bowling, chess, and curling (sweeping the nation?) and cheering wildly for each strike, checkmate, or however they score in curling. Why not jigsaw puzzle assembly? Imagine the silence as nothing happens.

O.K. It’s a bit of a stretch, but the timing for promoting jigsaw puzzling tournament couldn’t be better. NCAA Football is over. NFL Football is about to end with the anti-climactic Super Bowl rout by the Eagles (not the singers!) So. turn off the TV, gather ‘round the dining room table, and I want to be all-inclusive here so, if you don’t have a dining room, any table in any room will suffice. 
(Being specific and hardcore literal, can be mentally exhausting).

On the home front though, good news. On the chance that humans might be active in the little country town where I live, I ventured out yesterday to see if our little local toy store was open with the aim of buying a puzzle. To my delight, they were open. I found a beautiful Ravensburger 1000 piece. I highly recommend Ravensburger as a brand. Check it out.

As I write, my wife is intensely puzzling/assembling.

(How’s that for a “cognitive speedbump”? This could be the first time that intensely and puzzling have appeared side by side.)

Onward now, to address the most puzzling issue currently rattling around in my brain. 

This incredibly true chapter from my life’s Odyssey happened about 20 years ago.

it’s called: “Empathic Listening”.

I’ve subtitled it: “Bob’s  Attempt at Nuanced Leadership”.

Malcolm is a department manager reporting to me, the Operations Mgr.

He has a problem. His management approach is best described as bigoted bullying.

But, as his boss, it’s my responsibility to give him the opportunity to correct his behavior. Too many managers believe they can correct/change people’s behavior. Oh, so wrong! We can explain clearly why their behavior must change and provide resources for them to make a sincere effort to amend their habits. But, if they truly want to adjust, only they can make the change. They gotta wanna!

Malcolm needs help, so I offer him the writings of Stephen R. Covey and his 7 habits which I had been using as a personal guide for several years. One of Covey’s articles is “Empathic Listening”. I give Malcolm a written assignment; Read Covey’s article and give me a written synopsis of your interpretation and how it could affect your management style.

Malcolm completes the assignment on time. We meet. He hands me his written response, which to my shock and awe, he has titled “Emphatic Listening”. Judging by his response as we reviewed his article, he wasn’t joking.

At this point I’m required to update Corporate Personnel on Malcolm’s progress. When I explain Malcolm’s response to the nice corporate lady lawyer – – – – nothing but silence! Malcolm managed to render a lawyer speechless.

And here’s the puzzle: Why, so often, do we hear, but don’t listen? Malcolm ultimately lost his job due to his failure to appreciate/internalize the difference.

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