Working with Other Humans Is Not Optional

A big part of conflict resolution is problem solving, and one of the biggest parts of problem solving is defining the problem. I was reminded of this when I came across this great comic over on this blog:

We throw up our hands all the time about what's not working in the workplace, and the solutions we demand tend to be short term and immediate. I'm staying late to read emails, so let's schedule a meeting instead. This meeting took too long, so let's do more work by email. While there definitely are important reasons to choose email versus in-person communication, the problems you solve by that choice are not the one that is upsetting you–there's no time to get everything done. 

That's a tougher problem to solve because it is fundamentally about what we are doing, not how we are doing it. The issue isn't time. We each literally have all the time in the world. It's what we choose to do with that time. Sure, if you're more efficient it will help some, so pay attention to how you run your meetings and how you send (or cc) emails. But also take a minute to figure out how it is possible that you have so much on your plate right now that the requirement of interacting with other humans in order to get the work done seems like an impossible burden.

Because there's not much in this world worth doing that doesn't involve working with other humans.  


  1. Brian Birch
    27.04.2010 at 11:52 am

    This is a great post, I couldn’t agree more…I think associations suffer from this a lot, because we are driven by members, and members have a lot of ideas of what they’d like the association to do, leading us as staff to try to do everything our members want us to do, which then in turns leads to less getting done, as we spread ourselves so thin…sometimes the hardest part about being a good association staff employee is saying no respectfully, and channeling that energy into programs or projects that have more bang for the buck and ties to long term goals

  2. 13.07.2010 at 8:35 am

    Nice to see the comic used for a higher purpose!