Old school advice

OK, who remembers the guy on the left?

I appreciate Todd Smith’s posts, especially when I need to get back to basics.  His site — Little Things Matter — focuses relentlessly on its subject.   I think of it as an extended riff on some advice about the “little things” I got as a fledgling McDonald’s shift manager:

Keep the corners clean and the middle of the floor will take care of itself.

This post about showing sincere interest lays out a number of things I forget far too often.  As my network gets larger, I have to make a concerted effort to remember names.  If I get lazy and don’t repeat a name on my first meeting, then I’m at a loss when I meet the person again.

PM Quote of the Day — Emily Post

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use

I liked this quote because it provides an example of something I’ve found hard to explain: the difference between a skill and a competency.  In this case, the skill is knowing which fork is which.  Competence refers to the cluster of abilities, knowledge, skills, temperament, etc. required for a role. 

Competence in manners would involve not only knowing table settings, but other, fuzzier abilities — like understanding how to best to convey such knowledge.  For example, with someone who appears unsure when faced with an array of utensils, one could show empathy with their plight, something like: “I know how you feel.  Someone showed me this trick about starting with the utensils on the outside….”

Hey... wheres the fish fork?

Hey... who took my fish fork?

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