The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The tyranny of good

Recently I was sitting in a meeting where we were talking about a program all of us were accompanying. The meeting had been set up to learn more about our program and how it was experienced. The moment one participant shared an experience he wasn’t sure about others jumped in, trying to transform this into a “good experience”.

This was a kind gesture and done in a desire to support him.

But it didn’t work.

What he was looking for, was to make sense of his own experience.

But with people jumping in, as they did, he was put in front of a general impression, that others saw his experience as a failed one. By trying to help him, people established an implicit evaluation. Another possibility is, that they might have been using the false premise that anything else than a happy report meant that he was disappointed.

When starting a new program, when taking up a new role, there is much to be learned. And especially when it comes to helping people, there is a challenge in knowing how one has been effective. And effective may not mean satisfied.

That’s where having principles one can hold up creates a proper frame to work within. It’s nothing meant to be rigid, it needs to evolve with the learning, but one has to be willing to stay in it.

Those being helped can offer recognition. But what they really give is a space to learn and become a better professional.


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