“The situation is very critical”

My boss from the previous company was obsessed with the word critical. Whenever there used to be a high severity bug reported by customer, he used to say that “a critical defect has been reported” or “situation is very critical”, etc. One day, at home, being his usual self, he was tensed and kept uttering the word “critical” in front of his wife (who by the way is a surgeon) and how difficult situation he was in and how unsure he is of getting out of this situation. She had enough of him that day, and asked him, “Do you even know the meaning of the word critical?”. “You won’t understand”, he retorted. She continued anyway cutting him off. “Is anyone dying or fighting for his/her life? Do you want to know what critical means? If a person is lying down on an operation table with his chest cut open, and you are holding his heart in your hands, which is still beating, that is critical! What you described are difficult situations you should be concerned about”.
The point I am trying to make here is we should definitely be concerned with such situations, but being worried to the point of affecting one’s health is what exactly we should be avoiding. The kind of work we do, is not a life and death matter. So remain concerned but not worried.
Problems are treasures, opportunities that are thrown our way to make ourselves better. We should bubble them up and discuss them openly. So next time you goof up, remember it’s just a temporary situation. Discuss with your peers, supervisor and resolve it. You will be amazed how good you feel.


A little boy and the marbles

A little boy was playing with marbles. He had a whole bunch of them, some were rough, while very few were shining and new. I looked at them and said you have very few good ones left. Boy immediately retorted, “my good ones are these”, pointing to the rough ones. He said the rough ones are the ones with whom he had won many games. So they are the good ones. The shiny marbles are just new for me. They have not been tried yet so can’t be called good. We see the same stuff in our teams sometimes. Our good team members, pillars of the team are the people with whom we have gone through all ups and downs. Quite often we take them for granted and under-appreciate them. Our list of negative feedback/areas of improvement is mostly longer than positives/strengths/good things, since we fail to see all the value being created by the team on a daily basis. We kind of assume that company is paying salary for this purpose only. This itself is counter-productive sometimes. These subtle opportunities if identified on time and feedback shared with the team, go a long way in ensuring positive behavior from the team. So next time you see work getting accomplished (however small or routine it may seem) try appreciating your team member and see the magic.