“I could always tell when an organisation was in good shape. I could tell because the manager of the organisation would always be talking about how great the people in the organisation were. If the manager was talking about anything other than how great people in the organisation were, I knew that the organisation was in bad shape. The way to manage an organisation successfully is to manage it in such a way that you can be proud of the people with whom you are working. You have to find a way to interact with the people with whom you are working in a way that makes you proud of them.
What I am saying is this: If you have any interactions with people that leave you feeling resentful or annoyed or critical of the people, then you need to recognise that your responsibility is to interact with them in such a way that leaves you feeling supportive, admiring, and respectful of the people with whom you interact. Find a way to interact with them, find a way to get them to interact with you, find a way to get them to do their job so that you can respect them.
Each of us has a responsibility for interacting with each other in a way that leaves us respecting, admiring and supporting each other. Now there is a lot of stuff that I don’t like about the way people function, so my job is to interact with them in such a way not that I like what I don’t like but that I like what I get. So that I get what I like. See my job is to produce what I like, what I can respect and admire in people and your job is to generate from people what you respect and admire in them, what you need in order to respect and admire them.
I want to be real clear about what I am saying because I am talking about a conspiracy; I am talking about a way of interacting with each other; I am talking about a level of demand; I am talking about a necessity level in which you are requiring that people function at a level which you can respect and admire and that you get from people what you need from them in order to respect and admire them.
Most of us think it is perfectly okay for us to watch somebody screw it up, and have your evaluation or judgement that they screwed it up, and therefore you don’t respect and admire them. That’s not okay any more, so we have to require from each other a level of performance that allows us to respect and admire each other. I don’t want to bump into Susie’s work and experience it at any level other than the level that allows me to admire and respect and support her. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to come into contact with any mistakes or errors – doesn’t even mean that I don’t want to come into contact with any failures. It means that in my interaction with her work I especially want to have that which generates respect and admiration, and in response to her errors, mistakes and failures, I want to have engendered in me respect and admiration.
It’s a bit of a dilemma, you see, if people around you are screwing it up. It’s no good to walk around pretending that they’re not. The point is not to intervene in a way that merely makes them wrong, but to intervene in a way that precludes their screwing up. You have got to intervene in a way that either they get out or shape up. There is a thing called necessity level, you know in combat, people become very effective. And some people crumple, so the point is to get the necessity level up to the level needed to get the job done so that people either shape up or get out.
We need to get a conscious campaign to elevate our relationships so that we are working out of a sense of respect and admiration for the people with whom we work and out of a sense of support.”
~ Werner Erhard, 1980
Image: Bahrain I, 2005, Andreas Gursky