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It Is Common Sense; It Is Not Common Practice

outstretched-handTen years ago one of my sons joined me in a few meetings. He was there to witness not participate. His attendance was granted in advance at my request.

On the drive home I asked the question, “So what did you think of the meetings?” Here is what he said to me, “Well I found them to be interesting. I kept waiting to hear something magical and totally off the wall from you. It never happened. I mean tell me if I have this wrong. You basically listen and ask questions. You listen some more and ask more questions. Then when you feel the time is right you offer solutions. The solutions you offer are common sense. Right? I mean like seriously, common sense! Then everyone in the meeting looks at you like you are a genius and they want to know how to do it like that. Then this is where you will follow up and get paid money? Is this right? Is this really what you do?”

My answer, “You are pretty much on target with your assessment. Here is the truth about how this works. People in general are coming from different places in their lives. Today more than ever, people are really focusing on themselves and their business. What may be common sense to you and me – well it may not be common sense to someone else. The other thing we are working on is change. People in general do not like change. It may seem like common sense, but if it will require a change in behavior or a change in a habit it may never stick. The only way to make it stick is going to be through accountability and the incentive to change.”

My son said, “Or a bop on the head!”

My response, “Funny you should say that, even a bop on the head does not always work.”

In fact, it may come as a shock what bop on the head works and which one does not. Think of this one example and there are so many, I should write a book! A man who happens to be a CEO of a large company, enjoys a treat each morning with his coffee. Every single morning the same slice of this well known coffee cake (in NYC anyway).

As you might imagine the coffee cake is made with sugar, sugar, and more sugar, white flour, eggs and who knows what else! After his last physical check up almost a year ago his doctor told him to stop eating these type of foods as his cholesterol numbers did not look good and to reduce his coffee intake as well. His family had some health history and this was more than a precaution with three children, his wife and a few vacation homes there was a lot to live for. Plus as a CEO and a Board member for three other companies there was business to take care of all the time.

Nothing changed – he continued his four cups of coffee in the morning and some days he even had two slices of coffee cake. You would think the medical advice would be the needed bop on the head!

One day he bit into something solid in his coffee cake. He slid the object onto a napkin and it was clearly the clipping of a large toe nail from a person which was in his coffee cake! The CEO never ate coffee cake again! Bop! Do you need a Bop on the head?

Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified executive and personal coach who resides in Stamford, CT.

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  1. Oh my goodness! Not that I eat coffee cake to begin with but if I ever had the desire to have any I would no longer want a slice again! This is revolting. I really like your son’s insight. It’s amazing what we can learn by listening to our kids!

  2. I love your son’s perspective and it is so true, what seems to be obvious to a coach is not obvious to the “coachee”.. that said, that’s why coaches need coaches too! Just because we can see others’ issues clearly doesn’t mean we can see our own. Always be learning. Comical that a Dr’s diagnosis meant nothing but a toenail made him stop.

  3. Your son’s perspective was spot on. How awesome that you provided him the opportunity to learn in this way. He probably learned more from you that one day than his entire year of school! I love the toenail story. It’s so true that we won’t stop doing things that are bad for us until our version of the ‘bop on the head’ happens.

  4. Mitch,

    What a great learning experience for your son. I love his conclusion. Yes, business is all about listening, solutions and common sense which is not always common.

    Write on!~