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Cookies, Communication, Conclusions

COOKIES: Yours? Mine? Ours?

There is a modern-day parable about a woman traveler who was so pleased with herself for making the decision to buy a bag of gourmet cookies just before boarding a plane as she traveled on business. She had missed lunch and, though overpriced, they would serve to tide her over during the long flight.

Upon boarding her plane, she quickly found her window seat and was pleased when the stewardess announced the closing of the cabin door. This meant that the middle seat of the three-across row was going to be empty. Both she and the man sitting in the aisle seat placed their belongings in the empty seat as soon as the plane took off.

As she started reading through her work papers, she matter of factly reached over and took one of the cookies from the package. It was hard to keep her composure as she saw the aisle passenger’s hand in her peripheral vision reach over and extract a cookie from the package. It was all she could do to not address this shocking lack of manners. But she decided to let it go.

As the flight continued it seemed that every time she took a cookie so did the aisle passenger. Was this person trying to make her mad? Were they “hitting on her” in a sophomoric way? But she still held her tongue.

And then. And then, there was one cookie left. And then…this total stranger took the last cookie. They had the audacity to take the last cookie. And, to add arrogance to the equation, the aisle passenger broke it in half and offered half of the last cookie to her. When she looked him in the eye he actually smiled at her. He smiled at her. She said nothing.

But, all the way to her parking space she mumbled to herself about the rudeness, the lack of manners, and the absence of any social graces to even ask permission to have “one” of her cookies.

When she got to her car she fumbled in her purse for her keys. Something kept getting in her hand’s way. When she stopped fumbling and actually looked into her bag she saw something unexpected. She saw her bag of cookies right where she had put them when she got change from the cashier.

Moral of the story: Communication is critical. It is quite often at the heart of all misunderstandings. In the workplace, it is essential to check your facts (or presumed facts).

Jumping to a conclusion…ever do that?

There are times we all have probably thought we knew everything we needed to know about something. There are times when we would “bet the farm”, so to speak, on what has led to a situation that we are now confronted with. (I don’t own a farm though.)


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