Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Same Planet ... Different Worlds

I've been through two apparently unrelated incidents in the last 24 hours which have set me thinking that Earth is actually a multiverse with everyone living in their own reality.

Today's incident occured when I went to pick up a package from my Post Office. The attendant behind the counter was quite confrontational and said that I must have lost a notification that the postman had left in my letterbox. Despite my explanation that I had been eagerly checking my mailbox for this package (a new battery for my completely dead mobile phone) for the last week and I had not received any such notification, the attendant aggressively insisted that I was at fault. When I told him I was going to report his confrontational attitude to his management his reply was "You wouldn't do that if I was a white man". Anyway, I've now made the complaint and I'm happy to let the Australia Post Customer Service team review the video footage and decide what action to take. I can shrug off bad customer service but I don't take gratuitous accusations of racism from anybody. My question from that incident is how on earth did this man decide that a complaint about his customer service must be racially motivated?

Yesterday's event was equally baffling. I was at an IBM roundtable meeting which is where Big Blue invites selected Business Partners to chew the fat on selected topics and hopefully gain some consensus about the best direction to take on those issues. One of the key topics at that meeting was about negotiating commercial relationships between individual Business Partners and one of the people present didn't like the idea because (in his words) "I don't trust anybody".

OK, we've all been burned by people we trusted and I'm sure we could all name some business partners who are lacking in ethics. In my case I chose not to trust those who have screwed me in the past (you know who you are) but I'm certainly open to working with new faces on new opportunities. To hear a business person declare that they don't trust anybody seems completely out of this world. You want your customers to trust you, but you're not willing to trust anyone else... what's wrong with this picture?

Let me clarify that I have known this Partner for many years and he is a thoroughly decent person who deserves the success he has achieved. I'm just baffled by his decision not to trust anybody regardless of the circumstances.

Anyway, both of those incidents left me unable to see where the other person was coming from and I now need to (regretfully) walk away from spending more time figuring out what they were thinking.

Same Planet ... Different Worlds.

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