Challenging Unthinking Behavior
My wife and family have been traveling to Cancun and Riviera Maya for twenty years. It’s comfortable, leisurely, and accessible from almost anywhere in the United States. Although Americans’ travel to the Cancun area is generally down this year, it remains an easy go-to for a short vacation.
The Sunscreen Conundrum
Sunscreen is an absolute requirement and pool guests can be seen applying it liberally throughout the day. Being fair-skinned myself, I’m no exception. But what I can never understand is why grown men feel they must (1) ask their wife or partner to help them apply sunscreen, and (2) stand like a scarecrow with arms extended parallel to the ground while sunscreen is applied.
This observation is not unique to American tourists in Mexico. In fact, I see it at any location where sunscreen should be part of one’s day. My theory is that young, fidgety boys, from the time they were 3 years old, were directed by the woman in their life to hold their arms out.
It’s ridiculous, not required for effective sunscreen application, and makes grown men (30’s through 80’s) look foolish and helpless. I’ve observed the condition for decades and believe men do it from rote memory, not reasonable thought.
Have You Seen This?
Have you seen what I’m describing? Are you guilty of asking this of a young son, or supporting a grown man in expecting this slavish compliance to raise one’s arms to parallel?
What else do you do because you’ve always done so and thought that was how it’s supposed to be done?
Other Examples of Unthinking Behavior
- Buy more seats than necessary at industry events merely to establish a presence, then struggle to fill those same seats?
- Seek meetings with flag and general officers based solely on their seniority?
- Give hiring preference to those from particular schools?
- Invite your member of Congress to your facility then struggle to answer, “What can I do to help you?”
- Wear the civilian equivalent of a uniform, or expect it of others?
- Drive a particular luxury vehicle?
- Implement a meeting schedule that you inherited from a predecessor or prior regime?
- Arrive at your desk / remote office / chat channel by a specific time each day?
- Publish a weekly report of any type for purely internal consumption?
For the next week, see if you can identify things in your routine that crept in along the way, are linked to a norm or culture, and might not actually contribute to value.
For a copy of my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring Circus of Federal Sales, and more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.