In terms of people skills, I am decidedly lacking in the eyes of corporate America on the basis my sandwiches have no bread. Let’s examine my deliberate lack of carbs.
The majority of American society has been schooled in the sandwich method. It involves “sandwiching” an area of needed or expected improvement, the meat of the matter, between two compliments or acknowledgements of success, the fluffy, porous bread. The idea is to make the listener feel appreciated enough to undertake the necessary improvement.
Does it work? Herein lies the debate.
Bread is recognized around the world as a nutritionally questionable way of extending a meal, a needless filler which floods a body with detrimental sugars and fat-building carbohydrates. It normally surrounds only the poorest cuts of meat because it can mask the taste and represents the poorest of desserts.
Likewise, the bread of the sandwich method is fruitless fluff added to the necessity at hand. The compliments and acknowledgements are hollow, needless words diluting the strength and urgency of the meat.
One disastrous fault in the logic of the feeling-sparing sandwich method is the bare fact sandwiches do not keep. Bread molds. Meat spoils.
Often, the meat awaits another slice of bread in order to be served as a sandwich. When change is needed, one cannot wait to serve the meat as the first slice molds and the meat spoils in the time it takes to bake the second slice. In the waiting, damage is done by not rectifying what needs changing.
Ambition is wasted when its endeavors are denied. When one goes an extra mile unbidden, especially to corporate reward, ambition wanes. Why put forth more effort when it will go unrecognized, or worse only be shown the same reward as those who put forth less than acceptable or merely mediocre effort?
No refrigerant is available. Both compliments and reprimands must come in time correlating to their respective actions. The same way ambition dies when it is unrewarded, obstinate resolution grows as a thick armor against the need for change. When an ill-fitting method is employed without identification, resistance to its change is inevitable.
Another faulty component to the sandwich method logic is all meat is an inferior cut. Not all requests for change are condescending findings of fault. The need for improvement does not equate to finding a person inferior. Everyone is aware there are fields which fall outside their strength. The assumption recognition of a need for improvement is a character conviction makes the entire exercise ill-conceived.
Asking anyone to change their performance or behavior without denigration is both possible and preferable. On this principle alone, the sandwich method is unnecessary. What is the alternative to the cheater meal of a sandwich?
Fruit, Cheese and Wine
Rather than serve molded bread, which truly spares no feelings, why not service fruit, cheese and wine?
Fruit is a necessity. It is the reward for a job well done. Routine flattery is not fruit. Unceremonious acts of simple gratitude, recognition of acceptable effort and reward for meritorious behavior are fruits of varying sweetness. Each lead to a balanced diet.
Wine is a luxury. Simply put, it is a choice. It opens the floor to curiosity and innovation. It is an open door for suggestions, which shows authority’s willingness to grow rather than the faulted belief in supremacy.
With all of these ingredients at the ready, when the meat is served, it will be properly chewed and digested where it will provide all the healthful benefits it possesses.
Rather than revisiting deeds left unheralded, serving a balanced diet of compliments, acknowledgements and requests for improvement and growth is far healthier than the sandwich in all venues, not only the corporate ones. If we are as free with our praise as we are with our admonishments, we have no need to sandwich the demands for change between anything but support and belief in success.
Just a bit of food for thought.
Do you prefer the sandwich method or the balanced diet method?
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