Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In Defense of Dillholes

My good friend Dave Johnson wrote a rather scathing blog post about "dillholes" in small industries who have bad attitudes because they appear unable to work cooperatively in a collaborative environment. I hope to help Dave and many others understand the mindset of the "dillhole."

Dave presented a scenario where a person asks for a "huge favor" and then is ultimately unhappy with the results. Dave paints the person as an ungrateful Oliver Twist asking for more gruel then complains that it should taste like a steak dinner. The problem with this is that the person never asked for gruel in the first place.

People who are skilled often forget that they are asked for help because this is a recognition of their great talent. Dave conveniently describes this person as someone in a tight spot and ultimately responsible for their own work. But as Dave also pointed out, everyone in an industry brings their own talents, both green and skilled.

The person needing help may not know how much help they need. I've found myself in situations where I'm asking someone for help and what I think is just a favor is the equivalent of lifting a cinder block using only your testicles.

As a more experienced business analyst where I work, I'm asked for favors all that time. When asked for a favor I understand it for what it is: A recognition of my skills.

When I'm asked to lift a school bus, I can complain that the favor is too large and too much is expected of me, or I can assume that the person asking simply doesn't understand what would be required. Since I'm the one with the knowledge, I would be the "dillhole" if I didn't try to convey it at that point.

Setting proper expectations and explaining size and scope of a project is a fundamental part of anything you do for anyone, whether personal or professional. When an obviously talented person forgets this basic piece of communication they set themselves up to be the unappreciated victim and then write blog posts about it.

All of us at one time or another are the dillhole. We don't necessarily come upon this distinction deliberately but sometimes step into it like a flaming lunch sack on our front porch. If only the skilled person could've helped us understand the size and scope in the first place, the collaboration would have already begun.

Maybe if the skilled and talented could come out from behind the pulpit and communicate thoroughly and respectfully, the dillhole could be seen for what he truly is: Just a jerk asking you to do his work.

You didn't really think I'd defend the dillhole did you?



Dave Johnson said...

You are such a dillhole.

Cecil said...

I noticed you got "green" and "skilled" in the same sentence. Coincidence? I think not.