Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Use your Common Sense!!!

Common Sense - A sense which is so not Common

“Use some common sense!” We all are used to this statement now. My math teacher used to say that to me when I was in primary grade. And when I used to ask, “Ma’am, can you please tell me what common sense is actually?” she said it’s a sense which is not very common. And I asked again that if its not very common then why do we call it common sense and expect every other person to use it.
In this blog entry, we will take a deep down journey in the valley of common sense and discover the hidden power we already have because no matter how intelligent, efficient or smart we are, we always end up doing dumb things in life. So lets take our discussion further and set down some principles to discover and get used to our old friend Common sense.
I still remember an ex colleague who had this major body odour problem. Its natural you can’t help it. But the only problem is you can’t feel it… but others around you definitely do! Some people in the department forwarded him articles on grooming and stuff. Some suggested sending him to a training session on etiquettes while others were of the opinion of referring the matter to Human Resources. I said why do all that fuss. One day I cornered him during a lunch break and gave him an Antiperspirant and told him the benefits. He said I don’t need this. I said nobody use it for himself/herself. You have to use it for other people. Yet he argued and I had to drop the bomb. I said mate no offence but people make fun of you when pass them and I actually saw people using air freshners after you left their rooms. He was silent and he nodded his head in agreement. He worked for 8 more months with us but we never had the same complaint from him. Moral of the Story: Instead of choosing the typical solutions, common sense can save a lot of effort and cost in terms of time and money.
If I ask you why sweaters are not sold in summers and why ice creams are not consumed much in winters what would be your answer? Obviously you will say Dude use your common sense. So Common sense also requires presence of mind. You need to use your head if you wanna use common sense. But don’t use your head like Archie’s friend Moose did. When he couldn’t solve his math problem on the board, his teacher said MOOSE use your head. Bang! Moose bumped his head in the board and said I don’t see the solution here either. (Chuckles)
A story I had shared in one of my sessions. A company built a new, high-rise corporate headquarters. A few weeks after the building was fully occupied, the employees began to complain about the slowness of the elevators. Very quickly, the complaints reached in large proportions, so the company spoke to the architects of the building. Could the elevators be sped up or increased in size? Sure, came the reply, but it would involve months of demolition, extension, and reconstruction around the elevator shafts.
It would be hugely disruptive to a large part of the workforce. Supposedly, the story goes, the corporation did nothing to the elevator shafts. Instead, it placed full-length mirrors on every floor beside the elevator doors. The employees spent an extra few moments preening themselves and looking at one another in the mirrors and the complaints faded.
The point of the story? Instead of a complicated solution, there is always a simple solution which is answered by common sense.
Now the common sense is something that we can relate to simplicity. The problem with us is that we tend to see issues as they’re complexities like computer systems or Rocket science. So we need to keep things simple. We all think running a business is a rocket science. You will find countless books on this topic with a lot of principles to follow. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs made it simple: His advice to business men is “Never Run out of Cash” If you think about it.. that is the recipe for successful business.
After this whole discussion, We can sum up the principles of Common sense as follows:
·         Remember the KISS Formula – Keep it Simple Stupid
·         Use LATERAL THINKING – EDWARD De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
·         Break down the complexities into steps or stages to make it simpler
·         Ask simple questions – When, where, why, which, who and How.
·         Reduce your stress. It minimizes the chances of using common sense
·         Put yourself in other people’s shoes – Those who expect you to use common sense see things from their perspective. If you put yourself in their shoes, you will know their perspective.
·         Presence of mind is the key – Learn to probe things and go deep.


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