Friday, January 4, 2008

Stay Loose Jack

My cousin Jack Gibb wrote a lot and lectured a lot on trust and developed a theory he called TORI. When I was young I stopped at his house in Portland on my way from LA to Calgary in a '49 Merc and had breakfast with my great aunt, his mom. And she was asking me about what I'd majored in and I told her and she said well you know Jack is in that field and he's pretty well known and he's with the Behavioral Sciences Institute in La Jolla and I'm so green and naive this was all news to me and I say "Oh," and go on eating. My aunt Ada, his mom, was the salt of the earth. Jack was a great man. His bro and my cousin too was the dean of the graduate school of management at BYU, Bill Dyer. Jack's article "Is Help Helpful?" has shaped some of my management style.
For example some of the time and you've probably run into this, you can offer help and be rejected totally. And then there are the times when you want to do it yourself and somebody appears to be butting in when they say they would like to help. Jack goes into that type of situation in his article. The piece has shown up in some textbooks and journals. But on the loose thing knowing that help can be unhelpful can make a person choose to be brutal when someone pleads with him to go up a tree to get a cat when almost everyone knows that a cat will, someday, come down on its own. And there are a ton more situations that don't require someone to go hairbrain nuts just because an event is occurring, that, in the mind of the panicky, may seem to need an immediate remedy. Perhaps it may need no help at all. Other than listening to the person's problem and going Hmm, hmm, so the cat's up the tree. I wonder if you've thought about opening a can of sardines and placing it at the foot of the tree. Hmm.

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