The sounds of thudding on the roof were loud and unexpected. After a moment, I realized the sounds were not coming from the roof, but the second story. What was she up to? And just then, my dog appeared. She was quite pleased, smiling broadly. With a feather in the corner of her eye. She had just shredded a feather pillow. Thousands of small feathers were scattered across my room. A mess to clean up, and, given the quantity of feathers, I’m sure they will continue to pop up over the coming weeks. She was just being a dog and enjoying herself while she shredded away. And while she has learned a lot about manners in the relatively short time I’ve had her, clearly there is more work to do to set the boundaries and expectations.
People in business do what they think is natural and right every day. They are proud of their work and eager to show it to you. And sometimes, as they stand there proudly, you will be shocked and dismayed. You know that like the feather pillow, there is a mess to clean up and there will be lasting effects. But before you go ballistic, think about whether you have set expectations. Your people are likely doing their best with good intentions, but may not be clear about expectations. How are you making sure you don’t have a feather pillow moment of your own?