Push You, Pull Me (Sorry, Dr. Dolittle)

For reference, the pushmi-pullyu was a Dr. Dolittle character that had two heads at opposite ends of its body. When it tried to move, both heads tried to go in opposite directions.  This would be the epitome of energy and effort expended with no motion, progress, or value added.

In an earlier post I presented the Say – Do – Are framework, an attempt at a simple picture of the relationships between who we are and what we do and say.  It works well from an external viewpoint (top down) in helping to understand how others view us and how we view others.  But something seemed to be missing.  Only after a subsequent post related our skills and our expertise or depth in those skills did I realize that these abilities also belonged in the earlier framework, but are more useful from an internal viewpoint.  They are the missing “mezzanine” in the structure.  They are the actual skills and abilities that we use in doing something, in adding value in our surroundings, and in particular in creating the image of how we wish to be seen.

An updated picture looks more like this:


Behavior Framework

We have a foundation, our fundamental Values and Principles (things we value and the rules we use to interact with people) that then influence how we apply our abilities, skills, gifts and talents that become what we actually do, and these are what people use as reference points to evaluate and interpret what we say.  After all, Actions speak louder than Words.

With this “remodeling” and by looking at ourselves with our own eyes (bottom up, from the inside out), the framework becomes Are-Able-Do-Say, or AADS.  When we operate these in synch, we add value in our surroundings.  When we learn by stretching ourselves and grow in skills and depth (up and to the right), we increase the value that we can add.

The synchronization that should tie them all together vertically in the framework is integrity.

When we use this framework to evaluate our relationships, then our roles as parents, spouses, and friends improve, our careers are better, and we reap rewards and benefits that we value in return.

In going from the general to the specific, I think this framework is also key to understanding what an employer is looking for in an employee: compatibility with the culture (Values and Principles), needed skills and talents (Abilities), the potential to increase self-motivation (move from management push to employee pull) to help develop these skills further as well as acquire new ones, and to apply them (Do) consistent with organizational culture, values and principles in ways that add value that others recognize (for instance, customers or clients).

If the performance review is a useful means to exercise a push technique to overcome inertia and move in a beneficial direction, then mentoring and coaching help steer the momentum of a self-motivated pull desire further.  This is energy expended in the same direction, additively, which results in far greater leverage and momentum in the form of added value.  It’s the “I’ll ‘Push (or challenge) You’ until you learn to ‘Pull (or challenge) Yourself’“ approach that can bring both individuals and the organization to maximum potential and added value.

It has been enlightening to try and teach college students in the classroom using this as a fundamental tool for success.  It is a joy when it is “caught,” and incredibly frustrating when there is no interest in catching it.

How best to recognize the initiative and the learning and growth potential that is characteristic of a pull person? Or, more to the point, what do I have to do as an employee to develop a pull attitude?  Next time.

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
C. JoyBell C.

About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 09: Doing, 10: Integrity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Push You, Pull Me (Sorry, Dr. Dolittle)

  1. Jennifer Olson says:

    I agree that “mentoring and coaching help steer the momentum of a self-motivated pull desire further”, since any mentor, coach, teacher, etc. will sooner or later tire of pulling their student along, if he or she has no self-motivation. Really, only God Himself has the kind of patience and endurance required for a student with no self-motivation. That said, what does that speak to us about mentoring and coaching? I think it means it’s a necessary and highly valuable person to have in our lives. Who wouldn’t want one?


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