Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The On the Verge Tribe

It has taken me many years to discover the On the Verge tribe. My excuse is they are disguised and hidden in our midst.

Members of the tribe may be spotted by their tendency to surface certain topics when you are just on the verge of taking action. For example, these are classic On the Verge revelations:

  • Just before you walk into the board meeting, the On the Verge team member will note that the statistics in your report aren't "quite accurate."
  • Shortly before you depart for the weekend, the On the Verger will casually mention the deadline that was supposed to be two weeks from now has been moved to Monday.
  • Few vacations will ever begin without an On the Verger passing along a rumor that the boss is planning to reorganize the department.
  • The project that the team has worked on for months and is about to roll out will receive an extra dosage of stress when an On the Verge team member notes that he felt from the beginning it wouldn't work because of strong opposition from a crucial, but hitherto unmentioned, source.

When confronted, tribal members usually resort to one response: "I thought you knew." This ingenius defense mechanism, which does not require a blowgun, can paralyze their victims with self-doubt and spark extended analysis of whether or not the withheld information should in fact have been discerned.

That is a psychological trap from which few emerge.

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