The Paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”s

The Paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”sI learned a long time ago that one of the greatest frustrations in life is how people respond to “The Paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”s.” But, before I continue, I apologize for the grammatical errors that must inevitably accompany the explanation of this paradigm.

The paradigm comes into play at any time when you realize that where you is is not where you ought to be.

This can be even more problematic if you and your spouse are driving and you find yourself at a dead end on an unnamed road instead of at your intended destination. This is especially true if your spouse has told you more than once that you had made a wrong turn. You have arrived at where you is, but it isn’t where you ought to be.

Now the problem becomes: If you is where you is, and where you is is not where you ought to be, what is it that you must do to get from where you is to where you ought to be?

By now you should be getting the idea. But the foregoing is just an illustration of the frustration that can arise out your being where you is when being where you is is not where you ought to be.

The paradigm often comes into play at work (get it?) when an employee is not where he ought to be on a projects. According to the milestones and Key Performance Indicators, where he is is not where he ought to be. This is a corollary of success is not measured by what you achieved, but by what you have achieved compared to what you should have achieved. In other words, even when where you is appears to be successful, if you aren’t where you ought to be, wherever it is is not an indicator of success. It may, in fact, be a sign that where you is is in trouble.

The correct approach to resolve this paradigm in a serious business model is to implement a gap analysis. The first thing that gap analysis does is to ensure that you know where you ought to be. If you don’t know where you ought to be, you is no longer in trouble. You is in BIG trouble.

The next thing the gap analysis does is to figure where you really is. Having determined where you is, that information is used to determine how to get from where you is to where you ought to be. With that knowledge in hand, the objective then becomes eliminating the gap.

One of the things I like about performing a gap analysis is that it focuses on defining the problem. Once the problem is adequately defined, an appropriate solution can be determined and implemented.

Another thing I like is that it does not focus on the person or the reason for where you is not being where you ought to be. Why you is where you is is subordinate to getting from where you is to where you ought to be. Why you got to where you is is important only to the extent that you don’t repeat the same mistake(s) again. The overriding issue is to determine the direction for how to get where you ought to be. If you keep ending up somewhere other than where you ought to be, then the “why” becomes important and requires corrective action to keep the same mistake from recurring.

People who do not understand the paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”s are destined to deal with both short-term and long-term frustration, either as a boss or as an employee. But it also applies to life at home and in every possible venue. Understanding “Is”es and “Ought”s simply makes life easier. At least it ought to.

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