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My Favorite Hamburger

My Favorite Hamburger

by Frank Roche on October 16, 2008

in Communication

One of our former au pairs, Anna, came to visit us from Hamburg, Germany. She’s my favorite Hamburger.

What’s really cool is that she’s a very successful businesswoman now. She has her own salon in central Hamburg. She started small, and now the business is burgeoning. Anna says that she has to turn away clients because they are maxed out. In fact, she says she’s going to have to raise prices in the new year to level out her business. That’s a high class problem.

We haven’t seen Anna in four years, and it’s been seven years since she lived with us and took care of our boys. She was always very smart and very motivated. She said that she was going into business, and studied cosmetology for a few years to prepare. Then she took a risk, started a business, and it worked. Great.

It’s super great to see Anna now. And there’s an HR communication lesson embedded in all this. There’s an interpersonal communication flaw that people are guilty of called “static evaluation.” Basically, it means that when we don’t see something, we assume it stays the same. An extension of static evaluation is that the first impressions of a person stays with us. Start out as a secretary and make it to CEO, and that person is a “secretary who made it.” Static evaluation means that we don’t recognize that the CEO might look like the secretary, but is no longer the same person.

Static evaluation is most dangerous in career planning and performance evaluations. In our minds, people don’t grow up. We grow up, we’re different people. But people who report to us — they’re still kids. But don’t fool yourself — people grow. And static evaluation is a thinking flaw. When we’re aware of it, we can correct our thinking. When we’re not, everyone is frozen in time.

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