Being Cranky

Carol had been sitting in the ENT clinic for over half an hour beyond her appointment time.  As she watched others enter the clinic after she did and be served, she became furious.  She complained to the desk clerk but got no satisfaction.  Then she discovered the problem.

As patients entered the clinic, they filled out a data sheet.  These were put in a tray.  The data sheet on top was the first one called to see the doctor.  Because Carol had been there for a while, her form was at the bottom of the tray.

Carol was furious.  When she finally saw a doctor, she unloaded on him.  The doctor became equally upset when he found out that Carol was correct in her observation.  Clinic practices were changed and patient satisfaction surveys went up dramatically.

Being cranky doesn’t mean that you are mean to others or act like a bully.  Rather, it conveys a passion for doing things the right way.  At times, being cranky can be unpleasant as you point out there is a better way to do something.  This is especially true when others have done it another way for many years.

Being cranky requires a degree of boldness and thick skin.  It also requires a level of persuasiveness that many may find hard to develop. Most important, being cranky requires observation skills and the ability to conceive of better ways of doing things.

As society becomes more fast-paced, the capacity for crankiness has become an organizational must.  Without such capacity, organizations will be challenged and replaced by other organizations who have developed improved methods that are driven by cranky employees.

The heroes in organizations will be those who embody the quote by Georgia Bernard Shaw:  “Some people(1) see things as they are and ask why.  Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

How do we encourage cranky people without creating a toxic organization?  At the societal level, how do we give cranky people a voice?  Is there a risk that crankiness ultimately leads to dysfunction?

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            “We hold these truths to be self evident…” – (The U.S. Declaration of Independence)

(1)The original quote has been changed to make it gender neutral.

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