Don’t Judge Too Early

Preconceived notions can be a killer.  So many times they are wrong.  A person may have the stereo-typical look of segment of population but may not act like the stereotype.

A person may be a polished dresser with pants and a nice shirt, short hair and well groomed.  The person may even work in a business or engineering job.  The notion might be to think they are conservative and rigid.  Once you get to know them you find out they are the furthest thing from conservative and rigid.

Or you see a guy dressed in skinny jeans, loud shirt, messy hair and funky glasses.  They may work in the creative industry too.  A person might think they are liberal and the “go-with-the-flow” type who have no structure.  Come to find out, they enjoy structure, understand business well and are process oriented.

These are just two examples, but two that happen quite often in my work environment.  Ones that I have fallen victim to myself.  I know that we shouldn’t judge people on the way they look and stereotypes, but being human I don’t always live up to that.  When I have broken down those walls in my perceptions I have found many more great business partners and friends.

This is can be true of businesses too.  Have you ever not bought a product or service based on the price?  “The price is too cheap.  The quality must be bad.”  What about not eating at a restaurant because it looks rundown?  You could be missing out on some really good food because of the preconceived notion that a restaurant that looks rundown can’t have good food.

If we are respecting people and businesses, we don’t judge them before we know them.  I know firsthand this is not easy, but the better are about not jumping to conclusions about people and businesses the richer our relationships can be with these people or businesses.

Posted on August 8, 2011, in People, Respect for People and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I agree with your basic notion about preconceived ideas, but I think this applies more to people than businesses. The Lean principle of “Respect for people” definitely precludes prejudice. But each of us has to keep in mind that others are often forming opinions about us based on that initial impression when they first see us coming. This is not just clothing and hair but also facial expressions and body language.

    With regard to businesses, I don’t need to get food poisoning to know that I want to avoid a certain restaurant (although you could also get food poisoning at a nice looking place if the kitchen is not as clean as the rest of the establishment). I think this is a part of why 5S is so important. It is only logical that if a business does not care enough about themselves to be concerned about cleanliness and organization, then are they going to produce a quality product? As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

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