The Adult Contract – Adults Don’t Argue With Reality

The Adult Contract

As discussed in our last two posts, the Adult Contract is an “agreement as to how people ought to treat one another in this new environment of visibility and accountability.” This month we’ll continue with another aspect of the Adult Contract.

Adults Don’t: Argue with reality

In his book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit, Brad Hams says, “Adults simply address reality and deal with it, even if that means making painful decisions in the short term to ensure future stability and success.”

Brad discusses learned helplessness, “a condition of a human being or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected.”

An example of learned helpless is a baby elephant that has his foot tied with a rope to a wooden stake. When the elephant is small he cannot pull the stake out of the ground. Over time he becomes accustomed to not being able to move away. When the elephant is fully grown he could easily pull the stake out of the ground, but he is held fast by his belief that he cannot pull away from the stake.

An example of learned helplessness in the workplace is the excuses you may have heard from employees in the recent economy to explain poor performance – blaming the economy, market conditions, the competition, and so on.

According to Brad, “Yes, economic conditions may be rough at times. However, regardless of the economic conditions (or any other circumstances, for that matter), some companies will win, and some companies will lose. The winning companies (and people) will be those that accept reality for what it is and make the decisions and take the actions that will get them through successfully. And as adults, they know that the short-term pain will be rewarded in the long run. At the end of the downturn (and it will end), they will have their “A team” in place (having made some tough personnel decisions), they will have their best practices in place (such as Ownership Thinking), and they will have less competition, because some companies decided to argue with reality.”

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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