Saturday, November 25, 2006

let it go -- the poem by e.e. cummings

let it go-the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise-let it go it
was sworn to

let them go-the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers-you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go-the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things-let all go
so comes love

Friday, November 24, 2006

Human Dynamics -- "STAR" Method Improves Marriage Communications

My friend, Jonathan, taught me a method from human dynamics called STAR AR. The accronym stands for: Situation, Task, Action, Result and Alernative Result.

This method is used to:

  • interview candidates for a new job (aka "behavioral interviewing")
  • determine the performance of an employee
  • prepare a team for a new project

He taught me how I might use it to improve communication in my marriage.

  • Situation
    Describe the situation or problem.
    What does the scene look like to an objective viewer?
    Who, What, Where, When
  • Task
    Identify the task(s) that need(s) to be completed.
    What items with what parameters would you put on a checklist?
  • Action
    Identify the actions needed to complete the task(s).
    What needs to be done?
  • Result
    Describe the transformed situation.
    What does the outcome or solution look like?

One of the more mild problems I've had in my marriage is to get my husband to rinse his dishes if he's not planning to wash them right away. I could nag him. I could plead. I could tell him that he "never listens to me" or that "if I've told him once I've told him a thousand times...." But men don't always understand the emotion around what is going on with women. The purpose of the STAR Method, Jonathan says, is to remove emotion from the equation. As in this example:

  • Situation: "The dishes have dried food on them that is hard to scrub off."
  • Task: "Please rinse them after you've finished eating."
  • Action: "When you do it...
  • Result: "...washing the dishes will be easier and go much more quickly."

By removing emotion, you lessen the likelihood that old complaints come up to burden the current situation. This is not to say that emotions are not important. It simply reduces the information to what both parties can experience and agree on.

It is possible that the action taken does not produce the expected result, so he calls this an:

  • Alternative Result

For example, maybe Marty did rinse the dishes and not all of the food came off. Or maybe he simply forgot that he agreed to do the Task. Or maybe he didn't think I wanted him to handle the dishes that were there right now in addition to future dishes.

In the case that there is an Alternative Result, the requesting party must be more specific about the Task and add details to clarify.

Thanks for the new system Jonathan!!

I'll post again to see how this works in practice.

Other resources:


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