Sunday, November 21, 2010
Getting to Yes
On Friday I was at a meeting at another college. Since I needed to take notes I used one of their computers. The background screen had a big "NO" -- no food, no cell phone use and no hats. The institution does not allow hats to be worn in the building.
A kipah or hajib (Muslim woman's head covering) is not considered a hat for this prohibition.
What really bothered me as well as a fellow librarian was the size of the word "no." The whole screen presented a negative image. Both of us said that restrictions could have been phrased in the positive such as : "Please respect the rights of others using the computers. Use your cell phone and eat in designated areas only."
I understand that food can get into the books and keyboards. Conversations on cell phone could disturb someone viewing a scholarly article. But please tell me how a quiet hat disturbs others. I did think of some amusing reasons for wearing a hat -- 1)Improper thought waves can be filtered through a hat and escape harmlessly rather than being forced to exit through the mouth; 2) Since the school's brain scanning device can not penetrate a hat, mind control is more difficult; 3) Computer users can hide flash drives in their hats or hair; 4)Baldness or buzz haircuts can be hidden; and 6) Teachers can say, "keep that idea under your hat."
Seriously -- in a well managed organization getting to "yes" is much better than forbidding an action. If one figures out a way to permit something it can be more easily controlled. If an action is forbidden that people want to do, they will find ways to hide the activity. Saying "yes" indicates more trust than "no." If one can't trust their people, they have bigger problems than hats.