No One Likes to be Licked by Surprise

Photo from Lucky Buddy Petcare

Last week I was hanging out at one of my “offices” AKA a local coffee shop when this guy walked in with this dog on-leash and trailing closely behind. Now I am not a huge “Don’t bring your dog into food establishments!” kind of guy, but I do think some of us dog owners might be better about realizing that not everyone thinks their puppy is God’s gift to cute {like ours}.

The owner struck up a conversation with the barista and the dog,  as dogs will do, started wandering and sniffing.

I could see it coming. There was a guy sitting at a table, deeply focused on his laptop, with his back towards the man and his dog. One sniff from behind and the dog laid this slobbery lick right up the arm of the guy sitting at the table. I could barely stifle a giggle as I saw the look on the guys face: first shock at the feeling, then disgust at the dog and finally condemnation towards the owner.

The owner kind of laughed if off and walked out with his hot coffee and slobbery dog.

The lickee looked up and noticed that I had witnessed the whole thing. We made eye contact and he says, “And I am a dog person.”

And I responded, “But no one likes to be licked by surprise.”

So basically what happened is that someone who, probably in any other circumstance, would have been friendly and open to playing with the dog was turned off by the dog and the owner simply because he was caught off guard and surprised by the action.

Do I really need to point out the parallels to leadership?

Surprises, no matter how good the idea is or how cute the delivery method, will most often be met with resistance.

Carry on.

 

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Yes, some will always choose to be caught off-guard, because they choose to stay unaware and disengaged. Not to push the metaphor too far, but the dog owner might have give a few cues that they were there, kept a better eye on the movement of his dog and otherwise created a space where the shock would not have been felt so jolting. But yes, some will always be surprised.

  • http://twitter.com/C_Rev Courtney

    Best post title ever. Also, a great response. And? Yeah, some pretty obvious parallels. Which, while obvious, can always bear pointing up. You may be preaching to the choir, but sometimes the choir needs to hear it too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/abbykk Abby King-Kaiser

    I really appreciate that as a leadership metaphor… because well, it is so true, but how do we lead without surprises? as I think about how I have lead, I know there are lots of things that came as a surprise, but I don’t know how to have avoided it feeling like a surprise. Let’s face it, some folks are always going to be looking the other way, sometimes at nothing important. Thoughts? How do you politely get their attention before they get slobbered on?