Janie is unreliable. She spends a lot of time figuring out what I want her to say instead of saying what she thinks. She does what she thinks I want instead of doing what is right. Even when I ask her to speak her own mind, she just agrees with me. I wrote Janie off a long time ago. But Janie has changed, and I’m sad to admit that I didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out to me. Janie was in her usual habit of telling people what they wanted to hear and it contradicted what others knew to be true. When confronted with the facts, Janie had a “blinding glimpse of the obvious”—she knew what she was doing cost her credibility with her colleagues. Since then she has been working really hard on changing but because I had already dismissed her, I could only see what she had been, not what she is becoming now.
Research from the Harvard Business School says that we form our first impressions of people in 150 milliseconds. That is less time than it took for you to read that sentence; in fact, it takes between 100 to 150 milliseconds to blink. When you see a fire fighter in full gear running it’s a good thing that it only takes a blink of an eye to know that there’s an emergency and you need to get out of the way.
But not every first impression is so easy to correctly interpret. My blinding glimpse of the obvious is that I need to give more second chances, even third and fourth chances.
I may get burned now and then, but imagine the possibilities. . .