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The Toilet Light Offender

Cupping a hand behind her ear and cocking her head, she politely asked: “Is that the toilet light fan I can hear, my sweet?”.

Ahem, that’s not strictly true. What my wife actually said was: “Have you left the bleep bleep bleep bleeping toilet light on again, you bleep bleep bleeping fool?”

There was no denying it. Can’t blame the kids – we don’t have any. Can’t blame the cat – we don’t have one.

We work from home and the office (work hub) is on the ground floor at the back of the house overlooking the garden. A very pleasant spot. Across the hall from the office, very conveniently (literally) is a toilet. The toilet doesn’t have a window, so it has a fan and when the light is on the fan is on.

My wife’s hearing must resonate at a different pitch to mine and so the drone of the fan becomes a real irritant and it interrupts her concentration. Although I sit closest to the “offending fan” I just don’t notice when I’ve left it on. Is it because I’m so absorbed in my work that I don’t register fan noise or am I just generally oblivious?

A typical day goes like this:

  1. “Please turn the light off”.
  2. “Turn the light OFF”
  3. “What is wrong with you? TURN THE LIGHT OFF”.

But, has this got me to switch the light off? Consistently? You can guess the answer.

It’s a classic example of something we all know – the more you tell, the less people do – and it applies equally in business as with loved ones.

Now, there’s a risk here that I give you (what I think is) sound advice from a wise sage but then I’d be doing exactly the same. So here are some questions instead:

  • Are you aware when you’re telling people what to do?
  • Does it deliver the result you want?…if not…
  • Is it time to figure out a different way?