Good Day Judges!
Again, the impetus for this post comes from an interaction with the inimitable Paul Baranay. He had posted a comment on a public thread that was very brave and helped put some people in check on their messaging. I messaged him and gave him kudos for doing so and he seemed quite appreciative. That got me thinking, how often does something like that happen?
A trend I’ve noticed now that we are on Exemplar Wave 2 is a large amount of posts and what appears to be commiseration about “finding” people to recognize. I wonder if the people posting about this realize the message that sends. Think of how many judges that you know that you might be friends with or are able to see your messages. Think of how many of them value their time, dedication and efforts to the judge program. Think of how limited the slots actually are when you are considering how many judges we have now (6000+!). Then think of what this looks like to one of those judges without the ability to recognize someone with this program via exemplar that you are sitting here posting about how much of a struggle you are having with finding someone to recognize. That might come off as harsh, but I don’t blame you entirely. As a whole, judges are taught to fix things. We are trained to look for problems and correct them, whether it’s in a game, in an event or in our interactions with others. We don’t give players gold stars for playing a match without making a mistake. We don’t usually remember and talk about that one event where nothing went wrong and it was smooth as silk. It’s the inconsistencies and the issues that needed solving which catch our attention, and by the same mechanism, those are the things that stick in our mind even after the issue is resolved.
Back to the interaction with the man of the hour, who motivated me to try and communicate a message to a larger audience. He asked me “How often do you think things like this happen?”, meaning where someone goes and gives the private pat on the back after seeing someone do something good on social media/events/interactions. I responded that I don’t know, the fact that I don’t know means that it can’t be a terribly high number so along with this post comes a challenge. A lot of us spend an inordinate amount of time online, we spend an inordinate amount of our time offline talking about things we saw and read while online. You see the good when it happens. Next time, don’t gloss over it, take a minute and thank the person who did it. Tell them how it affected you and that you are happy to have seen it.
This helps the community on in a few broad ways. First, it helps motivate that person to do it again. It gives them the idea that other people are paying attention and that they are making a difference. This confidence is invaluable and many need to either have it initiated externally or need it topped off externally from time to time so they don’t burn out. Let’s not let the people out there doing great things be the ones burning out! Second, it helps you with the issue that I noted above, where we can’t seem to find judges to recognize. Make a note on a private doc when you take the time to give your kudos. When Exemplar comes rolling around, it’ll start to feel like less of a scramble to find people just to make sure you give out all of your recognitions. It’ll still be difficult, because now the task will be cutting great players from the team, but isn’t that a much greater message to send? We want more recognitions because I couldn’t fit in all of the people I see doing great things in the program? Who wouldn’t be proud of a system like that? Third, it helps ensure that this system continues and continues to grow. If we keep harping on the fact that exemplar is too hard and going underutilized, the program might have to change how we do it. I’d be sad to see that happen before the system really ever grew legs to see if it could stand. Fourth, it helps encourage others to do good things. If we change our pattern recognition to look for good instead of bad, we’ll see it, it’s there. If we call attention to it in a private or public manner, it will start to be something people want to emulate. Currently, we see the negatives and people who want to grow begin to emulate the behavior of seeing negatives. This is a great thing for event logistics, mentoring and table judging. This is not a great thing for recognitions and celebrating achievements.
Who’s willing to accept the challenge?