I have gained a bit of a reputation for using figures of speech throughout my life. Overtime, people started to label some of them as ‘Jasonisms.’ Most of these already exist in the lexicon of today, although I think I might be able to claim authorship of one or two. 

I would like to share them with you, as I have found them to be pearls of wisdom, serving me well. Some are serious in nature, others are…more designed to be more of a humorous comment.

Never bullshit a bullshitter

This saying I learnt from my father, and believe me he was a champion bullshitter.

It is basically a reminder to never try to deceive someone who themselves is good at deceiving people. A skilled bullshitter is in fact a very clever person. They use logic rather than lies to make their point. 

However, when you look at what they are saying you realise in fact it is just stupid or untrue.

Having had a champion Bullshit artist for an old man, I got to develop a bullshit radar – so can detect bullshitters out  to a few hundred metres now.

Always multiple, never divide

I was about 12 years old when I read this one in a monthly condensed Reader’s Digest. It was contained in the “Life’s like That” section. The story went a mother of eight was asked by another woman how she divided her love for her children amongst her eight. Her response was to say “You multiple, not divide”.

Thus I learnt to endeavour to enhance and spend the same amount of focus/energy as I would on one important thing across all important things.

Everyone is an ELMO [Extra Large Management Opportunity]

This saying was invented on the spot and influenced by the above ‘always multiple, never divide’ . Whilst working as a Telecom Path-2-Customer [P2C] coach, I was having a conversation with a Contact Centre site manager, when they kept repeating the term ‘Terrorists’ when talking about a couple of three Team Leaders. After several mentions, my impulsive reaction was to blurt out ‘You can’t keep calling them “Terrorists” !’

“Well, what do I call them?” ‘ELMOs’ was the response.

‘What the heck is an ELMO?’ they [and possibly yourself] asked. 

‘An ELMO is an Extra Large Management Opportunity! In other words they are your challenge. Rather than view them as being trouble makers or disruptors, I want you to view them as Allies. The Extra Large Management Opportunity comes from the point that they don’t realise they are allies yet. Therefore, as their Manager, you have to multiple your leadership engagement with them and help them to understand!’

And that is how Jason’s first management theory ‘ELMOs and ELMOing’ was born. If you would like to learn more about the ELMO management theory course which is being built, please go to projects.

Feedback is a gift

Every system requires feedback, although in the Human world the perception seems to be ‘If you want to give me feedback, I must be doing bad at something’. As a P2C Coach our mantra was ‘Feedback is a gift’. We used it every day as one of many techniques to enhance performance and learning abilities in ourselves and others.  

We had a way of doing feedback. Prior to the start of an activity we set the feedback context, agree the role the observer and observee will play, and then confirm the skill or competency to be focussed on.

Of course, you have to be open to receiving feedback whether positive or negative/constructive. Prior to any feedback given, the observer would ask a simple question ‘Are you open to any feedback?’

If you do not check at the beginning then you are potentially going to be blindsided by the below saying

Never attempt to teach a Bull to fly; it wastes your time and only annoys the bull

Robert Heinlein’s 1973 “Time Enough for Love” uses a pig in the statement, having come from a farm I prefer to use the Bull instead.

However it is described, the point is it is just utterly useless and very difficult to provide feedback, coach someone or help them to understand if this person is unwilling or not ready to learn.

I love this saying because I use it both personally and with others to check in to see if I or them are ready to learn.

Only the guilty have to justify themselves

As Kevin Bridges would say “They might check the offside flag on this one”. 

This one actually comes from the world of criminality, and how criminals would rationalise their guilt by either making excuses for, or would justify their actions. I see this rationalisation occurring in organisations as well, when people deny their responsibilities for their actions. Most likely, as the crime is actually getting caught, they will do it after they have been found out so to mitigate their guilt.

I think I smell Rhino Pooh

The story as I recall it is as follows:

The Zookeepers at the Orana Wildlife Park [Christchurch, New Zealand] were apparently having a problem with their male rhinoceros and his apparent lack of desire to…get biblical with the female rhinos. So they rang up their counterparts in Auckland and asked if they could arrange to borrow one of the Auckland Zoo male rhinos. The Aucklanders said it would be cost prohibitive and they had a cheaper and easier to use solution which they would send down to Orana.

A couple of days later, a really large sack of male rhino pooh arrived with a note pinned to it saying “Spread this stuff liberally around the enclosure and your problem should be solved”. Sure enough, after spreading the rhino pooh the Orana Park zookeepers saw something fascinating occur. Their male rhino walked out, sniffed the air and appeared to come to the conclusion there was another male rhino around who might threaten his alpha male status. This conclusion appeared to resolve the lack of desire.

My point is this:

You will have people in your organisation who are lazy, socially loafing or will only perform if they benefit. But, watch out, they will suddenly become very active when they think they are being threatened or if there is a senior manager around.

Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

You have to love Mark Twain.

Don’t think I need to explain this one.

They can’t take away your birthday

It was a cold day on the Waiouru Training Grounds when Staff Sergeant Jeff Bracewell told me he had two bits of advise for me, this was the first one. The premise is no matter how difficult, or bad, fearful things may seem to be, to help you to calm done, keep things in perspective and help you see through fear just remember “no matter what happens, they can’t take away away your birthday.

Things will be alright, just keep doing the next commonsensical right step. One foot in front of another. Keep going, it will be sweet as.

After hearing this first piece of advice, I was very keen to hear the second. He simply looked at me before walking away and said…

Sad movies will always make you cry

That was it. Nothing more, nothing less. I did laugh, but then I reflected on it…it is so true. Sad movies, sad moments in life will make you cry. But this is a good thing, this is what it means to be human – empathetic and sociable, more open minded and understandable. 

For you technogeeks out there – it is because of the release of oxytocin, a peptide hormone and neuropeptide, normally produced in the hypothalamus, released by the posterior pituitary and plays a role in social bonding.

Man, you gotta to love Wikipedia.

Hate in, Love out

Another nickname was ‘Sponge’ – I like to think I got this for my thirst for and absorbing knowledge, rather than getting it because I necked 55 nips of vodka in an hour and a half in the Linton Military Camp Officers’ Mess back in the day. 

It is a shorter version of Martin Luther King, Jr’s statement “Hate cannot drive our hate; only love can do that.” The difficult idea is to absorb all the hate and dislike sent your way by others, and radiant love and support back. There could be a large number of reasons why the person sending you hate is being a utter bastard, but why waste your time figuring it out. Rather, be nice –  at the end of the day it is their loss.

Parental Tip: Work hard and be good to your mother

Occasionally a TV advert for a Bank will come up with something good to say – and this was it.

 Ali Ibn Abi Talib said “Don’t use the sharpness of your tongue on the mother who taught you to speak”

It is amazing to understand how in moments of tragedy, fear or trauma men will call for their mothers as if it will protect or save them.

 I know for me my mother will always have a special place in my heart; from those moments of her calm voice as I was suffering through another nocturnal funny turn, or raising my sister and I as a solo mum, to calling my army unit’s officer commanding to see if I was still alive as I had not spoken with her for four months, or just appearing to accept my moving to the UK was going to be a permanent one.

So always be good to your mom, you only get one.  

Love ya mum with all my heart.