The opportunity to share all things “etiquette” is, as you know, my calling by design, my chosen job, and my robotic nature.
Meet Michael, a student I met during my collegian business etiquette presentation at Central California’s Reedley College this past Thursday. To his classroom full of bright, aspiring leaders, I asked the question, “When you think of etiquette, what words or thoughts come to mind”? Michael’s answer? “Chivalry.”
I couldn’t help but harbor an instant crush on Michael; it’s been years – and maybe never – since I heard a young man say, “Chivalry” and mean it.
Seconds later, Michael popped his hand up for another chance at sharing all things etiquette. “Gracious Professionalism,” he said. If I could coin this phrase, I would because it’s brilliant.
Observant in his ball cap with curly black hair peeking out from underneath, this young man was already dialed into etiquette before I parted with my hard-earned wisdom. He likely could have taught the class, and I told him so in front of his peers. His buddies flanked on his left and right thought that to be quite humorous!
When Michael asked if I was familiar with Gracious Professionalism, I had an inkling it was more than flowing civilly through corporate cubicles and boardrooms without beating people down. Perplexed, I soon learned how it’s tied to Robotics.
In the world of FIRST Robotics, future robotic designers not only work to design and build a robot to compete in a regional competition, and optimistically national FIRST competitions, they adhere to upfront expectations of kindness in the process of competition. Michael, being one of these gracious professionals, competed with very clear regard for how to go for the gold without losing sight of civility.
“We try to avoid leaving anyone feeling like a loser. No chest thumping barbarian tough talk, but no sticky sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, pride, and empathy comfortably blended. Understanding that gracious professionalism works is not rocket science”, say Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wouldn’t it be advantageous for all groups and organizations to build a robotic, systematic “not rocket science” civility minded blueprint for premier behavior? If you know of such, like FIRST Robotics, please share it here. Good news is something we like to hear more of and share, of course!
To see what Dr. Woodie answers when he is asked, “Why do FIRST folks talk so much about that phrase?” and to read more about Gracious Professionalism, link here: http://www.beastrobotics.com/gracious-professionalism/
© Tiffany Nielsen. All Rights Reserved.