Frequent negative perceptions of the dangers of a “can-do” attitude

It is fascinating to observe the gap between the “wow-we-can-do-it” crowd and those from other more realistic cultures who observe this attitude.

I do not propose that can-doers change, yet I would like to share  observations about the way that  can-doism is perceived in the acutely diverse global workplace.

1) Arrogant. Many folks see can do-ism as snake-oil mind over matter, and as such, they see can doism as mitigation of difficulty via over reliance on self.

2) Superficial. When obstacles are very complex and appear insurmountable, can doism is seen as high on action and low on thoughtfulness and caution.

3) Lip Service. Since can-doism is often associated with cultures whose optimism is seen as “phoney”, can doism is seen as lip service to a normative way of expressing oneself.

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10 thoughts on “Frequent negative perceptions of the dangers of a “can-do” attitude

      • Dr. Yachin,
        As per your request, an elaboration of can’t do ism.

        Can’t doism generally stems from:

        1-a culture where people are pushed to over commit and then blamed for delays.

        2-a culture where constraints are negotiated, not discussed.

        3-a culture where there is a work life imbalance and people feel a need to hide from management.

        4-in companies where there is no such thing as priority management, so no-can-do is a reflex.

  1. curious… I am vey interested in cultural diversity and often do learning sessions on these areas – what cultures specifically would you say that see the over optimistic can doers with negative skeptical eyes

  2. A large part of my “process” is to ID/anticipate what could go wrong – not to be negative (although I’ve been told that it can be perceived that way), but to problem solve so as to avoid/prevent.

  3. I definitely experienced a lot of “can’t do-ism” when I worked in Japan, and found myself falling into it too (e.g. saying “well, this might be difficult” to requests that I could easily handle). Self-protection indeed.

  4. As a “can-doer” or enthusiastic idealistic optimist, I am learning that it can only get me so far. Seems to me we can all work toward striking a balance? In learning to see realism and even my muck, my solution orientation is more appreciative of what is in order to move thoughtfully toward what can be.

  5. Can doers get it done and are not afraid of failure. When it comes to task management the can doer plays a huge role at getting things started so that the less self confident “professors” can come in and point out everything g that’s wrong.

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