Enlightened Conflict

messy business and how pets clean it up

June 9th, 2015

messy people pig pen
“Nothing is perfect.

Life is messy.

Relationships are complex.

Outcomes are uncertain.

People are irrational.”


Hugh Mackay


“The most successful organizations in the world are the ones who work together, play together, and get messy together.”


Jeanne Malnati





dog love snoopy


Life may be messy … outcomes may be uncertain and people, particularly in business, can certainly be irrational <at times>.

But pets are … well … they clean up the mess for a pet owner.



I thought about that today.



I was reminded today of how messy business can be.


Messy in terms of just getting good shit done.


It’s mostly messy because … well … people are messy. Messy in terms of how we interact. Messy in terms of not knowing what we are good at … and sometimes not standing up for what we really are good at. Messy in terms of inconsistent communication. Messy in terms of selective listening. Messy in terms of avoiding conflict.



That may sound like a shitload of messiness … but people naturally make business messy <note: and gobs of money & time is invested to make businesses less messy>.


Even people with good intentions can create messiness.



<i know i have>





Even good people.



I enjoyed a force of nature person … for the force of good.



I endured a force of nature with good intentions … and less than good behavior.



I encountered an essential force of good within a business … who doesn’t have the ‘nature’ part of the ‘force’ DNA but is still an essential force with which the business prospers.



I was emboldened with a sense that even good organizations with good products and good people and a good idea … can be messy … and still be good.







I also saw how messiness encroached into the good fiber of a business. And while it happens, just as shit happens, that is painful.



Which then reminded me that while I absolutely embrace the messiness of working within a business … it was also one of the times I missed having a pet.






We all work in messiness.



Maybe not all days … and most of us endure stretches which … well … stretch us and in some form or fashion the business messiness bleeds into our Life and makes it messy.



And it sucks.



But every day a pet owner comes home to a pet who knows nothing about the singingin-the-car dogmess … just that you are there.


Everything about a pet and their caring is clean – it is unequivocal, unwavering and, surprisingly, often insightful toward your moods.


They accept your bad & good equally.




And I wish more pet –related companies recognized this beautiful value they provide and quit beating s over the head with funny animals or quality of ingredients and did something that made us sit forward in our chairs and then turn and look at our pet with new eyes of care.





Because I am me … and what I do is offer solutions … this is what I would do.


I wrote this idea back in February 2010 on the enlightened conflict site the day I received the death certificate for Tigger, my border collie, in the mail.




The set up

<or what everyone else gets wrong>

If I had the opportunity to create a campaign for pet adoption or the wonders of owning a pet I would use my experience with Tigger to create the campaign. I don’t mind what has been done so far. The adoption campaign using Sarah McLachlan’s song was nice in a heart wrenching way.


I still believe it misses the mark (at least from a current owner’s perspective).

tigger and snow

Owning a pet is truly a maddening joy not just heart wrenching.

The tug of war between who is the master of the relationship can drive you through the roof and yet the moments of companionship are overwhelmingly rewarding.

And through it all it is the pet that dictates the relationship.

For it is in their loyalty and devotion that we pet owners will step up to the plate time and time again to speak out for how much having a pet can add to your life.



The solution

Here is what I would do.

I would build a campaign from the perspective of the pet (I will use my Tigger as a reference point).

And I have the song.

Throughout this song envision everything from a border collie’s perspective (or your own pet which is the true test of a campaign).

It is in his or her voice talking to you (the owner or prospective owner).

You are getting a glimpse of what they see in you and their lives as a partner in life with you.

It includes the moments when they are straining at the edge of your patience and you are sharp with them.

The moment when he was at the edge of the field wanting to chase that one tantalizing squirrel and yet you called him back.

The moment when he lost sight of you and panicked … barking … not seeing you or hearing your response <whew … pet owners know that sound of ‘where are you’ in their tone>.

The moments you had to leave him alone for a long day at work and he sits there staring at the door awaiting your return.

And the moments of joy in togetherness.

You know in their heads they have to believe it could be easier but in their love and devotion to you (their owner) they will walk through fire for you and to be with you if you need them.


The song is Ginny Owens “If you want me To.”

A beautiful song. Probably one of the most underrated love songs of all time (although I believe it is truly about her relationship with God written after her trials & tribulations with finding a job).


If you Want me To:



Bruce and Tigger

Bruce and Tigger



That’s it.



A messy day at work made me think about my border collie, and best friend I ever had, again.



And once again I was reminded me how much pets can clean up a messy day.

Enlightened Conflict