Monday, October 19, 2009

The Triple Filter Test

Hi All,

The other day I came upon one of our union brothers, who ran up to me excitedly and said, "Bob, do you know what I just heard about one of the members of our local?"

"Wait a moment," I replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"The Triple Filter Test?"

"That's right," I continued, "Before you talk to me about our union brother, let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say."

"The first filter is Truth."

"Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the individual said, "actually I just heard about it and..."

"All right," I said. "So you don't really know if it's true or not."

"Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness."

"Is what you are about to tell me about our union brother something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," I continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The individual shrugged, a little embarrassed.

I continued, "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the filter of Usefulness."

"Is what you want to tell me about this member of our local going to be useful to me?"

"No. Not really."

"Well," I concluded, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

The individual was defeated and ashamed.

I'm not that bright and have never actually had an original thought so I borrowed this concept from Glena T. Tredinnick, CDR, United States Coast Guard, who got it from Socrates.

Words can be hurtful and damaging when they are not true, good or useful. It is all of our jobs to make our Union a strong benefical organization. We should ensure that our actions don't undermine the efforts of our leaders and members, no matter our personal feeling towards that individual. As union members, we all have taken a pledge to never compromise honesty and integrity, nor to behave in a way that damages our brothers and sisters. United we stand.

All the best,

Bob D

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