The situation in the cartoon strip seems to be paradoxical? Let’s analyze it carefully.
For Mario and Julie, Tom is hardly on time (“he is always late about everything“) and also not so cooperative (“as soon as he can, he puts a spanner in the works“): a person like anyone happened to work with at least once in life.
What we can expect to happen in the meeting is for Mario to reprimand him for both his lack of punctuality and cooperation: an effort to prompt a change in Tom’s behaviour inspired by common sense that so many of us would take.
How likely is such an attempt to be successful?
How many times did you succeed in making a person change his/her behaviour simply by asking him/her to do so?
I don’t know what results you achieved; I know for sure that mine were not so brilliant…
On the contrary, Mario decides to give the situation a new structure, choosing to praise Tom for the qualities he does NOT display.
What results can this stratagem achieve?
Let’s look at three of them:
On balance, Mario’s stratagem involves the only risk of having no effect, while it seems to be so likely to induce a change in Tom’s behaviour.
What do you think?