Would you pass "the Pop test"?
Do you know about this podcast, "You Are Not So Smart"? Highly recommended. Deep, delightful, and the intro music is super wacky and always makes me smile.
In a recent episode, "Rule Makers, Rule Breakers," host David McRaney speaks with cultural psychologist Michelle Gelfand about her book of the same name. It's a fascinating conversation, with lots of big ideas to chew on.
But my ears perked up at a tiny moment at the very end of the episode...
Gelfand is talking about why she wrote the book in the first place. Long story short, she's produced plenty of scholarly works, and is well-respected in her field.
But her dad didn't understand what she did. So she wrote the book for him.
Every chapter, she says, passed "the Pop test." If he could understand it, she knew she was in good shape.
And it worked.
It reminded me a bit of this relatively obscure element of Jewish tradition. Every week, Jews around the world read a selection from the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, from a scroll. The letters in this Torah scroll need to be perfectly formed. If they're off, the whole scroll has to be put out of commission until it's fixed.
So what happens when a letter seems wonky? You call in... not a scholar, not an esteemed leader of the community, but... a kid. Someone who's just learning how to read Hebrew. If that kid can tell what the letter is? All good. If not? Well, you're gonna have to call your local scribe and get that sorted, or nobody's getting to the nosh after services.
Gelfand has "the Pop test." Judaism looks to its youngest learners to check for accuracy. Why?
It's so easy to get stuck in our own heads. We see our messaging every day. We get caught up in our own jargon. Intentionally or not, our messaging often assumes that everybody else "gets it."
But it ain't necessarily so.
So here's the test for your organization.
Pick your "Pop." Think of one person. Someone who cares - or could potentially care - but doesn't know. Someone who's not "in it" like you. Ask them: what do you think this means? Make it clear: this is not a test for them; if anything, it's a test for you.