Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Accidental communication

There's the official story, and then there's the story you tell by accident. It's a good idea to get both stories in sync.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Once upon last week, the CEO* of a large organisation created a staff suggestion box. In various communications the CEO trumpeted a desire to hear from at every level of the business. The CEO stated he feared he wasn't hearing all the good ideas of the rank and file, so he promised to read every single suggestion submitted.

One idealistic employee wrote up a few linked ideas. A staffer from the CEO's office acknowledged receipt:
Thank you for using the suggestion box... I am a bit surprised that you are not feeding this through your supervisor, to your department head and then on to the regional manager - that would be the normal 'chain of command'.
*All identifying details have been removed to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

Monday, November 29, 2010

20 years of marriage

Last week, Mr O and I celebrated 20 years of marriage. Its something of a miracle, to us as much as others. Perhaps to us more than others, as no outsider really knows what goes on inside a marriage.

We still love each other, and we are still good friends. And yes, we still get grumpy with one another, and disagree from time to time too.  We both look forward to the future together, and we haven't entirely run out of conversation. That feels like luck and a privilege rather than something to be smug about.

To get this far, we have learned that you can put up with a lot, if you don't give up the search for a mutual solution. It's not the compromise you reach just because you're too tired to argue anymore. A mutual solution is one you're both genuinely happy with. It's neither option A, nor option B, it is the elusive option C.

We've also learned you have to look after your own needs, as even a good marriage can't sustain being the consolation for an otherwise unhappy or unsatisfying life.

The good thing about surviving the bad times is you understand, from experience, that you can get through the bad times and the love remains. For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and cherish until death part us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Choosing between competence and compliance

Sometimes, we're asked to do something we think is wrong. Not wrong in a moral or ethical sense, just wrong in being ineffective or even counterproductive.  What do we do?

There are two ways of being a good employee. One requires us to do what is asked, without complaint or argument. The other requires us to question, to critique, to speak up. The second way won't always make us popular. The first way won't always save us from blame.

Which path we choose, whether in a single instance or as a repeated pattern throughout our life, may tell us a lot about who we are, and what our values are. Do we value consensus and cooperation more than personal integrity or outcome? Do we put our sense of accomplishment and worth above the needs of the situation? Do we simply ask, 'how high?' when we are asked to jump? Are we being provocative or simply being a pain in the bum? Are we right, or righteous? Are we wrong, but well-meaning?

Does it make a difference if we feel that doing the 'right' thing is likely to be a wrong move career-wise?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Missing in Action

It's been a while. Did you miss me?

I recently injured my right hand*. It put a real crimp in my blogging, as my work ethic demands that paid writing comes first. By the time I finish my 'real' work, there's not a lot of finger energy left. The last thing I need is to develop a strain in my left hand by trebling its workload.

Back soon.

*It's an isolated incident, and not a repetitive strain situation. Thankfully.