Course on Change

In Onward on August 27, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Today, I attended a conference in Dana Point.  The instructor, a retired weatherman from the midwest, secretly infuses his ideas with the group by talking about real challenges in our organization.  He fleshed out the powerlessness of being halted by Sr. management and left the responsibility with us to know our audience.  When developing buy-in, he suggested to speak the language of your audience.  If your audience is front-level staff talk about flexible schedules and day-care, school and doctors appointments.  If your audience is senior level leadership, then cut to the chase by doing their job for them.  Answer the questions, “How much is this going to cost?  How long is it going to take?  What are the benefits?”

My favorite part of the seminar was how he focused on removing the meaningless jargon; improving efficiency, decrease costs and increase customer satisfaction.  I’m tired of the corporate language that saturates our discussions.  So was he apparently.  I like the way his courses have started to trickle into the conversations of the management.  Remember when Phil talked about this?  Or how does this fit with what Phil was talking about?  Often times this looks like griping.  “You tell us to learn from Phil, then when it comes time to exercise the principles we get shut down.”  To a certain extent, these employees have a point.  But, Phil’s point today was that we still have choices and work to do.

At a certain point, I became noteably closed off to the conversation of the group.  A coworker who wears the title of senior lead was sitting on my right.  He leaned over with a smile and spoke with words that only my table could hear, “Josh, could you look any more checked out?”  He was right.  My mind had excused itself from the room.  I was dreaming of a career in writing.  It seemed all the principles on change started to bump up against my reasons for being at my job; medical benefits, reliable salary, normal hours.  Were these things enough to keep me on lifeless hold?

I drove home resolving to make changes.  I need to embrace the changes.  I want to be a writer.  I want to use my writing for service and creativity.  I want to risk for that end.  Now, I need to have the conversations with Lindsay.  How do I envision reaching my goal?  I set a deadline to finish work.  I set goals for pieces I want to write.  I work toward those ends.  We set an appropriate time limit to see those goals realized.  Go from there.  What do we have to lose?  What have I been afraid of?

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