Posted tagged ‘stubborn’

Drinking lots of carrot juice and soaking up rays…

November 4, 2010

 

After listening to a bunch of concession and acceptance speeches yesterday, I’ll be brief…

I used to hear a phrase fairly often, said with sincerity and a relatively clear definition.  That phrase is “healthy debate.”  But between the recent and quite frankly embarrassing/shameful ad campaigns that virtually every candidate for election ran, and a few meetings I have attended in the last 6-12 months, I feel like that phrase is ready for the shelf right next to my VCR and cassette player.

I am not sure why that is.  Have we all lost our willingness or ability to listen with an open mind?  Do we all feel like we need to be “battle ready” before every meeting, with our strategy, tactics and desired outcomes neatly laid out before the first sip of coffee?  In the past year, how many times have you walked out of a meeting where you were supposed to discuss an issue, and left feeling more frustrated and “unheard” than when you walked in?  With your blood pressure up a few notches, and your enthusiasm to “collaborate” with your peers and yes, even your “boss" down a few pegs?

If your answer is “more than 3” that’s not healthy…

Piece de Resistance

February 5, 2009

My blog editor, aka my wife, told me that if I don’t start to use more global terms in my posts, I would never get the international audience I so richly deserve. So I have titled this post Piece de Resistance, a French term which literally translates to a “piece of resistance.” Linguists and other “smart people” would tell you that this is a colloquialism that means the best part of something – a play, a dessert, etc. But there is another emerging definition (emerging, in this sense, meaning started by me today) that translates more closely to ‘stubborn and obstinate in spite of massive indicators that the opposite direction is the way to go…’ This definition is much more applicable to the world of business and information technology. In fact, I encountered two pieces of resistance (I think that’s how you pluralize it…) just this week.

One organization that I am consulting with is growing quite rapidly and, as one might expect, their current processes aren’t ready to scale to support hundreds of users and more and more applications. And so, in what seems to be a prudent and strategic decision, they have chosen to start now to “formalize” their configuration and change management processes. They hope to provide better service, less hiccups, and improved communication within the IT department about who changed what, when they did it, and why. They hope to instill a sense of professionalism in the group as well and they also hope that the perception of professionalism cascades to other departments to which they provide a variety of services. Aside from the fact that I am helping with this, it still makes perfect sense to me, as long as they don’t create a massive bureaucracy unintentionally, which is one of the things I hope to ensure doesn’t happen.

The second organization, a large healthcare provider, has decided that its core business MAY NOT be complex web site development. And so it has chosen to have a national IT vendor that specializes in healthcare web site development take primary responsibility for the design, customization, integration and deployment of several new web sites instead of their internal IT department. Madness, you say! And perhaps you are right, but…

In each organization, there is a Piece of Resistance – someone who has decided that these are bad ideas and has chosen to take their football, as it were, and go home rather than actively participate in the new strategy, whether it succeeds or fails. Take a wild guess at who they are hurting most by not going with the flow. That’s right, you sleuth! Themselves!!

I am not advocating being a spineless “yes man or woman.” I am not advocating placing your opinions in a sealed vault or the dustbin of internal politics. But I am advocating that, whatever role you play in an organization, you TRY to be objective about certain strategic choices and do your best to set aside how it affects you personally and find a way to see the decision from a different point of view. If you are the lone objector to a business strategy, you may be a maverick, or you may be a mule. Unless you’re a professional rancher, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…


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