The future … what are we going to do, how are we going to do it, do we NEED to do it, are we capable of doing it?
I’ve been stuck in a room for the last two days in a “Visioning Meeting” debating these questions. A small, no sunlight, lose track-of-time room. I have to say, starting out I wasn’t too excited about the whole idea. The CEO was pretty snide in his assessment of whether having a meeting with the Sr. Management to discuss these questions had any merit. That statement alone should cause you to pause. A CEO who doesn’t know if there’s anything valid to be gained from Sr. Management. Kind of gives you a “warm-all-over” feeling, doesn’t it? NOT!
The first two dry-as-sawdust hours of the meeting the CEO outlined the short-comings of each region. Gee, there’s a helpful way to start off a meeting. Not only that, many of the issues he dissected centered on behavior/attitudes of people who weren’t in the meeting – and people who report directly to him … not us. Setting the stage in such a manner made me think the rest of the meeting would be equally unprofitable. Tonight I’ll be eating crow-pie for dinner.
After the venom was released he did a great job of categorizing the topics – and leading the discussion. Actually, he began leading the discussion, but it became apparent quickly that I am a better moderator (it really is one of my gifts) – and he let me step into that role. Amazingly enough the group began to come together. Some issues that have always been held “sacrosanct” we re-evaluated and a few times viewpoints were changed. A few more time the CEO came right out and said, “this is a directive from the board”, end of discussion. Although that might sound like a show-stopping statement, it was actually quite refreshing. The way I look at if the board has spoken, the board has spoken. Let’s get on with a different solution or a different direction, but let us not sit another minute in quicksand.
The challenge now it to provoke change back at the regional level. Frankly, I don’t know if we have the skill set to bring this change about with the regional employees. I hope that’s not true. I hope we can present this new united goal – that we can encourage our coworkers and staff to put aside old ideologies, old lazy attitudes and poorly learned behaviors and embrace this change. Of course with the nick name of “sledge-hammer diplomat”, I am one of the last to effectively assist in this change. I’m a rule by edict type of person – (hmm, sound like the CEO, don’t I?), either see the benefits of the program, get on board and make it work – or bail ship. But DO NOT stay on my ship and make me haul your cargo ass across the ocean.
And now, I’ve been released, so my eyes can uncross and my vision can re-focus. Yippee! Out of the black-hole conference room, out of work early, free to sit here and enjoy a scotch or two. What a beautiful afternoon.