Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Going Grey: Why is it important to be flexible in the workplace?

I recently had an opportunity to speak to JWU students on my management philosophy, a philosophy I have named Go Gray

Several years ago, I had an epiphany while at work, the exact circumstances I do not recall, but I do know that one moment changed my life as to the way I think, treat and manage students, coworkers and employees forever.  At that moment it dawned on me that many things are black and white in this world, but when it comes to managing people and their life moments, black and white no longer exist, the only thing the remains are the varying shades of gray.

For about a month after that moment I focused on my thoughts to developing a training program for the coworkers I managed at the time.  I wanted to manage an office that took into consideration what happened and why  no matter who the person was a coworkers, a students or an employee.  I wanted those opportunities to be used as teachable moments.  I no longer wanted to work in an office that made all decisions based on just the rules, but I wanted to work in an office that made decisions about people based on the "Human Element", I wanted myself and those around me to focus on the positive aspects of the situation and reduce negative ones to come to a fair, reasonable and human decision.

I knew implementation this would not be easy, I often questioned myself on what I was attempting to do.  But deep down I knew it was the right thing to do.  Much of my life was dictated by rules, policies and procedures with a total disregard to what happened to the actual person or how my decision might impact that person right then, right there.  Cooking is black and white, its made correctly or it isn't, it taste correctly or it doesn't, you follow certain health codes so that people don't get sick, but people, I came to realize make mistakes and if they can learn from them and if they aren't habitual mistakes why punitively punish them, we are after all we all make mistakes.

The more I researched this area, the more excited I became to work on changing the culture of my office. Here a few of my findings and some recommended reading to anyone trying to make change.

Intellectual Deficit Disorder

The process by which there is the potential to make our smart students turn not so smart by telling them all the things that they must not do.

 Here are some of the quotes that helped keep me going.

"Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day." The Key to Cultural Transformation, Leader to Leader (Spring 1999)

 "I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn" –Albert Einstein

"I would rather be deep and simple than shallow and complex"- Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers

Books I found helpful

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard 

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (February 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385528752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385528757

Students of Life

Today’s college students are catapulted into adulthood as soon as they arrive on campus. They’re away from home, trying on new found independence and wondering where they belong. While they’re still navigating their way through an extended adolescence, they are confronted with major life decisions about careers and their view of the world and their place in it.  Where do we fit in?

Until I Blog Again: Eat Well, Live Life & Be Safe--- and, also, GO GRAY

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