Archive for the ‘BUSINESS VALUES’ Category

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FIGHT VS NURTURE

December 11, 2010

As many know, as election time arrived, I had not been able to resolve my personal concerns I had about Mark Dayton; hence after much angst, I cast my vote for Tom Horner who represented to me, the pragmatist in the middle.  No, I had not converted to a Horner disciple, I merely thought his stand on issues gave us the best chance to move forward in consensus-building to save our state and get us back on track.  I expected Dayton to win, but voted my beliefs and hoped Dayton would then find a place for Horner in his organization.

Through the recount, both Emmer and Dayton behaved as adults – despite Republican Tony Sutton’s diatribes and finally, reprehensible behavior in leading his party to vote several great Minnesota statesmen and former Republican leaders “off his island”.  Ugh to that brand of any political stance! On one hand, it most likely makes Tom Horner ineffective as he is now deemed the spoiler by the Republicans, but at same time, it opens up to Dayton  a wealth of knowledge and advice of those that have been marooned!  The time to fight is over; the time to nurture is upon us.

So now it is official; Dayton is Governor-elect and so far, so good.  Dayton pragmatically reappointed Pawlenty’s Transportation head so that Minnesota did not lose his knowledge, insight and plans to fix our badly eroding infrastructure (and hopefully his influence on federal transportation dollars despite the Oberstar loss?)

And then today, his appointments made me smile, as led by Tina Smith, his key top aids are all women! YES!

No, I am not a feminist.  But early on in my corporate career, I learned that a man’s reliance on caveman “fight or flee” mentality generally resulted in more power struggles than positive results- as so much time gets lost in pontificating and lining up allies and too little time is spent in strategy.  Somehow, as a young green spout, I sensed that I needed to recognize, understand, and learn how to quietly circumvent that men’s club-not take it on head to head. And so my own competitive spirit, stubbornness and tenacity led me in another direction.  During the 20+ years I played in the corporate arena, I tried hard and generally succeeded, to depend on strategy and consensus–building (despite never being able to conquer that female “emotional” trait).  And surprise, despite not having the “power”, I got things done-and spent very little time assessing whether I had “won”. I tried to live by a mantra of “I have not failed; I just have not yet achieved success”; and slowly, slowly, I moved forward.  When I left that world, I left behind me, a whole new generation armed with the knowledge and tools to push forward in the continuing evolution of change that should occur in any organization. And I have watched with pride as they did just that and trumped my successes over and over again.

And so, as I have watched Mark Dayton in the last six weeks, I’ve been encouraged that we just may have a chance to recover…and show the country that purple states- when they put aside their childish antics- not only excel but can become role models for others.  It’s time now to put the fight behind us and after these long dark years of Republican/Democratic impasse, refocus to nurture and help our state grow.  Minnesota has done it before in many arenas; and I am looking forward to working together to do it again!

 POSTSCRIPT:  I realized this morning I did not get this posted yesterday, and reading it over in a different frame of mind, I was struck by how applicable these thoughts are in other avenues of my life as well.  As men ,and women both, experiment, learn and meld together those old cavemen instincts of fight or flee vs. nurture and grow, we cannot help it…our instincts oft-times won’t let us “let go”.  We all need a reminder – what we have fought to build needs the same chance we had – to experiment , change and grow – generally not in our likeness, but in an innovative and improved direction…and if we cannot do that, we become the poison that kills the growth.  A lesson I’ve needed to learn over and over again- in business, in organizations to which I belong, and in my volunteer work – how about you?

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DON’T COMPROMISE; BUILD CONSENSUS

November 30, 2010

Today’s the big test – the Republicans have dinner at the White House.  Let it not become a second “Day of Infamy” in our country’s history, but instead, a baby step forward into the 21st century and a new world of innovation, interaction, and collaboration.

I fear it won’t, however, as politics continues to trump service to the people on both sides. And worse,  to stir the pot in this crisis, we have the press – ever-ready as the judges-unfortunately using “history” and 20th century expertise to support their antiquated evaluation process.  And while they pontificate, they do not seem to recognize they have sacrificed their historical contribution and have become puppets and angry voices of the divisive culture in which we all find ourselves.

Stephen Wilbers furnished some great food for thought yesterday in his Strib column entitled “Conflict Resolution Doesn’t Have to Mean Compromise”. For the details, check it out online if you missed it, but the last paragraph sums it up and harkens back to a leadership theory I learned and tried to practice way back in the mid 1970s:

WIN-WIN Solutions…maybe we should forget about compromise, which suggests letting go of values, and concentrate on consensus, which suggests holding on to shared beliefs.

As I read that, I couldn’t help but muse about appropriate applications in my professional life as well.  I often feel our own industry, not just the politics of the country, is at a crossroads that one could view as a potential rift.

If you routinely follow this blog, you know I have moved from tentatively experimenting with collaboration in the development of experiential events to sometimes questioning whether I’ve crossed the line and become a zealot – shutting out all value of other viewpoints.

So this article was a good reminder for me and for others who become self-righteous in the protection of our own values- it is not about who is right, worked harder, or who has a greater following supporting one’s modus operandi – it is about exploring together where we share commonalities so we all emerge better for it as we strive to deliver value to our audience.

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AN EPIPHANY

October 6, 2010

Yesterday, as I posted the Designer’s Handshake, I was repeatedly reminded that I have an open vendor issue waiting for resolution – at least in my own mind. Enough time has passed to lesson the anger I was experiencing at the situation, the vendor reaction, and the insidious means chosen to express that reaction within our small event community here in the Twin Cities.

Each Design Principle I listed forced me to review the steps I have taken to understand and repair, to forgive and go forward – as well as steps I could still take in this situation. And yet, with each thought I wrestled with the reality that this was not the first incident in our vendor-client relationship.

There has been one “dust-up” after another through-out the past decade – one very hurtful personally when I was recovering from a fall and three back fractures early in the decade, to several issues professionally-not only with me, but with friends and acquaintances in the industry-as well as a long history of “what’s in it for me” not only when approached to collaborate on a project, but to support industry associations and trade publications. The constant challenges rob energy from all of us that could be better applied elsewhere.

And yet, like the battered-woman, many of us return again and again – only to be subjected to more of the same-because his company has a good product and good people work for him. Somehow, we accept that we, the client, are subservient to the vendor and need to accept how we are treated – or we will be removed from the list of the “chosen”.

And then, as I listed the eleventh principle, “To Do Good Business with Good People”, I had my epiphany. I have pledged to do my utmost to be honorable in business and partnerships and to align myself and work with individuals and groups who have the same values as I do.

This is not a question of who is the wronged party in this latest manufactured incident. It is merely a difference in values. And, simply put, our values do not mesh. If care and feeding of the vendor trumps my client commitment to deliver the best services and products to further their message – in a cost effective and efficient manner – then it is time to evaluate the worth of that vendor relationship.

GOOD BUSINESS does not necessarily follow GOOD PRODUCT and GOOD FRIENDS. I shall move on in search of vendor partners that more closely align with my values and work ethic. THAT’S good business.