New Style

Dear J-

The poster yells starkly at me.  MANAGERS HAVE EMPLOYEES.  LEADERS HAVE FOLLOWERS.  It’s one of those complete with some kind of splashy product photography — this one, some kind of brightly-colored marching band.  My eyes slide over it again as we troop dutifully into the meeting.  We might as well be in 1984, constant vigilance and conformal thinking.

Sun and sky drag my attention out the window as the canned presentation rolls out.  Why do they believe we have reading issues?  If the talking points are already in the PowerPoint slides, I just need explanation; if the explanation bloats your slides beyond comprehension and legibility, then I could read it on my own time.  Ugh.  They’ve got the chairs tied closely together again — ostensibly to enforce row neatness, but when the chairs are designed for grade schoolers — skinny grade schoolers — pressing the flesh takes on a whole new meaning.

Style takes pole position.  I admire the graphics; I admire the A/V setup (having run the A/V department for the fourth grade class, I can tell you that filmstrip projectors are a completely different animal from threading your standard 16mm Bell & Howell movie projector).  One neat cable, nicely packaged, slick transitions and on a shoestring budget.  We’re committed to change, but not the follow through, like drunks on their last bender.  We say the right words and fail our faith, choosing to follow the same old comfortable patterns that brought us here.

Changing course is as easy as turning a ship with a rudder stuck hard over:  you’re yawing, but not going.  Back to the poster again:  do I read that right?  CHANGE IS A LIFESTYLE, NOT AN ATTITUDE.  And yet everywhere I look, walls and barriers, deaf ears and dumb mouths.



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