Posts Tagged ‘leadership academy’

Numbers Game

5 May 2010

Dear J-

I had to make up some training that I’d skipped out on because of the five-week absence — this was training that is mandatory for all people on site, and thus I’m nearly number five thousand (between the late date and the number of contractors we’ve processed, I was surprised to hear that figure myself). Yet the numbers that were most interesting today were one, three, and one. One: one person from our class of the Leadership Academy got sent to the hospital last night, and a week and a half out of Dana Point, we’re hearteningly still together: first that we were notified, second that we all thought about it, third that we kept digging to find answers. And one — one other grad who walked up during lunch to let me know that she was okay.

Three: it turned out that I wasn’t the only one from class to show up today (three of us from LA got caught in the same trap). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I must have let out a sigh of relief once I spotted my fellow graduates sitting there in the parking lot as I walked up — recounting it later, I realized how much more interesting the class was, how much easier it was to get up and talk knowing what I need to work on. I keep thinking the empowering thought: the fear of speaking comes from being afraid you won’t be liked (this makes me think about traveling with kids, honestly — how many dirty looks have you shot at parents of noisy kids, right?).

One: I wrapped up the day with another academy grad, taking a tour of the impressive ASME fab shop — large machines, flawless welds, buckets of chips and shavings — and I think I’m starting to get it. It’s less about getting things done some times; it’s investing time in people and relationships when you can. Well, that makes it sound fairly clinical; you don’t do it because you want people to like you, you do it because you care about people. Our bull sniffers are pretty refined by now; we’re smarter than we think, and we ought to trust our instincts.

Mike

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Day 10: Rage Machine

2 April 2010

Dear J-

I’ll come right out and say it: why this Conflict Management isn’t either a longer class nor mandatory doesn’t make a ton of sense to me; today felt rushed to accomodate a schedule, but there was still so much more to be learned — this is life, after all. Now all I need is lessons in how to convince your three year old that bedtime isn’t punishment. The class was eye-opening in terms of philosophy and how they should inform your actions. It all stems from a fundamental belief that we need to know ourselves — and therefore what we can control; from there we work to control our reactions into measured response and quiet resolve.

I can help others better by understanding what they want and trying to figure out a mutually beneficial solution. To paraphrase a story, two girls who want the same orange split it in half. One, disgusted with the other, eats the fruit and discards the peel but stays hungry — the full orange would have been sufficient; the other, disgusted with the one, zests the peel and discards the fruit angrily, without enough for her recipe, the dish won’t turn out right. They both wanted the orange, but wouldn’t there have been a happier scene if they had talked out why?

It seems like common sense, doesn’t it? For the most part, too, it is; you need to realize that there’s nothing magical about conflict management. And that’s the beauty of it; there are no secrets, only real tools anyone can use. I look at my life with new eyes tonight, how easily I’ve allowed myself to slip into rage without realizing what or how I react. If it’s as simple as knowing who I turn into when I’m angry, and being disgusted by that face in the mirror, then everyone should take the course. We’ve ended each week so far on high notes; future weeks have high standards to uphold.

Mike