Last weekend I attended a women's retreat. The organizers thought of everything. Complimentary massages, yoga, belly dancing, drumming, comfy pillows and cots for lounging, tables for painting or coloring, a class on how to write poetry like Rumi, and a keynote speaker/singer that led us through singing and chanting song just for women.
The Betsey Mill's Club hosted the event. This set of buildings dates back to the late 19th century and blends beautifully with the old section of Marietta (Ohio) where its' located. As with most old places, it started off as someone's home (The Mills!) and over time became other things (home for unwed mothers, dormitory, etc.) and now is used as an actual club for exercise, community events, and a small dorm for visiting nurses is tucked away upstairs.
Part of my work, when planning trainings, is logistics. How are things arranged? How do rooms flow? Where will people go for a break? How many people will fit? All sorts of little questions. When I arrived at the Betsey Mill's Club, I went to the "wrong" door. Not a big deal, someone opened the door and gave me directions ("...its around the corner..."), so I walked down the street, turned the corner and...I guess its that door over there? So I walked over to a different building and opened the door - thankfully a volunteer stood just inside - and found my way to the gym - the main hub of the day's activities. A volunteer manning the registration table informed me that the yoga class would be held in the "living room" and the Rumi writing class would be in the "dining room". And where are these rooms? "Down that hall, down the stairs, and just go along, you'll find them..."
I felt a bit of harrumphness! Was there no map? No detailed drawing of the sprawling layout of these buildings? I was just supposed to "find my way"?! What kind of event is this? Who organized this day and left people to their own devices? Good God, did they know nothing??!!
And then I asked myself: why do I need a map? Why must I know exactly where I'm going? Why can't I just wander along, look in nooks and crannies, explore a few dead-ends, bump into a few walls, and happen upon the right place? Must I have all or nothing? Helloooo - I wouldn't be me if I wasn't an underachieving perfectionist.
So, I colored, I yoga-ed, I wrote like Rumi, I sang, I painted, I even knitted for awhile. I stopped trying so hard to be so organized and let the day go as it would. Fifty percent of me liked going with the flow, 50% hated it.
Do we always need a map? Yes. No. Depends. I like order and lists and checkmarks and times and dates and outlines with Roman numerals and one foot in front of the other (no dilly-dallying side-to-side steps!). When I colored, I tried to make myself go outside the lines. You should try, too. Find a coloring book. Pick a picture you like, pick a crayon so pointed it could be a toothpick, and start to color. When you get to the line, pay no attention, just go right on beyond that line. Bet you can't to do it happily.
My point? There aren't always maps, lines, lists, scripts, or frames. It's scary and freakish, I know. Try not to panic. Breathe deep and relax your shoulders. Try to let some part of your day just happen. Be open to a different way to solve for X. I'll never live without lists, but maybe I can stop numbering each line...
Building on the January conversation around communications, we'll spend a bit of time on personality profiles in February. Of course, we are our own favorite subject: who am I? How does the world around me impact....me? I dare say, we often see the world as affecting us rather than us affecting the world. Reactive versus proactive. And rightly so because that's how we start life - things happen to us. Our diapers are changed, we are fed, comforted, or not fed, not comforted. We go to kindergarten, elementary and secondary school. More affecting us. And then, on to the "real" world, whether that's university or technical school or work. And now we are in a different position, and, ideally, all the lessons learned from our developmental years will have a positive influence on the rest of our life.
So why is it we spend so much time as adults searching for our true selves? It might be because we spent so much time being told who we are, what we must do, how we must be in every situation, with or without our agreement. Now, on our own, we are faced with a choice - to continue as that person that has been molded by experiences, or, discover the person under all those layers of influence. As this isn't a parenting blog, I'll leave that discussion to someone else; but this is a post about personality - specifically, your work personality. It is less about how others' affect our life and more about how we affect others. You know you can only control you and your proactive/reactive ideas and feelings. Thus, understanding our own personality, why we do what we do, guides us towards the positive influence we can have on coworkers, employers, customers, clients, patients, etc.
On last week's FB broadcast I introduced you to SCARF - the neuroleadership model created by David Rock (www.neuroleadership.com). Cutting edge science paired with leadership skills gives us a firm basis for understanding why we do what we do and how to use that knowledge to benefit ourselves and others. You can watch my video here and plan to tune in tomorrow, February 6, to hear the second part of that discussion. For the rest of February, I'll look at other profiles that companies use to assess their employees and discuss which ones I think are best and why.
I like this Lloyd Price song - Personality - give it a listen below if you'd like a little throwback music to hum along to while you work.
Loving the sun sparkling on the snow. Special shout-out to my brother, Terry, for the beautiful memories.
So, in my last post I said I'd talk about Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions in my FB broadcast yesterday. I didn't. I ended up talking about DiSC, a behavioral profile - similar to Meyers-Brigg's but focused on...well...behavior - something we can change. And. After learning about Hof's Dimensions, I learned there are actually six - some had been added after the interview. So watch the the interview if you'd like to hear him speak (which I recommend), but know that further research has added another two dimensions.
After my initial broadcast last week, I had an indepth discussion with my friend and colleague, Joan Sweeny. After 22 years in the military that included living in Germany and Korea, and deployments to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, she has quite a background in cultural communications. As we talked about "culture" and "communications," Joan sent me this definition:
I dream in color, do you? Last night I dreamed I moved into a new house, full of deep reds, dark wood, and lots of space. I felt so excited about exploring a new place and living there. I love waking up that way.
What are your thoughts about "power distance" or Long term orientation v. Short term orientation? How does organizational culture affect your work relationships? You may not even think about this - especially on the day after New Year's Day. I had to drag myself to the computer this morning after two weeks of sipping hot tea while watching Turner Classic Movies in my pajamas - all day. I threw on my winter coat, over my pajamas and bathrobe, to clomp up the hill in my husband's boots to check our mailbox. Tis the season!
I chose to focus on cross-cultural communications this month - specifically between Asian and Western multi-national companies, because more people are working within a global team. In my experience as a international business coach, most executives are worried about understanding others and being understood - literally. One of their biggest concerns is the ability to discern what others are saying over a telephone conference call, and visa versa - do their English counterparts know what words are being said during the conference call? Is it okay to say "Can you repeat that?" over and over? What about the element of "face" for Asian workers versus a direct style of speaking for Western workers? There are layers here that impact employee satisfaction, employee productivity, and ultimately, organizational success.
I just watched an in-depth interview with Geert Hofstede, a Dutch organizational anthropologist. His work is well-known in sociological circles but what you may not know is his findings started during a consultation with IBM in 1968. Although the world has changed - it really hasn't. If you have time to spare you can watch the interview here. And if you don't - I'll be covering the 5 Dimensions of the Hofstede Model in my next Facebook broadcast, scheduled for Tuesday, January 9 at 1pm EST.
In the meantime, I have to finish putting away holiday decorations and try to stay off the couch. Isn't napping such a good idea?