Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pulling Yourself Together

We spent the last 20 minutes of our organizational development retreat yesterday coming up with words that describe our organizational culture in 4 years at the "end" of our formal organizational development and change process. The words were wonderful, and we were able to go around our circle three times before we ran out of them. We came up with adjectives that we wanted to be true about the institution and all of us at that time, and that we would be working towards now. We noticed that many of them we would also use today, and perhaps we simply wished to be more prevalent, or more consistently a descriptor. These were words like: optimistic, trusting, creative, accountable, reliable, and even fizzy. There were 3 pages of these and they were wonderful.

The retreat was over in a hail of applause 10 minutes later, and I walked across the hallway into my office and was confronted with a situation where my first reaction was surprisingly not optimistic, not trusting, and not particularly creative. It was like I had left that part of me in the conference room momentarily (and it took about 10 hours for it to catch up with me and remind me that that half of myself should wait until the other half gets there to speak.)

I guess we all have this duplicity (the charm of our species), and luckily we get the opportunity to choose which side acts/talks first. We also get to reflect on how congruence between what we say we do and what we actually do can strengthen our participation in a collective and trust in our contribution, and how the inverse may also true.

This all takes some reflection and a certain deliberateness of action. Today I will join my reflection again.