Posted by Drew Kugler
Recently, a local organization with some 200 employees asked me to lead a hour-long discussion about change. Because of the topic, I insisted we insert a twist into the invitation. Even though this organization is facing significant change in how it delivers its products and how employees work, the invitation asked for attendance on the condition that the invitee wanted to be there. If they didn’t want to change, the invitation said, they shouldn’t come.
Four out of 200 showed up. Four.
As you read this, what’s your reaction? It was Thoreau who famously said that it doesn’t matter where you look, it matters what you see. The four people who attended were intensely curious about how they could deal with the changes at their workplace, and how such learning could apply to their lives outside of work. We had, by every indication, a productive and educational workshop.
On my drive home, instead of dwelling on the number, I was comparing that to the rooms of people at organizations who sit slouched in their chairs, occasionally rolling their eyes (thinking no one notices), and waiting for the learning to end. Not only in classes they’re forced to go to, but every day they come to work.
When it comes to changing your work or your life, which room do you belong in?
4.25.12 at 5:26 pm |
4.4.12 at 10:10 am | What it takes to be indelible
3.21.12 at 6:15 pm | True story: I was once on a boat with some. . .
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3.21.12 at 6:15 pm | True story: I was once on a boat with some. . . (1)
April 4, 2012 | 10:10 am
Posted by Drew Kugler
When someone turns 90, especially when they’re your parent, it’s time to do something special. Though we’ll have a dinner at that restaurant you like, that’s not really enough. I want to do something that means so much more. I want to tell a story of thanks. Thanks for something you taught me a long time ago that has indelibly affected my life as a professional, as a parent, and as a person.
The year was 1968. I was 10 years old that Spring. For reasons I didn’t understand, I spent all my spare time as a 5th grader volunteering in the Presidential campaign of Senator Robert Kennedy. As my involvement deepened, I passed out lots of leaflets and stuffed lots envelopes at Kennedy headquarters in Chula Vista. As I remember, it was a typical evening at home, long before the tragic ending of the campaign. You and I got into an argument and debate over who would make a better President, my candidate or yours, Senator Eugene McCarthy. I remember feeling so strongly about being right, that “Bobby” was better. I also remember being initially afraid to have that argument with you. After all, you were my Dad.
What I remember the most (though not the exact wording you used) was that you made it ok for us to discuss and disagree that night in the right way that respected the other person’s opinion, even helping me to tell you I thought you were wrong. To this day, I believe your example and encouragement that night helps me to create conversations in places I care about that try to make room for everyone, even and especially if they have a different way of looking at things and even if they’re young.
What is radical about this is that you deliberately set the difficult example not just for yourself but for me. You resisted the easy thing to do which would be to cut off the conversation because you were the parent. I wonder to this day how many parents strive as you did to intentionally set an example for their children to follow in their future relationships. To honor what you did, I promise to continue to ask others that question.
As we approach your milestone day, thank you for that beautiful example. Your decision to stoke our debate that night guides me now 44 years later in ways that will live far into the future. I will always love you for that.
Happy Birthday Dad!
March 21, 2012 | 6:15 pm
Posted by Drew Kugler
True story: I was once on a boat with some people. One of them started to get nauseous and headed for the rail. On their way there, they were intercepted by a relative, who said “I told you ! You should have taken the Dramamine before we left the dock!”
I’ll never forget the expression of utter disgust—and the shade of green complexion—on my friend as he stared back at his chastiser. That expression of disdain will forever guide me in my work and my family conversations.
People ask me for advice about how to communicate better. I make a living giving that advice to them. So I end up, more than most people I know, thinking a lot about and trying ways to give that advice so that it is helpful to listen to. Not that it’ll be agreed with or acted on, but at least listened to.
One of the best ways to make sure your advice ISN’T heard is to offer it when it’s not solicited, or at the wrong time. Have you ever done that? It sounds something like: “What you should have done is….” Or “ I think you should …” The harm in saying things like this happens when the advice is not preceded by any curiosity from the person you’re hitting with that advice. And, despite your protests of loving and caring intention, please know that it’s having the opposite effect. It’s making the problem you’re seeking to help with likely worse.
So try this: Go a day without telling your friends and family what to do or what you think about something UNLESS they ask you first. Let me know what that’s like.