I really enjoyed Bong Joon-ho’s newest movie Parasite.  He’s handled class division before but this story is particularly great.   It feels amazingly real.   I think he is one of the best cinematic storytellers alive.  Everyone should go see it.

WF ED 572, 002, FA19 – Blog Reflection 5

What do you believe you do best? Why do you believe as you do? What are your key strengths, and what leads you to believe that they are strengths?

I am good at making people feel at ease. A strength in my professional and personal life is that I am personable and approachable. Why do I believe my extroverted and affable personality is a strength? Well, like it or not, we have a society that rewards extroverts and those who can build networks.   I can float between many situations and genuinely enjoy myself.   When I engage with others I am authentically interested in learning about them.

A few years ago at work, I took a leadership style assessment.  The test identified me as someone who is naturally adaptive.  I think that is very true and is one of my strengths.   I am able to plan a situation and as changes occur, I often imagine some of the outcomes that the changes may create. I am extremely results-focused as it pertains to the situation at hand, so when I am thinking about finishing a project I do not freeze when something changes.   I figure out how to reroute or enjoy the new outcome.

Here are 2 examples of what I am talking about.  Once I planned a 10-day hike in the Alps.   My husband and I realized we made a mistake and booked a hotel one night of the hike a day earlier than needed.  OK, we could lose the prepaid night, find a new hotel, and now recalibrate the remaining part of the trip (6 more nights) or we could hike twice as much that day, get to the hotel and enjoy a free day.  It was not what I expected for that day, but it worked out wonderfully as I got a day to relax in Italy. A professional example of being adaptive is when I first started at my job and I realized I was accomplishing my work in much less time than anyone anticipated.  I used that free time to create a staff development program for technologists.  The importance of staff development for campaign technologists was never considered something of value.   Now we think of it as a priority.

Another strength I  have is empathy.  I think a lot about the people around me in a given situation.  I try extremely hard to see where people are coming from and considering how other people’s behavior (including mine) can affect them.  I am mindful of this strength because sometimes being too empathetic can be paralyzing.

My strengths tend to orbit around being: personable, adaptive, and empathetic.   These strengths work well together as the let me work really well with people.    In an earlier blog post about strengths, I mentioned that I am a good team member.   I still think that is the case, and I believe I do so well on a team because I am personable, adaptive, and empathetic.

WF ED 572, 002, FA19 – Blog Reflection 4

Reflect on your own personal experiences with change. Describe one organizational change and how you reacted to it. How did you treat other people in that process?

I debated on which change effort I wanted to reflect on. Recently, I was one of the people who led a large change effort at my organization to create a new department. However, I thought leading a change process inevitably creates very different reactions than being swept up in a change process. Here is my story of being part of a change process I did not invite or expect.

In 2017, the department I had happily been a part of for 4 years was disbanded. The staff were scattered to other departments and it seemed like there was very little appreciation for the work we had been doing. I have never been more upset about an organizational decision. At that point, I had done some of the best work of my career.

I was bitter, annoyed, and extremely cynical in the time immediately after the department ended. I would commiserate with my former colleagues looking for validation about what a terrible decision it was. Often annoyed, when I realized other people had started to move on. I was sad that some of my former colleagues started to leave the organization.

When I found myself on a new team, I brought in too many opinions about the way “we used to go things,” rather than being open to new approaches to the work. Finally, years later, sadness has morphed into nostalgia about the days of working on such a tight-knit team. I still see my former colleagues and we will reminisce about the old days, but things change.

I am not sure if it was a 4th of 5th level change. It was a departmental change, but it was because of the organization made a change in priorities.

In the beginning, I mentioned a change effort I’ve led since then. I’ve used the change hear to guide me through this subsequent change effort. I’ve tried to be transparent with those affected, not gossiping, but explaining rational. I’ve tried to listen to people when they are frustrated and put a value on preserving positive team dynamics.

WF ED 572, 002, FA19 – Blog Reflection 3

What work do you hope to do with OD? What career goals, if any, do you have for OD?

I am trying to make a career change, so I am using this course as a way to see if OD is a field I would like to dig into. Immediately, I would like to use some of the OD things I have learned in this course in my job. I’ve already volunteered to consult on an internal change project at my workplace.   My career goals are undefined, but I want to be OD trained enough to help my workplace change for the better.

What do you want to do at the end of this course?

Honestly, I would like to find an OD consultant that would let me apprentice with them on a part-time basis. I would like to see what it looks like to have your own business, get clients, do the work, and move on. I will not be leaving my job, but I would love to find an apprenticeship. I will keep reading materials and I will consultant on a change project in my workplace.

I’d really like to do a t-group. I have looked at courses at NTL and they are a bit expensive.

Do you plan to be in the online MPS in Organization Development and Change (MPS in ODC) degree program?

I do not think I will go into the online MPS program. I have a masters degree already, so I am not super enthusiastic about taking on additional graduate school debt. I am considering applying to a certificate in Organizational Consulting & Change Leadership at Georgetown. I’ve known a few people who’ve completed it and enjoy the cohort structure. I am also considering applying to the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance at American University

My entries to the 42nd Annual Wassenberg Art Center Photography Exhibit

I recently submitted some photos to the 42nd Annual Wassenberg Art Center Photography Exhibit.  Four of my photos were accepted to the contest.   I’ll let you know if I win anything.  The show starts on October 4, 2019, in Van Wert, Ohio.

All of these photos were taken by me, please do not use them without my permission (this blog post does not count as permission.)

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These are the photos that were not accepted.

WF ED 572, 002, FA19 – Blog Reflection 2

How well do you feel you work with other people? Describe how you interact with others. For example, are you timid or shy? Outgoing?

We do annual reviews at my workplace and one of the things that I am frequently told is that I am a good team member. I work very well with people. I listen to those I am working with, exert my expertise when appropriate, and try to track team habits that we would like to change. (ie Make a point of asking a man to be the notetaker and/or acknowledging when a female colleague is interrupted.)

I am an extrovert. If you value the Myers-Briggs, I am an ESFJ-T. I lean toward making sure everyone on my team feels comfortable. I  like a happy team without much tension. I also believe that struggle can breed progress, so being conflict-averse can lead to some deleterious consequences in the long run.  Intellectually, I know that tension on a team is ok and can be helpful, but sitting with that discomfort is something I need to work on.

If someone asked your friends about you, what would they say about your personal strengths and areas for improvement? Why would they say what they say?

My friends would say that I am funny, a bit loud, and opinionated.   I think they would also say that I am there for them when needed.   I build close friendships with people and I am frequently a holder of secrets.    They say this because it is true.   I’ve been told as much.  I am also a planner for my group of friends.  Ready to go on a trip?  I am the guy who sketches out the itinerary, makes the group text and coordinates the sleeping arrangements.

Colleagues would say that I am funny and quite personable. People like to work with me and I have credibility in fulfilling my promises. People say this because I have a track record of doing what I set out to do, and because I really can make my colleagues laugh. I like to do my work, but know about how people are feeling as a whole. Few can bifurcate their personal and professional lives, so I link to engage my colleagues as a whole person.

I think many people would say that I do not hold my cards very close to my chest. I am an open book and that can sometimes seem like a less than steady hand. Many times people look for a leader who is calming taking in and analyzing a situation. I can respond quickly and emotionally to certain situations.