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.

Starbucks on Frankford Ave.

In my neighborhood, a Starbucks was proposed for the main street (Frankford Ave.)    Starbucks promised an atypical luxury type of Starbucks that only exists in a few cities, but people said, “no” at an April zoning meeting.   There was an appeal to the city zoning board, but no one wanted to overturn the neighborhood’s decision.

Every time I walk by the empty storefront on Frankford Ave, I wonder if we made the wrong decision.   Why are we so binary in when we approach something like this Imagine if our response to Starbucks wasn’t “We don’t like you, get the fuck out” but, “We don’t like you, do these things and you can move in.”  We could have asked for anything and it was on Starbucks to meet those demands.  We could have asked for:

  • 75% of this store’s employees must have lived in the neighborhood for at least a year.
  • All teachers and post off workers get from coffee from 7 – 8 AM.
  • Give $250,000 to the rec center or palmer park annually.
  • Public trashcans that you maintain in service within a 3 block radius of the store.
  • The restroom is not customers only, but anyone can stop in its use.
  • School supplies for every student in the neighborhood.

Listen, I don’t care about Starbucks.   I drink at Steep and Grind or Mammoth Coffee these days.   I just think it is disingenuous when people say they only want the local coffee shop.   La Colombe is a great and worth $100 million dollars.   It’s long stopped being your corner coffee shop.

I actually think the analysis is pretty simple.  We have a neighborhood that a billion-dollar corporation wants to do business in.  The billion-dollar corporation has far more money than should be allowed, so let’s take it from them. Instead of just saying “No, get off my lawn,” let’s “ok, but give us XYZ.”

Blog Reflection 1 : WF ED 572

How do you feel about change in organizational settings? Why do you feel as you do?

Change is any organization is inevitable.  There is no way any organization cannot change.  The world is constantly changing around it and all organizations need to adapt to those changes. Our planet, technology, and society change every minute of the day and it is preposterous to believe any successful organization is immune from these currents. As Dylan said,  “The Times They Are A-Changin'”.

That inevitable change can be structured and focused to make sure the organization is successful, or it can be slapdash, unsponsored, and completed unintegrated into the success strategy of the organization.  I’ve seen organizations reactively change and I’ve organizations proactively change.  A proactive change plan is not always successful but more successful than a reactive one.

Change in an organizational setting can be extremely difficult. It requires openness, sponsorship, and some knowledge of a strong methodology to implement the change.   I believe organizations should institutionalize their change methodology, a methodology both distinct and respectful of the organizational culture.

I’ve been a part of the change work in my organization.   Some people fought it.  Some people embraced it, but I had a committee of sponsors that pushed the work forward every day.  We acknowledged that the work was going to be hard and take time.   This frame put all of us on a good footing to know what we had to do to make a big change in the organization.

Organizations should assume change and rejecting stagnation must be a value of any corporate/organizational culture.    I do think it is important to note, that organizations shouldn’t change for the sake of changing.   On the contrary, they should change to maintain or increase their current ability to be successful in an ever-changing world.

Starting a class

Today I am starting an online class at Penn Stat. I am taking Foundations in Organization Development and Change with William Rothwell. This is my first online course. I think the course is going to require me to blog, so I am going to try to keep it here, but will let you know if I need to keep it at Penn State.

Here’s to dipping my toe into Organization Development (OD) waters.

The cicadas are here.

I set an intention to focus on mindfulness and (re)start my practice.  This morning I woke up and sat for a 10-minute meditation in the backyard.   It was a simple breathing meditation.  There was no counting or body exploration, just 10 minutes with my breath.  While I was in it, the cicadas living in my neighbor’s vine starting to hum.   It was a low hum, that I don’t usually notice and it crescendoed into an incredible peak.   The peak is probably what I normally notice, but to let the build wash over me was very delightful.

After the first rush of cicada hum, it started again from my other neighbor’s tree.   The city can be loud with cars, trains, people, etc.   Mother earth provided a lovely white noise sound bath this morning.   I stuck to my breath as best as I could and I think the cicadas were good allies.  It’s nice to hear nature’s symphony cut through the din of the city.

My favorite things in Philadelphia – 2019

Bowl of noodles – Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House
Charcuterie – Royal Boucherie
Chinese – Han Dynasty*
Cider – Kurant
Coffee shop – ReAnimator Coffee (Master St.)
Decadent breakfast – Sausage Roll at Cake Life
Dessert – Slice of cake @ Cake Life
Falafel – Liberty Choice
Gay Bar – U-Bar
Good Cocktail in a Quiet Place – New Liberty Distillery
Grocery Store Beer – Bar @ KCFC
Greater calorie lunch than I deserve on a workday – Matt & Marie’s
Hoagie – Castellino’s
Italian – Le Virtu (this list is city only, but Andiario is a real contender)
Mexican – South Philly Barbacoa
Pizza to share with friends – In Riva
Pub Grub – Cook & Shaker
Restaurant – Royal Boucherie
Shawarma – Al-Amana Grocery Store
Single Dish – Squid Salad at Aether
Sushi ala carte – Kisso
Susi omakase – Da-Wa
Thai – Kalaya
Wine Tasting – Pen & Pencil


*The food here is so good.  The last time I was there, I was expecting to meet a friend.  She did not show, because she died in her house that day.  I’ve not returned to Han Dynasty and I am not sure when I will.