Thursday, April 22, 2004

I'm happy that the kids in 03A2 can play so well together. My concern is whether they can work together. I'm imagining an office scenario with 03A2 as the staff and I wonder how long the company will survive. What seems to be lacking is a central uniting personality, a strong leader who has an eye on what's important and to rally the troops towards a common objective. It sounds so cliched, but I don't know how else to describe the situation. Those from amongst the group I thought could be that leader have given all they could and yet the inertia seems too great to overcome. We're wading in molasses, looking for the 'do' and not so much caring for the 'why' (the 'quid' as above). Apart from our own entertainment, can we find any other reason for getting a project done together? Can we see that something is worth doing and therefore do it?

I can't be that leader, in case you're wondering. As it is, they already think they work for me. It doesn't matter what I do, I'm still an Authority Figure. As the perceived 'employer' they don't trust my leadership. It's the Dilbert vs pointy-haired monster relationship. They have to find a leader that they perceive as their equal to give their trust to. Trust is a hard-earned commodity these days.

Old story but worth repeating:
A skilled craftsman has been in the employ of a building company for many years. His skill is such that the company comes to depend on his expertise in most of its building projects. He is now about to retire and his employer asks him to complete one last job -- a house by the beach. "OMG," he thinks, "they're never gonna let me off the hook. They'll just keep exploiting me until I drop dead! I'm so close to retirement and I still want to have some energy left to enjoy my golden years!" He figures the faster he's done with this last project, the sooner he can quit and run off to enjoy life. So he rushes through the design, he orders materials without thinking through the specs and he isn't so careful with the supervision of the workers. He meets his deadline as usual, but while the house looks fine on the outside, the pipes and roof leak, the tiles could fall off at any moment, and the foundations are unstable. Still, the job is complete and he turns the house over to the company. "I've finished my last job for you," he says, "as of today I'm officially retired." And the manager replies, "Yes, you've been waiting for this day for so long. We thank you for the good work you've done for the company for so many years. Looking back, we feel that we haven't really appreciated you enough. Going by your past record, we know you've done a splendid job on your last project and we know that it will make the perfect retirement gift for you and your family. Here are the keys to the house, you can move in any time you want."
03A2, once you realize that you don't work for the College, the Principal or your tutors, but rather for yourselves; and that the work you do is for your benefit and not anyone else's, I think we've taken our first step together as a CT for the right reasons. We are all responsible for our learning so let's not let each other down.
List of missing things:
Trust, belief, vision, leadership, shared purpose, common direction, work ethic, urgency, courage to speak your mind in public and raison de etre.
We only have 5 months left to find these. Why? Because you need to tap on each other's strengths to be satisfied with yourselves at the 'A's. Because I don't want to see you forget each other once you've taken your 'A's. Because individually you have the talent, verve and passion to thrive in this world, so can you imagine what you could do if you were united? Because your friendship, regardless of all else, is the most precious thing you can take from the College when you leave. For your own sakes, don't settle for anything less.

Today's Casualty list:
'nette : food poisoning
Yan: sprained ankle caused by fire evacuation from the apartment she stays in
Kareen: stomach flu with other complications
Please take care of yourselves, ppl. Your health is important too.
So unnerving when Kareen called in sick today. The pain made her unintelligible over the phone and I decided the best thing to do was to send Lynn, Chun and Ray over to her place to take care of her. Ray's question to me reflects the general dependence on Authority for specific direction, "What can we do?" The answer is a rearrangement of the words in the question, thus, "do what we can." You are heading out into an unknown situation, the urgency of which does not allow you much prep time. On arrival, you observe the situation, identify the specific needs and do your best to meet them. The reason why you did this today is based on the value you place on your friendship; you are after all her closest friends. I suspect she needed to know she wasn't alone in her situation and that all you had to provide at that time was your company and emotional support rather than carry out CPR or open-heart surgery. Interesting this happened during our I&E discussion. You really got a practical lesson in Innovation if not so much Enterprise today.
Hope Kareen, 'nette and Yan get better real soon.

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