Feb 18, 2008

The Elephant In The Room, Or The Fish In The Barrel?

A funny thing happened the other day at one of the organizations I'm involved with. One of the organization's members ran into a scheduling problem, and, because the organization's scheduling chain of command is clear as mud, this member sent an e-mail to the other members of the organization requesting clarification. I responded with an e-mail to members of the organization with a proposal that would clarify the chain of command in a very specific way.

That's when the barn started burning/ the defecation hit the rotary oscillating device/ pick your own description of brou-ha-ha began.

Instead of addressing problem/solution, the member asking for clarification and I were soundly pummeled with e-mails, along the lines of "don't rock the boat", "Person X or Y might get offended", "your e-mail was too direct and might offend people", etc etc. you get the drift. All e-mail responses to us were about personalities, nothing about the problem or the solution.

You've been here, haven't you! All of a sudden, YOU'RE the problem for pointing out the problem. You've become the bullseye. The big nail sticking up which now needs to be pounded back down. You're the fish in the barrel, and they're shooting at you.

Dysfunction. A natural organizational state of being. Oh, well. The important thing is to stay in the game, don't take personal attacks personally, and continue to do your best to maintain a positive attitude. After all, we can't change other people, but we can certainly make sure we continue to treat everyone with respect. Especially those who might be critical of us.

Sometimes we're the elephant in the room. Sometimes we're the fish in the barrel. Most of the time, we're all alike. Imperfect people doing our best to improve our lot in life, collectively and individually.

And that's my touchy-feely blog post for the year. Feel free to e-mail me plenty of personal attacks if I write anything else this Oprah-esque before Dec. 31, 2008.

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