Recently I was at a woman’s memorial service in which the son read a poem he had written about his mother. In the poem he spoke to sifting through all her things – her jewelry, her mementos from countless wonderful foreign trips, her photos, her clothing, to try to ‘find’ her, and each time he noted, “and you were not there”. But finally, he said, he found her in the indomitable spirit of her children, in the devotion of a young man from another country she had relentlessly befriended, in the warmth in the eyes of the caretakers from her final days who rapidly adopted her as family. Continue reading
In our Western understanding of how to find meaning, our philosophers over the past few centuries have gravitated to logic models, trying to apply scientific method to the complex understanding of all things. Even the names of recent Western philosophies have borne such names as Rationalism, Analytical Philosophy, and Logicism. We live in an age that celebrates and reveres logic as meaning. Data and metrics are the answer. What’s the question? Continue reading
In the 1960s, psychologist Abraham Maslow popularized a hierarchy of individual needs that culminated in what he characterized as a basic human desire for self-actualization. His theory was premised on an understanding of people as wanting to reach both personal fulfillment and a connection with the external world. He saw self-actualization as an end state in which people found meaning in their lives and used their personal self-fulfillment in positive ways as they lived within their environments. But clearly, his focal attention was on the individual more than on the society in which the individual operated. Continue reading
In the September 12 New York Times, OpEd columnist David Brooks wrote a refreshingly apolitical opinion piece that is a worthwhile reflection on aspects of leadership that are as pertinent today as they were in the stories that formed the Old Testament. It’s worth a read for this reason alone. Continue reading
Overheard in a workplace conversation from an older worker to a younger one, “Please compliment your parents for having raised a very well-bred young man.” The young man had not done anything terribly special. But he had asked the opinion of the older man, had said, “thank you” when advice had been offered, and had added how he might apply that advice. Continue reading
This letter to a national news columnist describes an employee’s stress over what he describes as near-constant political discussion at work, not surprising, perhaps, given its prominence in the media.
The columnist offers advice to the employee about how to even-handedly discuss with fellow employees a preference to not hear the political rhetoric, and even to force the attention of the company’s Human Resources department if he feels the situation is stressful enough. Continue reading
For the Tin Man it was a heart, for the Scarecrow a brain, and what the Cowardly Lion wished for was nerve. He wanted the courage to stand up for himself, for things he believed in. He wanted to be able to roar in the face of blustery bullies like the Wizard of Oz or the Wicked Witch of the West.
There are times these days when it can feel a little like we’re all Cowardly Lions, when roaring has unacceptable consequences. Continue reading
We’re in a world right now of ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’, of super-charged words like ‘hate’ and ‘bigotry’ and ‘distrust’ and ‘fake’. Of people calling each other out instead of bringing each other in. Of pointing fingers in lieu of pointing the way.
We tend to put this negativity in a corner as a political phenomenon that can somehow be walled off from our workplaces. But take a look around you and ask yourselves some simple questions. Continue reading
The final implementation date for the customer software was just a few weeks away. The problems were mounting and everyone on the team was putting in long hours. The stress level was high. Maria kept a careful eye on her team members. She began to be concerned about signs she saw in Elizabeth, who was short with her colleagues and was making some errors. Continue reading