I walked into the meeting, it was morning and you could smell the coffee in the air. The room was full of obnoxious comments and morning sarcasm. I sat down in the back where I always like to hide and said “Hi”. Of course, I find myself playing more with my tie than paying attention to the conversation and then…. “Howie, what do you think”? I look up and I see the whole room looking at me, I heard what they were saying, it was the same old blah blah blah. I was wondering if I should give them some random answer like “42” or something that would tell them that I am not in the mood to be here . All I am thinking at this point is that I am tired of having the same conversations over and over and getting the same results. After all “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” Albert Einstein. That is what is happening, they are asking me the same questions to the same problems that I have answered over and over. I stood up and grabbed the black expo from the bottom of the white board and started to write. Of course the freaking marker is dry and I have to look for another. There are days that you wind up with something funky like green or brown, that isn’t cool. I started drawing with the green marker, the words pour out on the board covering every inch end to end. The lines intersect with the circles and squares as I draw what would equate to the world map of IT. Some of my audience is intimately familiar with my thoughts, looking at them from my position it seems as if they are reading an old familiar novel. As for the others, looks like they were hit with the light from a police mag light in the window after a night on the town. “Does anyone have any questions?” I love the really really smart guys, they always look into their doctorate brains and see if they can ask me a question that steers the conversation to their areas of expertise. NOT TODAY SIR!♠ The question; “Howie, can you explain how this is related to the semantic ontology of the ISO standardized inter-relational trans-dynamic standard of universal interoperability.. dark matter?” Now of course half the room is leaving for coffee or the bathroom; it is their secret escape that isn’t a secret. Dr. Dorkatron just tried to hijack the conversation, if you ever wondered why nothing gets done in the government, this is part of the reason.
Now I am calling for a break.♣
I go downstairs to get a cup of myself and of course some of these guys follow. They want to talk to me about what they think and about their great contributions to the world. I find myself at the coffee mess trying to explain that I am interested in their thoughts but we have to stay focused on the task at hand. Of course the clock is ticking and they are holding me hostage. I have to get back to the meeting, the boss is waiting for me to finish telling his story. I manage to convince the good doctors that we need to get back up to the meeting and so we head up the stairs.
Action to Activity.♥
I have read this book called “Dealing With People You Can’t Stand”; I sure wish I could make their suggestions work. At this point I am standing in front of the whiteboard with fresh marker smell in the air and I am looking at what I had just painted on the board. I have no idea where I was, the good doctors were successful in derailing me although we aren’t talking about what they want to talk about. Seriously, I am standing there with my head and hair in my hands, some nervous marker OCD tics that I have picked up along the way and a map of something that looks complicated but wasn’t complicated when I was drawing it.
I have to get back to the important topic at hand, I have to get back to the point. Who, what, when, where, why and how we are going to accomplish our goals. What is the mission, vision, scope and objective? How are we going to solve these very real and complicated problems? I catch my breath and look across the room and what do I find? The only people who are left are my loyal teammates and those that want to talk about their most brilliant achievements. My leadership had to get back to their desks and answer emails ( I AM TALKING TO YOU BUT YOU ARE LOOKING AT YOUR SCREEN, TYPING AND SAYING “UH HUH” ARE YOU COMING BACK UP TO THE MEETING SIR? ARE YOU SIR?) I guess this conversation wasn’t important enough? “Howie, I trust you will work it out.” Work what out? What the.. what just happened? Oh well, it is almost lunchtime anyway and so goes another morning.
I never finished, these days I never do.