Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Self Examination and the Workplace

Elias Damianakis, Hagiographos
Archon Maestor of the Great Church of Christ

It is vital when aspiring to produce anything thing or provide any service to take make a candid and honest examination of  how we contribute or undermine the effort. Understanding how we interact with others: staff, consumers and the broader community is essential.

Generally speaking, individuals are resistant to actually taking on this type of assessment because of its negative connotations. It is almost always assumed it is a process of trouble shooting where personal and professional shortcomings are the focus. This should have nothing whatsoever to do with personal attacks; and the perception or misapplication of this protocol is an unfortunate bias and error. Taking an accounting of our professional inventory is the key to success: any kind of success really, precisely because it truthfully evaluates in real time what is actually happening. In contrast a personal inventory is private and the sole responsibility of the person. It should be part and parcel of our personal standard and code of ethics but it is not part of the business plan or assessment protocol.

The only overlap of these two distinct assessments is that both professionally and personally we can undertake with regularity an examination of how we are concretely contributing or hindering  the effort in terms of the quantitative and qualitative value of our behavior and our perception. This is manner of proceeding assesses not only risks but assets. It is not about assigning blame or regret which can be destructive but rather it is about letting the light in and acknowledging the situation with a critical eye which provides unforeseen opportunity opening the door for brainstorming, troubleshooting and change. This discussion should resemble a dialogue not a debate nor should it be a time of unwarranted flattery and excessive complimenting. Remember keep it professional about the work not personal.

This outcome of procedural assessments should address the measure of behaviors and aptitudes if possible. To avoid defensiveness or overstating strengths it would be beneficial to address the outcome measures dispassionately like a label on a contain or listing product information: what it does (the actual product) , warnings about potentially harmful additives (poor work habits), active (time and talent) and inert (unnecessary or unprofitable habits) ingredients.  Success is about the product. What is actually produced and how is it received by your consumer and your staff. An honest look at the action plan will accentuate the positives, the negatives and those characteristics or behaviors which are not merely inert but distractions and which squander resources. With change comes the opportunity for excitement, improvement and hope which too often is sorely lacking. It is astonishing the images we carry with us and uphold as objective realities or truths which have absolutely nothing at all to do with conditions on the ground.  

On a final note as with any system there must be the facilitator the primary individual who by skill, vision and dedication spearheads the project. This individual must be the most qualified and the most sensitive not only to the process but to the people he/she relies on to do the menial and skilled tasks as well as understanding the target group. This individual must not only be self assured but clear headed. An impatient, defensive facilitator is a dictator who ultimately will drive down productivity and undermine the integrity of the work. If not clearly apparent at the onset it will become painfully obvious. When the risk assessment and procedural assessment is complete if a course correction is necessary it is imperative that workers are receptive to the change and criticism. Each individual is responsible to first start with the man in the mirror.

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