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You must be the change you wish to see in the world

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by cheer, May 24, 2007.

  1. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Peace at Work

    "You must be the change you
    wish to see in the world."
    -- Mahatma Gandhi [​IMG]


    Being a consultant to businesses of all shapes and sizes, I have been amazed at how much conflict there can be in the workplace. The accumulated stress and tension of being angry at a boss or coworker take their toll daily, as people quit, are fired, are talked about, or have heart attacks-on Monday morning, especially. The workplace for many is nothing short of its own kind of war zone, and I have ventured into it attempting to share tools that will make for peaceful and contented hearts.

    One particular event that stands out in my mind took place at a mountain resort on a beautiful snowy day. The executive team of a very large hospital system had gathered in their sweatshirts and blue jeans to address leadership issues and to discuss the year ahead. Before the event started, one of the staff members took me aside and said through clenched teeth "I just want you to know that I will be resigning on Monday. I've already written my letter of resignation. I just didn't want you to hear about it later and think it was a result of anything that happens here this weekend. I am fed up with that man!" she pronounced, glancing in the direction of the CEO. "And I am not alone, either. He has been terrorizing us since he came on board nine months ago. I'm not going to work in an atmosphere of distrust and tension. My health means more to me than that."

    As I was moments away from walking up to the podium, there was nothing I could do but simply listen to her. In that instant, from her words as well as the grim expressions on the faces of the rest of the team, I realized that I had my work cut out for me. "This is going to be one long weekend," I thought to myself as I silently prayed for guidance.

    The principles of teambuilding that I teach and write about are rooted in scripture, and I have been amazed to see how simple principles, put into practice, can bring about great changes in productivity. One of the key principles is transparency. Everything hidden will soon be revealed, and people cannot thrive in an atmosphere of secrecy and covert agendas. So I decided to open the meeting with an exercise in transparency.

    "Name the thing that you are most afraid of." (When I did this exercise with a group of military leaders, it flopped. Believe me, "flopped" is an understatement. But this time, I really prayed for guidance, and it worked.)

    Interestingly enough, the person who most quickly embraced the concept of transparency was the CEO himself. Let's call him "Charles."

    Charles stood up, looked around the room at his team, and said, "The thing that terrifies me the most is failure." Every head snapped to attention. Could this be their fearless leader? The man nicknamed "Attila the Hun"? Was this same man admitting vulnerability? He paused for a moment, then said, "I know I've been really rough on you since I came on board, and I guess that is the reason why. I am afraid I will fail." His honesty opened up the group, and one by one, they each began to share their individual fears. By the time the exercise was complete, there were tears in more than a few eyes.

    The weekend continued, with people sharing their individual hopes and dreams as well. Bonding can only take place when the rough edges of each snowflake melt together, and that process was happening before my very eyes.

    In the final day's exercise, I said, "Right before Jesus left, he prayed to his Father thanking him for giving him his disciples. He said, 'They were your gifts, and you gave them to me.' I have always been struck by how, at the end of an incredible life, filled with awe-inspiring events, he saw the imperfect, sweaty, and still-not-quite-getting-it crew of his as God's gifts to him!" I continued, "I would like each one of you to tell the people seated at your table two things: first, how they have been a gift to this hospital, and, second, how and why they have been a gift to you."

    It just so happened that Sheila, the executive who had earlier warned me of her impending resignation, was seated at the CEO's table. To my surprise he got on his knees and said to her, "Sheila, you are God's gift to this hospital because you are ready to take on any task that comes, and do it with excellence and thoroughness. You have never shirked from responsibility, and you are an example to all of us of someone who truly cares for the patients." He paused, swallowed hard, then said, "And Sheila, you have been a gift to me because, no matter what was going on, or how upset I got with everyone, you always maintained a sense of peace and joy. As soon as you walked into any setting, I knew that light and fairness had come into the situation. I don't suppose I have ever told you this, but I considered you from the start as one of my champions, and I do to this day." By this time, Sheila was reaching for a Kleenex box, as was everyone else at the table.

    He then did the same with each leader there, and they were speechless in the wake of his words. We then ended the session with a prayer from the chaplain. There were hugs all around. As I was gathering up my things and finally heading out the door to catch my plane, Sheila came up to me and whispered simply "I'm staying."

    I turned to her and smiled, whispering back, "I know."


    By Laurie Beth Jones ​
     
    3 people like this.
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  2. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Cheer ,
    As usual , a great article.....so kind of u to share with us here......i liked it a lot!Thanks.
     
  3. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sudha,

    Nice to hear U liked it, Thanx:wave


     

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