A Pair Of Ruby Slippers

July 14, 2007

Il a Dit “Non!”

Filed under: MACMP — author @ 2:44 pm

oztrain.jpgIt was all going swimmingly then the new boss put the kyboshes on it by saying “non” to us leaving the building for our next meeting. This is a shame as this was one of the key issues we identified during our AI and had team consensus. So what I did was storm straight up to his office, stamp my feet, slam my fist on his desk and demand that he listen to our reasons and insist that we hold our flaming meetings wherever we jolly well want to hold them…. OK no I didn’t, I moaned a bit and chatted it over with the team. The general consensus was that as he is new he doesn’t yet understand our company’s culture and is trying to make his mark (he seems to be saying “non” a lot at the moment). But a girl can only take so much, the next meeting is a 2 dayer and if he so much as pokes his nose in I will be up to his office with units 2 and 3 in hand to have a civilised chat about our well reasoned arguments for a bit of time out.


When I undertook the project, it was totally sanctioned by the then current bosses, The VP who says “non” is new, had he been in place before I started maybe this would have affected what I chose to study or at least how I chose to study it. Easy to say with hind sight but certainly a point to note for any future work. Actually Mr Glinda has just been promoted too so it could indeed be back to the drawing board, I will have to see who replaces him or if he is replaced before assessing the impact.


I don’t think all is lost however, what having conducted the AI has given me is the support to fight my corner. The research has armed me with the back up evidence I need to feel confident (get me) to speak to the boss if I have to, and not just to give him a jolly good listening to either.


I was asked in the forum if I thought that we would let the boss upset the team meeting again or if we were a little more robust as a result of the AI. Having pondered on this I think the answer is that we are now more aware that we need to be more careful with the scheduling of agenda items and visitors but that ultimately it is difficult to tell the boss to bugger off and stop disrupting the proceedings. Difficult but not impossible, I would hope that we would employ a more complete dialogue with him before future meetings, so that if he insists on coming he knows what to expect and so do we. This returns to my point above about getting his buy in before starting the AI.


Another question that has arisen concerning my AI was” were my methods of data collection appropriate”? A few people have asked me this and I have changed my mind a few times as to what the answer is. I have arrived at the decision that AI incorporating interviews was a really useful way for us to go. Had I taken a more ethnographic approach as some suggested, which would have been less obtrusive, I don’t think it would have achieved so much. Doing the research overtly had a few fringe benefits over and above the AI change outcomes themselves too:


  • I spent time chatting to each team member, this is something that has helped my communications with them especially the newer members that I didn’t know quite so well. I didn’t realise my communications needed to be improved before I did the research.
  • The team feel that they have had their say and that they can help to shape decisions that concern them – we recently ran a session on this in the follow up meeting.
  • They (and maybe more importantly I) see that I can have an affect on the whole team


I do acknowledge that the data collection wasn’t neutral but I am not sure that this is necessarily a problem and could it ever really be neutral? Additionally back to my postmodernist friends, why should it be that it being neutral or even that someone else’s view would be any better than mine anyway? I do think I missed a trick when I didn’t pay close attention (or maybe any attention) to people’s motives for what they wanted for the team meeting. My mistake here was to just assume they were honourable. Whilst I may have got away with it this time, it is certainly something I will bear in mind for future studies.


I am a bit disappointed that I haven’t managed to make the ripple effect of the project move far out of our team. I think this has been for a few reasons, obviously my lousy attention span and lack of confidence are well documented, but also there were a few other external factors such as the change in key staff roles and the fact that the subject I concentrated on within communication is perhaps too general? That all said, I think this is one for my future plan. Mr Glinda has also said that he would like to speak with the Learning and Development Team about what we did and that he intends to take some of what we have learnt with him to his next role if applicable.


I have also been asked a few questions about the blog we set up. Currently it is still not really being used, but no one wants me to delete it. I am hoping that this is because they are coming round to the idea of using it. I have heard team members proudly telling other people that we have a team blog (whilst I seethe quietly “why don’t you use it then?” under my breath) which is interesting. They like to be seen to be acquainted with emergent developments but not necessarily actually use them. However perhaps the idea was right but the vehicle wrong? Being in an eBusiness Team gives us a great excuse to use evolving technologies and applications. There is Second Life, Habbo and free collaboration tools available on the net for example and recently a few of us have got into Face Book, perhaps that could be more useful to team communications? I would have to convince the CCE Web Police to let it be accessed at work which could be tricky, but I have done it before so there is hope. A positive here is that it has made me start to look at these communication tools more carefully and consider their application internally and also externally for our websites. We have since employed one www.box.net to share some best practice between us and our Australian counterparts.


Something that constantly amuses me is the amount to which my studies have had an effect on my team mates and those in Munchkin Land that I discuss it with. I touched on this in my previous unit. But with the AI unit the self and team reflection continued, perhaps we did it anyway and I just didn’t notice, but I think not. I bear the brunt of it as I am seen as fair game seeing as it is me doing the course (I basically agree and my hide is getting tougher). So I am subject to fairly regular “honest and open” reflections on my behaviour that I don’t ask for. Just this week I have been accused of being “f*cking neurotic” (by a someone widely regarded as a bit of a nutter himself) of managing down my expectations so that I never disappoint myself too much (a short version of a long diatribe) and of having a mid life crisis (how rude) in public. I was saved by Scarecrow who called me a visionary in the forum and my Mum who said she was proud of me. Whether true or not, I suspect most, if not all of these conversations would not have happened if it weren’t for the course and these units tied in with self and wider reflection. However, I am left reflecting on whether all this reflection is making me more or less “f*cking neurotic”.


I do feel I am getting braver, the AI forced me to talk to the whole team and I have learnt that the next time I do it I need to take it to a wider audience and feel pretty comfortable with that. I don’t think I would have been a few months ago. I have re read my first post (https://apairofrubyslippers.wordpress.com/2006/10/03/dandy-lion/) about what I wanted to achieve by doing this course and although there is still some way to go I honestly feel like I am going in the right direction. I am not sure it will be at Munchkin Land, I have dipped my toe in other waters recently but so far have not been entirely convinced to move. At least now though, I feel I can.


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