Thursday, June 30, 2005

S l o w P r o g r e s s

I'm finally breaking the logjam on assignments!

Wrote almost a page and a half of text for Eric's Emergent System Analysis. Miss Kim unexpectedly helped out by creating an org chart for me. Thank you, KK!

Wrote (and sent) a scouting email for my thesis project to the TAG coordinator at the kids' school. JP proofread and improved it with a copyedit. Thank you, JP!
Conducting the second coaching session. I broke down and decided to order lunch in . . . I'm a slow learner.
I'm trying to find the right verb for coaching. Conducting seems too directive. Facilitating might be better, but it implies more than one participant, doesn't it? Leading, maybe? Hosting? I want to invoke the sense of a invitation to a shared, co-created space. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Reflections on Round One

While not a complete disaster, my first attempt at coaching personal vision felt like getting beat up in a boxing ring. My client, although she is a close personal friend, didn't hold back any punches, and I took it on the chin!

Lessons Learned:

Before attempting to coach someone on personal vision . . . ensure that the person desires some change in her life. There is no sense in coaching someone who is completely happy with everything in her life.

Reserve exclusive time in a quiet setting for the coaching session. Trying to cram lunch and a coaching session into the same space and time puts both activities on a collision course. They are mutually exclusive events. Choose one or the other.

I've scheduled the second 'bout' with an enlightened colleague in a quiet conference room.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Lying Awake

My quiet little blog haven doesn't feel peaceful to me anymore. I'm tossing and turning over the initiative. I may have to split the blog into two pieces . . . commercial and non-commercial.

Multiple Choice Quiz

A guy named Cameron at MIT is working on his PhD, and in the spirit of intellectual inquiry and academic solidarity I took his weblog survey yesterday. That's why I'm displaying the 'Bell Curve' icon on the blog today.

Cameron's computer scanned my blog and presented me with five random links. Then he asked me what purpose the links served. Were they links to other blogs? If so, were they blogs of friends or acquaintances? Why did I provide that link - for fun/amusement or knowledge/information?

(Note to Cameron: For an intellectual, knowledge/information = fun/amusement!)

Cameron also wanted to know about my Instant Messenger habits. He presented me with a list of IM clients, but the client I use all day long at work (Sametime) was not listed. And there was no 'other' checkbox. So Cameron missed data on the 200+ people on my Sametime 'buddy list' and how often I write to them and about what. I don't know what the focus of Cameron's thesis is, but this is potentially a big hole in his data.

Lastly, Cameron's survey neglected to gather qualitative data. I would have written a blogging story for him, or at least a few sentences, if he had asked. But he didn't. Before I started my program, I never would have noticed these things.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Full Disclosure

You should know: I signed up as an Associate today.

If you click the name of a book that I mention in this blog, you'll find yourself linking to a page on that sells that book. Embedded in the link is a 'snitch' that lets Amazon know that I referred you . . . and if you buy that book, I get a small cut of the proceeds.

My younger, non-commercial, former Deadhead Self argued against it. But my mature, practical, and forward-thinking Self won the argument.

As described in The Alchemy of Growth, I see this as a first strategic step in the staircase that leads eventually to Self-employment and intellectual independence. It's a third horizon idea!

I hope you'll understand.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Today, during what I thought was a casual conversation, a young mother I am just getting to know mentioned her husband's death from leukemia a few years ago.

It felt like I had been hit full force in the chest by a fastball. My heart stopped, and then restarted, beating wildly. I lost my breath.

I think it was the contrast that caught me by surprise: her matter-of-fact acceptance of serious illness and death as a part of life.

Or maybe it was her openness. So often at work we only share that which we know is external, neat, and acceptable. Real life (and death) can be so messy. She generously opened her heart for a moment, and allowed me to glimpse what is most real for her.


I had been reading Galbraith's Designing Organizations for a week. At least, that was what I was telling myself. But after a full week of "reading" it, I realized I was stalled. No forward progress whatsoever.

On Millie's recommendation, I started Morgan's Images of Organization last night. Whoa! I'm back in the race.

One Step Forward

The company is pushing an update out to my workstation this morning. Thirty minutes into the day, I still don't have access to my email, calendar or other desktop applications. I shouldn't complain - it's rather peaceful and it gives me a chance to sip my coffee and ponder the price of progress.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Yesterday, with the intent of making my client more comfortable, I denied my green nature. I feel that I betrayed the planet in some fundamental way - not to mention myself.

I have a lot of time to ponder my transgression today. It's the Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A-O Way to Go, Ohio

I drove around Akron today before the Diva client interviews. It's a sad little town - rundown and ramshackle. It's hard to believe that a business of any significant size is viable there.

On the other hand, I had a nice iced mocha at Cafe Momus, a sweet little coffeehouse and "Penny University."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Growth Engine

In The Innovator's Solution, authors Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor propose a theory for creating an engine of growth in corporations. While unproven, the theory makes a lot of sense to me. What doesn't make a lot of sense is why we need unlimited, unending growth. I will say that the growth they propose is what they call "disruptive" growth. They describe a coporation's "core business" as having a lifecycle that naturally declines over time. To continually re-energize and "grow" the corporation, the corporation must create (or buy) these new, disruptive innovations. Eventually, the disruptive innovations become the core business. So I think that the growth they are discussing is, in a sense, more "organic" and sustainable than the kind of market-share-and-domination growth that has been the model in the past.

One worry: One of the premises of their theory sets the innovation up to compete against "non-consumption." In other words, businesses try to entice consumption of their product out of non-consumers, as opposed to consumers of their competitors' products.

Do we really want to encourage more consumption? That's good business, right? But is it good for people and the planet? I'm thinking the triple bottom line isn't being served very well here. But any tool can be used ethically or unethically, so it isn't the tool that is the problem. It's the way we use it and measure its results.

What do you think? Is constant growth through innovations a viable strategy for business and society as a whole?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bless Your Heart!

One of the online booksellers features "statistically improbable phrases" (SIPs) that appear in any given book. I think this feature is intended to help a reader figure out if the book addresses a topic of interest in any depth.

In any case, over the last couple of weeks I've been getting the statistically improbably phrase, "Well, bless your heart!" A lot. From wildly different people in a broad range of situations.

What do people mean when they say this? It sounds patronizing to me, as if they believe I'm naive or stupid. Translation: "You poor deluded fool!"

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Baby Steps

I walked for six minutes yesterday. It ain't much, but it's 100% more than I walked the day before!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Economy Class

The prospect of long hours spent sitting in coach during the trip to Europe in December has forced me to seriously consider slimming down a little. It couldn't hurt to drop 20 or 30 pounds, and I know it would help me feel healthier overall.

The (healthier) journey to Belgium begins today. . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Reality Check

For so long now I have been working and studying with well educated and incredibly talented professionals. I admire them and in some sense put them on a pedestal - I feel so lucky to be associated with and learning from them. Constant contact with these remarkable people has often made me feel very small and unworthy by comparison.

Lately I have placed myself in a new situation. In this new place, I am growing to understand that I have a lot to offer and share with others, too. It's a good feeling!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Serendipity or Synchronicity?

Early last week, the founder of the Columbus Green Building Forum called me. She was looking for assistance in bringing Bill McDonough to Columbus in the fall. Friday afternoon, a colleague invited me to celebrate his 40th birthday with a drink at Abuelo's after work. There I met his wife, who turns out to be an architect who studied under McDonough at the University of Virginia.

Purely coincidence? I won't pretend to know how the two facts are related, but it seems like more than coincidence to me...

n : good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries

n : Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Last Day of School!

Thanks, CJ!

CJ the bus driver is retiring this year, so Sam created this little card for him.

We are so grateful for all the caring bus drivers, administrators, teachers, aides, substitutes, student teachers, support staff, and on and on and on who watch over our children every day. Thank you for all you do. Talk about customer facing! You have some of the toughest customers in the world - parents.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Stay in the Soup

During the last residency, Ron told us:

It’s at this time in the program that the learning and the experience come together. I’m encouraging you to stay in the soup. Stay in the soup if at all possible.
Ron, the learning and the experience are coming together for me. I'm staying in the soup.

There is a dance between self interest and the need to belong. Neither goes away; they’re always there.
Ron, I'm dancing as fast as I can.
In this field . . . we don’t want to simply recognize difference, we want to work with it. What do I do with the difference? What do I do that makes the difference an asset as opposed to a block? How do I make my reflection into multiple reflections? Is there any meaning that comes out of that that enhances us?
Ron, I'm working with the difference. It's the hardest work I've ever done, but the most satisfying and exhilarating, as well.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Yellow Crochet Dress

When I was nine, my Grandma crocheted a sleeveless yellow-and-white-striped dress for me for Easter. I told her I wouldn't wear it because it was itchy. Not a problem for my seamstress grandmother! She and my mother put their heads together and came up with a fix - they lined the dress with an itchy white polyester organza.

What I didn't tell Grandma was that I hated that dress. I simply could not stand the weight of it, the crinkly feel and sound of the organza lining, and the rough edges of the crocheted armholes. There was probably nothing wrong with that dress, but it just wasn't me!

Grandma and Mom reasoned with me. They begged me. But I never would wear that dress. I was incredibly relieved when my next growth spurt made wearing it moot.

Today I tried on a new opportunity. After a few minutes, I could tell. There probably isn't anything wrong with that opportunity - it just isn't me.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Wheel Is Turning

On Wednesday night of the May residency, a group of us went to the Barking Spider after class to continue developing our skills in group dynamics through experiential learning. (In other words, we listened to live music, drank mass quantities, and talked.)

During the first and second quarters, MaidintheSouth and I had spent a lot of time and energy 'seeding' the program's collaborative web site (iCohere). While we did this out of love and service, we expected that others would recognize the participatory model and join the fray - this did not happen to my satisfaction. As I griped about the low level of participation, my new friends helped me see that sometimes leadership is like that. You take the lead and hope that others will follow. Sometimes they follow later. Sometimes they never follow. But that doesn't mean you stop leading.

As Divining Millie later said so eloquently to Fast Freddie, "That was an aha! moment for Deedee."

Since that night, I have regularly been venturing far out of my comfort zone in exercising my leadership muscles. Sometimes this has made me feel incredibly vulnerable. While I seem to be developing a level of tolerance for this vulnerability, this last week contained some times that were much more difficult than any I've experienced before. I came through it alive, but I wonder if this kind of work is worth the pain. It certainly didn't feel that way by COB Friday.

Foshabelieves that experiencing affect won't kill you . . . in fact, that fully experiencing affect is the only thing that enables us to be completely functional human beings. I am desperately trying to buy into this idea, but my down-to-earth, Midwestern, first-generation values are being sorely tested.

Most surprising was that it came about for no real good reason that I can see. But I'm still trying to suss that out a little. More to come on this topic when I have processed it more fully.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

About Three Hours

That's how long I spent this morning organizing my school work for this quarter. Not doing the work--just organizing it. I'm very concerned about my ability to complete everything that has been assigned on time and to my standards.

Part of what I'm getting from this program is planning skills. But I think I'm in over my head this quarter.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Foot Soldier in the Culture War

This phrase sprang into my mind a few weeks ago. At first I liked the sound of it, and considered making it the tagline for this blog. Within moments, though, I reconsidered the war imagery and decided against it. But it's still bouncing around in my head! How would you reword it to express the same sense, only in softer, more peace-full language?

Our words create our worlds. - David Cooperrider

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


360 Minus 72

Two people have dropped out of my Circles group. The first one was a surprise, but not a shock. The second one was not a surprise, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's something I did or said. . . or didn't do or say?

Relative Importance

Today is Kindergarten Bubble Day. Sam asked me to come. I have meetings scheduled pretty much back-to-back all day, but I'll probably sneak out this morning for a few hours to join him. No one will remember past tomorrow whether I attended the last 'status' meeting. But Sam will remember whether Mom was at Bubble Day for the rest of his life.