Saturday, July 30, 2005

sparking pace

I'm part of a group of people organizing and planning the division team-building event this year. JC offered me the opportunity to work on it, and I was thrilled to accept!

It has been exciting to watch it come together. We've chosen to hold it at sparkspace , a really cool local conference space. The team has entrusted me to develop a 'World Cafe' - style conversation instead of talking-head presentations.

I'm trying to merge appreciative inquiry principles with The World Cafe methodology. While they are philosophically compatible, it's a bit of a technical challenge to bring the two together. Question development is the biggest challenge.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. - Voltaire

Monday, July 25, 2005

Second Guessing

This feeling of regret and self-doubt . . . it often follows a major decision or choice for me. I keep thinking, 'What will I be missing in Bath?'

Complexity theory as it applies to social systems? I doubt that it's a serious theoretical contender. It's incredibly heady, but so gimmicky. ('But what if I'm wrong?')

My head said Bath, and my heart said Belgium. I usually follow my head. This time I followed my heart. So it's group dynamics in Flemish with Danielle leading the way, and hanging with my best buds Pam and Cheryl in Leuven.

I hope my heart didn't lead me astray.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mixing Mortar and Metaphors

Clearly, Hilary appreciated Wellsping Team Memo B. She is offering it as an exemplar to the rest of the class.
Grade for the work: A+
This is a joy to read, well done!
We 'wicked' Divas conspired to create an outstanding team paper, and we succeeded. It feels pretty good to have pulled it off.

How did we do it?

Without Cary and Mike's invitation to study Wellspring, we would not have this fabulous location in which to build.

Cheryl's planning and initiative were critical for laying the process foundation.

Mika and Jennifer's systems analysis were key to developing the conceptual framework for hypotheses and content.

Darlene's social awareness and Herculean facilitiation skills were the all-important mortar, keeping Diva-sized egos well-fed and in check.

And Pam and Tina's partnership were critical for getting the first draft 'under roof.'
Not only did we produce a solid, well-built paper - we are constructing a solid, well-built team!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Beer and Broads

We stopped off at "Chase West" after work this afternoon. Amber Bock and other wimmin in technology . . . there's a certain camaraderie that comes from drinking with other female techies that I just can't get anywhere else!

Technology can be such a cold place. It's nice to have someone to share the ironies with.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Two Down . . . One to Go

I've finished two of the three major papers that were due. The last one on leadership is for Boyatzis. I want to hit this one out of the ballpark, but I fear I'm fresh out of home runs.

My coaching call with Miggy yesterday was satisfying. She caused me to question my role in life, which is always a good thing. At times my little life seems so insignificant, but she helped me see that I can be a 'visionary leader' for my family. And that's . . . well, that's hopeful.

It is amazing to me that I felt completely dead inside last year at this time. Studying OD has energized me in a way that nothing else has before.

I have no big insights for you today, just tiny moments of awareness.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

To Tina, With Love

One of the main reasons I'm working on a Masters degree is so that I can teach at the college level. I must keep this in mind, or I'm not going to be able to finish this quarter. This is my primary motivation.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

In Case You've Been Hiding in Diagon Alley . . .

Book 6 is here!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Followership Training

It dawned on me today that my family taught me to follow. Whether this was due to culture, religion, gender, or some combination of the three, I can't be sure. But strong followership is what was nurtured - not leadership.

Using What I've Got

Yesterday I wrote a release "playbook" for deployment weekend. The playbook consists of a series of tasks that each tester needs to complete to validate that the appropriate system functions are available and working as expected. It was a chance to use my highly honed technical communication skills, which have been lying fallow for quite some time.

It was so easy! It was such a relief! Instead of struggling through the day, I sailed through it with confidence and optimism. What a contrast with my usual daily experience in this job. Having been thrown into a role for which I am untrained and truly unsuited, I have been feeling (and looking) like a pathetic incompetent. It was so nice to remember that I do have skills that are valuable and valued in other arenas.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

(Cautiously) Optimistic

I'm feeling a little better today. The darkness seems to be lifting a little. In fact, it lifted right after I ate dinner last night.

I've been dieting, and now I'm thinking that maybe my low mood is related to low caloric intake. This is not an agreeable tradeoff!

Now that the clouds have parted a bit, I think I can come up with a way to fund school. If I borrow against my 401(k) plan, I might just have enough to take care of this quarter and the next. That leaves two more . . .

Monday, July 11, 2005

In and Out of Consciousness

Remember that book, Flowers for Algernon? The main character is mentally slow, and he undergoes some kind of experiment that over time turns him into a full-fledged genius. Alas, the experiment ends and he painfully reverts to his former state, after having glimpsed another kind of life.

That descent back into unconsciousness . . . that's what I fear most now that I think I've woken up. I don't want to go back down into the darkness . . .

I'm scared right now.

The Quitting Thing

That's what Cheryl calls my propensity to quit when the going gets tough. It's raised its ugly head again.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I am considering placing my real name on my blog. Considerations:

Would I feel less free to express my thoughts?
Is my virtual Self an accurate depiction of my 3D-Self?
Do I want my virtual-Self posts associated with my 3D-Self?
Might doing so hurt the people in my life?
Pretty Self-important, huh?

Round Robin

We participated in our coaching round robin session this morning. It seems so unnatural to consciously attempt to coach another person. I do this all the time in "real life," but when I'm "on stage," I get flustered and everything falls out of my head. Is this stage fright?

It is enlightening to see others personal balance sheets and analyses. We are so different, and yet we have so many silimarities! Lack of confidence is so central to my experience that I assume (incorrectly) that everyone else shares it. To discover someone whose confidence is a "distinctive strength" - wow, it blows my mind.

What can I learn from this exercise? Perhaps that we all have our distinctive strengths and our enduring dispositions. That we are all using those strengths and dispositions to navigate our worlds. That working together, we can co-create a world that links our strengths so that they resonate and contribute in ways we cannot even imagine when we are working alone.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Coming Due

Money is an issue, as always. I resent that I started this full-time graduate program with my company's consent and support, and that they essentially reneged by pulling the financial rug out from under me.

I have been shopping for an education loan or home equity line of credit. I keep telling myself that it will be worth it, that I am not being selfish by borrowing against the future of my family. I am the financial future of my family, in a sense, so it's a good investment, right?

But each time I stop short of actually applying for the loan. What do I hope to gain by this vacillation? Time? Is the money for school going to magically appear at the last minute without any effort on my part? Not likely. Meanwhile, the clock on tuition late charges is ticking away.

Too Much To Tell

There has been lots of activity around my program during the last week or so.

The second practice coaching session took place.
The Divas delivered a draft.
I approached Joe about doing an OD project for our team.
The group coaching session with Miggy is tomorrow.

It all feels more or less right, but I feel burned out.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I Cried Today

I tried not to cry. I tried not to think about the people on that bus. I tried to focus on the good things in my life.

But I had to cry a little.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Diva Tossed Salad

We six are assembling a masterpiece.

We are American and Japanese.
We are 50 and 30.
We are PC and Mac.
We are day and night.

I hope we have the ingredients for an exquisite tossed salad - not chicken ala king.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Full Day of Freedom

I'm going to spend 3 hours on the personal balance sheet today. Then I'm going to take a break to watch the fireworks on Animal Crossingwith the kids. Then, I'm going to spend 3 hours on the Emergent Systems paper for Eric.

At least, that's the plan.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Project Progress

During the last residency we were introduced to our thesis project. Thesis project, meet graduate student. Graduate student, meet thesis project.

Last week I initiated contact with a potential project sponsor in the kids' school district. The potential project sponsor was open to partnering with me, but was not enthusiastic about the first project I described. She was more receptive to the second project I described. However, on hearing her description of it, it did not sound like what I was thinking about doing.

In other words, this first contact was a bit disheartening. I'm not sure if I wasn't clear, or if she wasn't listening closely.

We have scheduled a lunch later this month to discuss the possiblities further. Overall, though, I'm thinking I had better come up with some other ideas, and fast.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Avoiding the Inevitable

I MUST write this paper . . . there is no acceptable alternative!

So, Excelsior! (Onward, upward, ever . . .)