Tony Dye

Tony Dye

MAKING IT EASIER TO DO
THE RIGHT THINGS

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LaSD, Chapter 10

Chapter 10. Questions

Last chapter ended with Kate and Tom walking together to the follow-up meeting with Bud, and Kate being very aware of Tom and his background. Tom’s question of what to do when it’s impossible to get out of the box with someone. He was thinking of his wife, Laura, but hadn’t said that out loud.

Page 63.

Somehow I’m surprised that there’s no mention of shaking hands, or of Bud giving Kate a hug, or any such. Somehow, I expect that there is a proper closeness between these two.

End of paragraph just above middle of the page

[Bud] “We’re a little behind.”

TD> Although this meeting is almost all surprise to Tom, it seems well orchestrated. Like Bud (and now Kate) already knew every question to expect and how to answer. So, somehow, Tom isn’t fitting their pattern. Or maybe that’s not it at all.

TD> Kate wants everyone closer to the whiteboard.

Lower part of the page

Kate and Bud bantering about who does the meeting best. “… obviously enjoying the friendly banter.”

Continuing on to page 64

Bud asking Tom to review [for Kate] what’s been covered so far.

TD> That would be pretty high pressure!

Middle of the page

[still Tom’s summary] “… success in an organization is a function of whether we’re in the box or not, and that our influence as leaders depends on the same thing.”

[Kate’s response] “I can’t tell you how much I believe that.”

TD> This chapter ends too soon! Coming up (hopefully) how we get in the box. Hopefully that also gives us a clue as to how to NOT get into it!

TD> I have a great side-story that seems to relate to all this. We had a “very bad thing” (highly technical term :) happen at one of our client churches. Coincidentally, I just happened to have been on site at the time. And further coincidentally, I’d just moved a network connection. Uh huh… all just “coincidence.” Their entire network locked up. Excuses: there was an undocumented link to this part of the network and I’d just created a loop. It took the whole network down! Ouch! It only took a few seconds to know what had happened, and how to repair it, but there was a locked closet that slowed down the process. Fortunately, it was lunch time and only a few people were really impacted, but still, a very bad thing. Resolved, everyone notified, I was embarrassed a little, but nobody died, life went on. However, a little later I got an email from the staff guy we mostly work for. He was actually out of the office for the day, but he had an email alert and a made some calls, or otherwise learned of the issue (which is actually good) but he had an extremely uncharacteristic response. I received an email with a subject of “What the !#*$#)” (literal, I didn’t do the character substitutions) He wanted to know why I had taken the network down during office hours without advanced warning. We quickly talked, and all was OK. End of story. But no, it wasn’t.

A few hours later, I received a very warm email apology. Really nice! The thing is, I don’t think he was inappropriate in the first email. As I said, a really bad thing happened, and I caused it. He had a right to be upset! From our LaSD reading, the way he handled it was probably wrong. He was in the box when he sent the first email. And he was WAY out of the box when he sent the second one. I saw him face-to-face over the weekend. It was a good conversation. Disaster, in-the-box, out-of-the-box, apology, and then a great conversation. Our relationship improved nicely as a net result. So… maybe that terribly bad thing was a good thing? (but I don’t want to ever repeat it!)

Chapter Summary: A review of  what Tom has learned so far. I’d hate to be put on the spot like that! We all have the problem of self-deception. We all are in the box (sometimes), even if it’s still not perfectly clear what that means. Tom’s viewpoint, which I get, is that sometimes someone else can put you in the box. Not a very stoic response.

Things I want to remember from this chapter:

  • An entire organization’s success hinges on how the leaders (and everyone?) function — in or out of the box. That’s a really strong statement. Seems I’ve seen successful organizations where there was a lot of “in the box” functioning. Hmmm….

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