Wednesday, October 1, 2014


     I'm sitting in a meeting. About half of us are new staff, the rest of the people in attendance are long-termers or "lifers, the "rocks" of the organization. Actually, they ARE rocks as in imposing, towering "peaks" built up by years of experience and the solid blocking of new ideas. Two are "craggy" with stony faces and hard hearts. One or two are volcanic and might erupt at the slightest provocation - one for the positive, the other for the negative.  Each may signal a potential earthquake with tremors as a control strategy. The landscape surrounding where we new comers sit, like flat-landers due to our lack of knowledge about the "terrain" is in the valley downhill from an alliance of four people in current or former leadership positions who act just like a mountain range. We new employees who have tried to climb their solid positions find they are uniformly negative and consistently vote together so we have given them a name that sound like Native Peoples' name - "Never Summer Range" because they are cold, frigid, glacial and foreboding.
     So, that is the terrain when you can see it. Right now, I can’t see it.

     I have a new proposal for the group, this means I have to go climbing over these craggy peaks but I'm not enthusiastic about climbing in the rain.
     If emotions are like the weather, the storm clouds have formed on the Mountain Range and other peaks are "raining on my parade". All the peaks in disagreement about the proposal and are shrouded in clouds. Why? Nothing is clear. The big clouds have blocked out the sun and filled the room with grey mist. You can't even see the peaks to know what the objection truly is.
     I hear rumble of thunder but can't tell from which direction. I see a flash of lightening. And then a wind begins to blow blustery rattling the windows and confidence of myself and my team.
     I raise my hand and say, "I'm having trouble understanding what the REAL issues are. Can someone help me out?”

     Clouds are not the landscape and you should not get lost in the emotion of weather when you’re climbing – you can get hurt. Then again, lightning can be deadly.
     I want the clouds to differentiate. Some grow thinner, some disappear, some get really big and thicken.
That way we will know what we're dealing with. Let the mountains appear. Let the paths become visible. Find the way out of the canyon.
     The Open Ended Questions call forth light and warmth. Those will help thin the clouds.
     Sometimes you just need to sit back and watch them swirl around. But, you’d better get off the summit before noon – there is lightning in the afternoon.

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved.

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