Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Speed of Imagination, Part II

Or, how to forget that your Household Manager just did a #2.

I'll never forget my first exposure to Appreciate Inquiry from a good friend and mentor, an Estate Manager of the highest stature and respect in our industry, who personally taught me one of the most important lessons for career success:  to seek out and capitalize on the best in others. "Jim, forget that the kid s**ts his pants," he'd counsel, drawing upon his own lessons when he'd been at my stage and yet, now and obviously, having moved far beyond, "and look at what this worker can DO, and how you can help him to do more of THAT." 

He, in turn, had learned about this gem from someone just as seasoned in human resource management, who, in turn, had probably learned it from their own wise mentor. Many years later, while studying Organizational Behavior at University of San Francisco, I was reintroduced to this notion, yet again, known affectionately in academic circles as The Speed of Imagination, a speed which is always just at the right pace, for any size or shape of organization, including domestically staffed residences.

This kid knows how to imagine what goes right!
Yet, why do we seem to prefer instead to revel, to even take pleasure in only finding and focusing on the mistakes of others? To quickly and effectively strike them down, before they've even had a chance to stand up? To trip them as they're heading toward the finish line of their own personal best, simply because we can? 

Guilty as charged, I thought today, as I gleefully pointed out to a colleague who'd sent me a domestic industry interview championing the cause of grammatically correct writings, which had contained an astonishingly large incorrect use of language, itself.  Well, there!... I so gleefully reported back, and "they, 'to', got it wrong!" I thought... and worse, in an article talking about getting it all just right! My self-righteous euphoria lasting only a few sweet moments, I quickly realized I'd been (t)rotting down the wrong path and had to stop, and sooner rather than too later.  Certainly, I had been right, yet who had become the better? Myself, for having been the one who threw the rock at the thrower? My colleague, who'd passed along the article to me? The author, whose credibility as a career writer could now be held in question based on one event? When traveling at the speed required for real interpersonal and professional success, the answer can only become: none of the above.

Appreciate Inquiry has never been for the faint of heart. There's no shortcuts and no easy formula to relax into, no latest must-attend afternoon seminar, nor quick read book to tuck away and catch up with on your next fifteen minute afternoon break. The process takes nothing short of hard work and hard determination to not focus on what people do wrong, yet to focus on and develop instead what they can do right. The process takes compassion, something which should not be the sole purview of late shift caregivers. The process takes courage, for when we step out of what others do wrong and into what they can right, we equally expose our own embarrassing areas, those often crying out for our own improvement. 

And, the process takes strong social ethics, because helping others along this journey we call life is simply the right thing for human beings to be doing.

The real question for domestic staff citizens becomes, then, not how do we get through
A loser who can only jump 6 feet? Or a team
member who can leap between tall mountains?
Which is your perspective - and how does it 
affect those around you... and YOU?
our day by excluding others because of some minor mistake or perceived impropriety, whether we be domestic agencies, vendors, managers, or maids; yet how do we, in whatever roles we find ourselves during this all too brief lifetime, seek out the best in others and promote them to their own - and ours - brightest light? 

To forget, for just one shining moment, about the misplaced wine glass, the resume gap, the mismatched sock, or the improper apostrophe, so that we may get up to speed where our lives are improved, as well as others.

To move into our future as a respected and real profession, we must learn to first rise above our own shortcomings and judgmental selves and to, as my mentor was fond of saying, to forget that the kid shits his pants and become witness to our own magical speed of imagination. 

The kid in all of us can surely imagine it unfolding at this speed... 

...Can you?