Farewell Grasshopper.

4 06 2009

I blogged a long time ago a little of why this blog site is so called. The sad news today is that the actor David Carradine who played Grasshopper is dead. Of course I didn’t know him personally and I appreciate that people die every day but this man’s death has left me with a little sadness.

And so I wondered what to write today prompted by the death of this man. Perhaps the simplest thing is to pose the question that Master Po might ask, “So Grasshopper, you are older now. What have you learnt?”


Pfrancing- how to deal with dysfunctional teams

18 02 2009

Regular readers will know that I (believe I) work in a severely dysfunctional unit. I have blogged before about the management approach to this. Those who have insight and QI type knowledge will of course know that

a) the ostrich never sticks it head in the sand as a coping strategy
b) Pfrancing is not a described management technique.

The truth is that an ostrich, when threatened, will simply run away. At at 155kg, with legs that can bend metal with a kick, the average ostritch in “flight” can probably average 6o km per hour.

Unfortunately, I think Pfrancing should become a recognised management technique and rather than the proverbial head in the sand, Pfrancing describes the real exit strategy of the ostrich.

The leadership fable ” The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick M. Lencioni is is an interesting read and I won’t spoil the ending for you. The ultimate sadness for me (not the divorce of the heroine, don’t worry) is that it is clear that the impetus and authority to managing and overcoming the dysfunctions of a team must come from external sources. A leadership role has to be taken by a person of both influence and authority for the group such that appropriate strategies can be worked through.

There is no suggestion that this will be easy, nor achieved in a short term but, if there is value placed on the team and its ultimate survival rather than decay into the mire of dysfunctionality, that strategy must be undertaken.

Our experience is that it was suggested that we might like to “talk things out”. The response was a whole set of preconditions and no date was agreed. That was over three months ago.

That’s Pfrancing for you though.

Have a listen to the man himself!













(I’m sorry this sounds so bitter, but expressing it certainly helps me cope.)

The value of blogging and reading blogs; more than just a footprint in the garden

19 01 2009

The hit count for this blog has now passed 1000.

Thank you for your interest and thank you particularly to the commenters:

  • B, gnomechompski, anne marie cunningham, nathan, sue massey, marco, graeme, ubertech, ken long, strategicseneinc and stuart

Reviewing the various entries I felt it appropriate to express my feelings on why I believe blogging is NOT pointless.

I’m currently undertaking a part-time degree in Clinical Leadership. The value of the course is not simply in the lectures but the more open, tutorial type approach that we engage in with our tutors and each other. This is augmented by online discussion although, as a group, I don’t think we have fully bought into that idea.

This discursive approach to learning is in stark contrast to my original training ( four arts) where facts are transmitted in a more didactic and Hypocratic (sic) manner as one would expect. The value of interrogation of concepts by debate cannot be underestimated. It allows for correction but also solidification in expression.

Everyone has experience of management and, for my Action Learning, I have to journal my pre-understanding of the situation whether that be true, bad or influenced by concepts such as the ladder of inference. It is to be hoped that as time moves on my understanding will deepen and perhaps some negativity may be replaced by more positive stories.

The truth hurts sometimes but so does perception of the truth. We could debate whether the two are in fact the same but therein lies the value of recording pre-understanding so that my journey into Clinical Leadership is documented with honesty and may be interpreted appropriately. There is no doubt that the hit counter prompts me to continue writing. I am sure if this had steadfastly remained evidence of only my Dad reading the blog on a daily basis (thanks Dad) that I would have given up. There is encouragement in this readership but as gnomechompski pointed out the value of the blog is not about seeking approval.

Finally there is value in the discipline of writing. This cannot be over-estimated. So many thoughts prosper without exposure to fuller expression. They may germinate in the mind and develop into full grown plants nurtured by fleeting showers of mis-construed impressions in the fertile soil of isolation. The problem is that such plants are frequently weeds and choke the shoots of value and of clear thinking. Once these weeds are actually exposed to the gardening of preparation, writing and discussion they might be seen for what they are and either wither in the glare or are plucked by the insightful gardener and tossed onto the compost. Of course it is true that this process happens in open discussion, over coffee, in pubs and anywhere like minds gather and share ideas. My only question to you would be, do you meet and discuss such thoughts with like minds often or only in the quiet garden of your mind?

Thanks for coming by, please leave more than just the footprint of passage. Make a comment, ask a question, join the debate. It adds so much.


Is blogging pointless?

1 01 2009

family photoThis photo is currently hot on the blogsphere. Most of the comments are less than complimentary and display the usual lack of tact and understanding.

One of the thoughts I have been having recently is about the value of blogging and specifically, this blog.

Currently there have been nearly 500 hits. Which is gratifying. I wonder what people, you the reader, actually think of this blog and its value.

What value is there in me sharing my thoughts, offering ideas, questioning concepts and generally taking up bandwidth? Does it have a purpose and is it worthwhile for my benefit solely or for anyone beyond me?

In short, is it like the photograph, which to the uninitiated and uninvolved simply looks like five featureless women or is there something personal, something of value, something specific that it gives beyond simply its existence.

I’d really like to hear your thoughts. And not just on the photo!

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