As the last month of the calendar year finally arrives and we collectively celebrate the end of one year and the start of a new year, Raymond Carver’s question is so pertinent. As you look over the year that has been, ask yourself: “Was it the year that should have been?” In other words, when you go back to your wish list of dreams on 1 January of this year, “did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?” It is a wonderful question and turns our focus to purposeful self-reflection and to personal and professional transformation.
Posts by David Ivers:
A lot of discussion happens when the question of Culture comes up. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, we all claim to live within a ‘culture’ and that must mean that we, therefore, understand what culture is and how it works. This is similar to the notion that most people have visited a hospital, either to see a loved one or due to personal illness or injury and thus we all know how hospitals work, don’t we? The same is true of schools.
In the United States, Halloween is a significant celebration. Derived, at least in part, from the ‘Feast of All Hallows (All Saints)’ which falls on November 1 each year, the quote from Lolly Daskal is pertinent. The Saints all had one thing in common, they learned how to develop an interior life that allowed them to ‘lead from within’.
In the United States of America, September 17, 1787 is etched in the memory of its citizens as the day that 38 delegates signed a new ‘Constitution’ that would bring into existence the United States of America with a central, federal government. Through the echoes of history, such an event stands as a great achievement and the words of Stephen. R. Covey ring true. If the founding fathers were not focused, consciously committed to the task of creating a new ‘Constitution’, they would have, according to Covey, been committed to something else less important and thus history may well have taken a different course.
Let us turn now to the question, how much are you worth to your Government agency? Assuming the job you do has been well designed and that you interact with members of the public on a regular basis (thus have a professional relationship with the public), or that you support those that do, then you are immensely valuable to your Government agency.
July in the United States of America is best thought of as the month in which Independence Day is celebrated. Independence for the United States of America was born out of conflict. By its very nature, that conflict was won and independence declared because of a strategy based on solid information and knowledge of the area in which the conflict was being fought and an equally good working knowledge of the capacity and capabilities of the soldiers involved. However, George Washington would not have proven himself to be the great military leader and indeed the great President of the United States that he was, if he were not also ‘attuned’ to the culture within the military he led and as President, within the newly formed union of the United States of America.
It makes sense that when an organization such as a Government agency is looking to create a ‘wonderful’ workplace, it needs more than just a ‘political’ restructure to make it happen. Some may even suggest that the notion of a Government agency being the most ‘wonderful’ place on earth to work, is the antithesis of the reality of working in a Government organization.
Often people will work and work, then see others being promoted over them. They ask themselves: what have they got that I haven’t? Their typical solution – obviously I have to work harder! As a result, they buy into a dangerous narrative in which work dominates at the expense of everything else in life. The paradox, of course, is that the leaders who made the decision about your promotion have probably picked up on that.
Should you ever visit Australia, a trip to Australia’s island state of Tasmania is a must. On the Tasman Peninsula, near the township of Eaglehawk Nest, is a rare geological formation known as the ‘Tessellated Pavement’. This is a compressed rock formation that over millions of years has been eroded into what seems like tiles that have been laid by the sea. You can read more about this at Tasmania National Parks.
Imagine giving such a response to your boss when they offer you a promotion or to take the lead on a strategically significant project for your Government agency. Imagine saying “sure, I’ll get onto that as soon as I’ve had a vacation with my family!” Too often we fear that such a statement will lead to such a career changing offer going towards someone else. We fear that it sends the wrong message! Does it though? The simple answer is that it does not necessarily have to be sending a negative message and creative leaders most likely know this!