Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A boss' toolbox & personal mission statement 'fatherhood'

Last year I took Covey’s course '7 habits of highly effective people'. One of the things that had to be done was '360-degree feedback'. I had to fill in a list of questions. The same questions had to be answered (in my case) by a few of my staff, my boss and my wife. As predicted my self-image differs partly from the “others”. No big differences. No real surprises. Nice to have a mirror once in a while! I wrote a letter to my feedbackgivers in which I explained my point of view as a boss and as a human being. For me the most important thing in life is: my family. I want to give my children: food, love and a set of values ‘how to behave as member of our society’. To give them fish and at the same time learn them to fish themselves. I want to be a scout leader who gives his kids a toolbox and learn them how to use it in order to make it possible for them to live their lives independently from their parents.

I usually eat in a hurry. I hardly drink alcohol. Eat much candy. I like to take a 20 minutes shower. Try to watch 20.00 o’clock news everyday. My favorites on TV are 'Spoorloos' (in English ‘lost track of’) and 'Memories'. Love to watch a comedy. I read a lot of books. Usually books on a historical topic. I never analyze why I read the books I read. For me it's a long trail of books that bring up other books. When I read a book I always discover thousands of things and details I never thought of before. Details that shift my opinions, judgements, prejudices and assumptions. The details make everything fluid. One of my favorite books is 'Bello Gallico' by Julius Cesaer. It’s his report of his conquest of Western Europe. A beautiful and exciting story with it’s ups and downs. If you realize what happened to Rome, Cleopatra and the child of Julius and Cleopatra when Julius was murdered … everything blown away with the wind.

As a boss this is my toolbox:
1. There is not 1 way of organizing. How to organize depends on the organizational configurations, the life cycle of the organization and the environment it lives in.
2. There is not 1 way of leadership. Depending on the situation a certain style has to be chosen.
3. There is not 1 human being. All people are individuals and are therefore different.
4. Fog. Decisions always have to be taken with information that is not perfect, well balanced and completely validated. Sometimes I have to decide in foggy weather. In retrospect information can show up that tells me that in hindsight I should have taken a different decision.
5. People are people with their own dreams, hopes and fears. People act on their level of consiousness. Some come for the money. Others look for a teacher. Some look for spiritual challenges.
6. A constraint solved? The next constraint pops up. Not all constraints and problems have to be solved.
7. Final end. All people die. I will one day die too. I’m your boss now but will I be your boss too next year? The show must go on when I’m no longer here. The show must go on when an individual staffmember moves on.

The above toolbox ensures that I am not very straightforward in my conduct. Pragmatic or situational acting sometimes seems "old school" but it suits me very well. Sometimes I do this. Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I want to find out every tiny little detail of the incident. The other time I only want to talk about the proces to ensure that next time the same incident won’t happen again. To be short: let us keep on communicating. I’ll tell you what I’m doing. You tell me when something happens you don’t like.

Mission statement. Next to the 360-degree feedback a personal mission statement had to be made. I've been thinking a lot about it. One statement came back every time: "Fatherhood". For me this is the only meaningful image and metaphor of my life. Biological father to my children: one who gives and receives love, someone who teaches them ... and then set them free. Father to my staff: someone who gives priorities, makes decisions and takes care that the show goes on when I am gone.

1 comment:

  1. Muy buena la caja de herramientas... con respecto a tus hijos, tengo el mismo pensamiento, has que darles el pescado pero TIENEN QUE APRENDER A PESCAR es la única forma en la que pueden salir adelante en la vida..
    Me gusta tu lado explorador, todos en un punto lo tenemos, el mio no muy desarrollado :(