Friday, December 19, 2014

Three Alarm Week

It's going to be cold this weekend and that has me thinking about chili. It's been a while since we cooked up a batch of the spicy stew and with some last minute shopping to get done it could be just he thing to warm my insides by the fire once I'm done.

Our child's are usually not of the Three Alarm variety. I definitely like some spice to mine but some of the girls get turned off if it's too hot so we keep it on the mild side and have the hot sauce bottles at the ready. I'm thinking some slow cooked pork and veggies in maybe a green chili base.

But first I have to make it through Friday. It's been a long week starting with an alarm sounding wake up on Monday. That's understandable given my trip to Asia last week. I recovered well over the weekend but was still a bit jet lagged come 445 Monday morning. Usually awake well before my alarm I spend those last few minutes in bed adjusting to being awake. When I sleep right into the alarm it's a much more jarring way to start the day and I don't like it so much.

This week unfortunately brought two more days of that fast transition into wakedom. Both yesterday and today I was pulled from a sound sleep by the alarm making this a Three Alarm week. Certainly this is all just my old bones reacting to the time change extremes but that doesn't make it any easier. So it's Friday and a bit cold for our morning commute through the dark. When I hit that couch this evening it will have been a good week spent on charity, team building and preparing for 2015. All good efforts for sure.

I may get tot he chili for Sunday depending on how the shopping goes and that will be a nice treat for a relaxing rest before the holiday week. Now where can I buy those tomatillos? Well, I can think about that tomorrow morning when I wake up long after any alarm would be sounding.

And that makes me happy.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Charity Day Two

For our second charity event we built bridges out of Lego blocks. The twist was that teams were divided into two groups with each group in a separate room. Thus there was no way to see what the other half of the bridge looked like during construction.

Teams were allowed four conferences during construction in which one member from each room met outside and discussed progress and plans. In hindsight it was a great lesson in communication and the need for early leadership to set direction.

Conferences were timed and at specific intervals so teams needed to be both prepared for the discussions and open to the communication of good ideas over a very short conversation. We also needed to keep communications consistent, a lesson definitely learned.

We got off to a very good start by having an early plan that was written down and clearly communicated. Thus our bridge took its basic shape after just one meeting. After this initial surge we ran into some confusion. While our team continued to build and add to the original design the other team began innovating. We prepared for the second meeting in a similar way but were over run by the design from the other side and thus had to break down some of our work and rebuild to match. For me this was a bit frustrating as I saw our design come into shape and knew it would be good. Recognizing that an element of team work was important to our shared success we took the changes in stride and tried to adapt to more collaborative meetings.

Ultimately we got the working portion of the bridge right and our two halves met perfectly in the middle snapping into place at the right height and width. The approaches to either side of the bridge were less successful due mostly in my mind to the missed understanding of process. Had we gotten communication process down correctly teams would have worked better independently on parts of the bridge and shared their design in a give and take manner. In this way neither team would lose its creativity and yet the overall design would match perfectly end to end.

When all is said and done our session was a great reminder to think before you act. It opened eyes to those on hue he team that struggle with team based work and it allowed us an opportunity to use corporate dollars to support a great local charity. The Legos will go to the small kids in this center and the dollars will support programs for all ages in the community. Overall a great way to spend an afternoon.

And that makes me happy.