Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Learning experience

I'm looking forward to B_'s first birthday party. How's our little guy doing?
He is smiling, pooping and climbing up things. He got this bump on the head here when he tried to climb the rock out front.
Awww, did you take a bump to the noggin? Sounds like a learning experience to me.
He is learning to stand up and to fall over.
Roll with it little buddy. You are going to have many opportunities in this life to discover that our best learning experiences are also a little painful.

The meeting earlier in the day was decidedly tense. We were determined to do our business on our own terms. BP_ and I had been preparing for weeks. Months in fact. We had the issues spelled out as clearly as possible. We had our goals defined. Our talking points were rehearsed. We were confident. We were prepared to meet anger, antagonism and personal attacks. We even had secret signals ready to help each other out if things started to go badly. It is a difficult thing to confront someone else, demand respect, and insist that they make sacrifices to change the status quo. As with most battle plans, ours did not survive the first contact.

Higher Power chastised us first thing for the stern tone we were taking in our written statements. A lot of people in that room were expecting the worst and in shields up mode. We were able to stand our ground quite successfully. They conceded many points we were not expecting. We conceded on points as well. I learned some things.

I learned that preparation is everything. Even though the battle plan was down in flames in the first moments we still had our goals, resources and a solid knowledge of the ground we were trying to cover.

I learned that while long standing issues are best resolved before they are long standing, sometimes they become long standing because of talking softly. For right or wrong, we had to remind some people that we also carried a big stick.

I learned that if a long standing issue is not getting resolved, being stern and wielding the big stick will suddenly get a lot of attention pointed at the issue. Sometimes more attention than expected. If you are sure you are in the right, and you will know if you did your preparation correctly, you can stand your ground confidently.

I learned that when you rock the boat it makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. Rocking the boat can make yourself very uncomfortable as well. I learned that I do not want to rock the boat very often.

For good or ill the stern tone worked. I don't know if it is the same thing as respect, but I do know that I was taken seriously and the outcome of the meeting was favorable to us. It is a day I will remember for a long time. The experience was a little painful. One year olds are not the only ones that ache for a while after a learning experience.

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