In reply, perhaps this by Charles Swindoll: "The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important that the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice each day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of Attitudes." (Author Charles Swindoll; where published unknown; found on the side of a refrigerator in the home of a person who did not recall its source.)
Yeah, yeah, so WHAT!? How can I apply this to MY work as an EMCOMM unit leader trying to get my unit involved and used?
One of the things I learned over the years is the mental curiosity of people about nonordinary aspects of life, such as the "mind," "attitudes," "thoughts," and "images." After studying a subject, reading a fascinating book, or taking an interesting course, I often will weave something from it into a conversation and discover interesting results.
One time it was a breakfast at which I'd met an official of a local government because I wanted to talk to him off "his turf" in "neutral territory" and see if I could open a dialogue with him on how we might be of service (a subject to which he had been closed up until then). Asking the person about "attitude" in view of the Swindoll perspective might prove stimulating!
Why breakfast? Lunch is done fairly commonly, but not many line officials get time for breakfast "just to chat." And, that "just to chat" is vital. Don't discuss "business" or what "I can do for you." Stick to mind-stimulating ideas, topics that might interest in an unusual way. Of course you may start with areas you know he has interest in (like the local football team), but moving into new areas of something you came across recently can open ways of interpersonal communication that you otherwise will never know existed.
I still meet people at lunch, and that serves a good purpose as you might expect. But, breakfast? Yes, that is far more important than most people realize. Why? First, it telegraphs that you are interested in him and his viewpoints; also, that it is important. It also gives you the opportunity to learn more about him (or her) in a completely different setting than over lunch or at the office.
In the next series we'll consider a topic I didn't know existed in reality until I was 41, when it came as a distinct shock. It then provided an unusual way to "open doors" with people of all points of view -- even those who don't want to consider any but their own!
Cary Mangum, W6WWW - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org