It’s sNOw April Fool’s Joke!

Grace running ahead of me this morning through the heavy, wet snow falling on April Fool’s Day

The weather forecasters prepared us for this. But Grace didn’t see it coming. The look on her face this morning as she exited the door was like: “Come on. You-have-got-to-be-kidding-me. Enough of this!”

But like any good trooper, she persevered and made the best of it while we were out. She even had a little fun, but was definitely ready to come back in much quicker than normal (right now she’s happily curled in her warm bed).

I think that changes in our weather patterns often make for more productive work days. The six inches of heavy, wet snow we awoke to painted a new landscape for us and it automatically entices us to think differently about the things we’re about to do. Some (like myself) love the snow, others (like Grace and my husband) are ready for spring. But all of us are going to approach the day differently today than we would have without this storm.

I know I put that bone here yesterday!

Found it!

It’s easy to get stuck looking at the same things in the same way. The volume of work keeps us running at a frantic pace and it’s hard to slow down, to get a fresh look. So take advantage of nature’s way of slowing us down. If it’s sunny and warm where you are, look for another way to mix up your day.

Can we go inside now?

There are lots of ways to change things up that don’t require building snowmen (though that would be an interesting thing for a team to do that wants to examine how they work together!). Start a meeting with an icebreaker topic that you’ve never done before. Or stop by and chat with a co-worker for five minutes and ask: “What’s the best thing about working here? What could we do better?” Be open to the ideas. What treasures are buried that you can unearth by using a new approach of thinking about it?

Go have some fun today!

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  1. Kristen on April 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I think we pretty much posted about our April Fools snow day at the same exact time. Gracie could sure fool me in those pictures that she doesn’t like the snow. She looks like she is having a blast. Bailey on the other hand couldn’t get back inside fast enough this morning.

    • PeopleSense Consulting LLC on April 1, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Grace was definitely more interested in that bone than being outside. She loves her warm sunbeams, but will tolerate some inconveniences for the things she loves! I guess that’s true of most of us. Hope you and Bailey enjoy a fun day inside; thanks for posting!

  2. Renee Charney on April 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I agree, Robin. “Changing things up” is absolutely a valuable way to discover new learning and see things through a new lens. It’s interesting…many organizations that I work with ask me to help them and their teams “work through change,” to help their leaders and employees feel “comfortable” with change. What I’ve discovered for myself, and that I offer up to my clients for consideration, is the value and learning I notice when I allow myself to get messy and feel UN-comfortable. This tends to be a new concept for the people that I coach and work with. At the outset, my suggestion to “allow yourself to feel uncomfortable and see what you notice” is responded to with skepticism. (“Huh? I thought you were going to make us feel better about what’s going on around here!”) But over time and through their work with noticing and awareness, my clients tend to see the value and impact that getting messy, and being comfortable with discomfort, has on their growth, confidence and mindset.

    • PeopleSense Consulting LLC on April 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

      Renee, I love the word ‘messy’ in this context. It conjures up images of healthy tension and constructive conflict. And it also implies that “it” can become tidy again without an overwhelming effort. Messy is perfect to describe something uncomfortable, but manageable. Is that how you view messy? I have a lot of respect for your work and I wonder if you would be willing to share an example of how you have worked through this with your clients. Thank you for helping us think about this topic in just a helpful way!

  3. Renee Charney on April 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Robin, great connection with healthy tension and constructive conflict. Both of those concepts are ones that we explore in great detail when I bring teams through the Five Dysfunctions of a Team learning and “messiness” is quite relevant during that conversation. On the continuum of “artificial harmony” on the left and “mean-spirited attacks” on the right, healthy tension and constructive conflict can get messy and uncomfortable. To introduce that concept, and before we even delve into the “dysfunction” to overcome, I ask questions that encourage them to think of examples from their personal life that conjure up the image of “messy”. That question ignites thinking that promotes examples of children playing in mud, Spring cleaning, boxing up the basement before moving day, and others. Once we have examples, I ask them to think about and offer up what they discovered or learned while working through their “mess”, what did they notice or learn. Most times, team members can associate with what others say; things like “I found a ring that I lost last year wedged under my couch!” or “It’s amazing how much stuff I’ve collected over the years. I’ve decided to not collect or store so much non-essential stuff in my next house.” or “I remember how much fun it was to crawl around and get dirty when I played in the mud. It was so much more fun than sitting in my tidy bedroom playing with dolls.” Through the conversations about getting “messy” and the learning that came from it, we transition into getting “messy” with each other in the team, what that might look like and the learning, discoveries and impact that it could make in how we grow as a team. If we choose to “stay in our tidy room and play with dolls” (artificial harmony) what would we gain? What might we lose? What hidden treasures might we discover by allowing ourselves to get a bit uncomfortable and dig around as a team?

    • PeopleSense Consulting LLC on April 4, 2011 at 7:12 am

      What fantastic examples, Renee! All these comments illustrate how valuable the short-term feeling of ‘messiness’ leads to better outcomes for the long-term. It seems to me that we all know that mean-spirited attacks are counter-productive, but I do find organizations lulled by a desire for the ‘artificial harmony.’ On the surface, it feels like a preferred path — to be nice and supportive of each other. That approach often prevents the group from facing the reality of the situation, which leads to more problems. Once that learn how to deal with it constructively, they are much more able to achieve what they need to do. And ironically, it’s less frustrating for everyone. Do you agree?

      This has been such a rich dialogue, exactly what I hoped for this blog where we can all share experiences that enrich our thinking about how to approach everyday communications. Thank you!

  4. Renee Charney on April 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

    And…Thank YOU for opening up this conversation! It’s been fun connecting our thoughts. I have a lot of respect for the work you do, as well.

  5. lifewith4cats on April 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    You are such a thoughtfully deep thinker and observer. I love the way you took the snow and springboarded it into a positive motivation.

    • PeopleSense Consulting LLC on April 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

      What a nice thing to say. Thanks very much. I am fascinated by the connections we can find in our lives — big and small, all important.

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