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Transcending Dichotomy

Dichotomies are employed a lot in my writing and planning efforts as a frame of reference or lens to analyze what I see going on around me. This is particularly true, of course, in the presence of forces or structures that contradict or otherwise differ greatly from one another. Even so, our understandings must go above and beyond dichotomies. So much more to observe and focus our energies also exist. So, the middle ground between the poles in a dichotomy is where we often have the most complete understanding.

Relatedly, one of my main (if not my primary) priority is inclusivity. It's hard to really be inclusive if you're always focused on "us vs. them" instead of "both/and." If you've read any of the posts here where I do explore a particular dichotomy (or multiple dichotomies), you've probably realized that I try my best to never rest in dichotomous viewpoints anyway, but it's really up to us to transcend those dichotomies in our lives and wor…
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Balancing Collaboration & Autonomy with Effective Management Practices

Here's another dichotomy to ponder: collaborative & project-driven structures that encourage innovation versus authoritative & hierarchical structures that ensure we're reliably offering the services we've agreed to provide in the manner and time-frame we've agreed to do so with the populations we support.

If you've ever heard of the Enneagram test, my personality type is #9 (Peacemaker/Mediator), which makes a lot of sense if you know me. One of those reasons is because I'm always trying to avoid conflict & mediate when possible instead. The political theory of my former life as an academic also centered on the thought of Michel Foucault, particularly with regards to his teachings on Power-knowledge. So, it's not a big surprise that I'm not especially opposed to diffusing power-structures and power-dynamics through conflict resolution and decentralization.

With that being said, I'm starting to realize that the collaborative and non-hier…

Hammers & Silos

Let me start off by painting a pair of vignettes paradoxically in juxtaposition: In one, I’m standing behind an interior wall with a sledgehammer raised above my head ready to cause the barrier that’s been around for as long as anyone can remember to come crashing down all around us; in the other, I’m kneeling behind another interior wall, building it up slowly brick by brick. In both, I’m gleeful. This is my life right now.

I’m in this weird position because I’ve been taking steps inward in my personal life while spearheading a project that I call “digital desiloing” at work. Our Service Desk is comprised of two main teams who together do the work of many unified teams at other service desks. The silos inhabited by these teams have been around so long that I’m not sure anyone remembers why they got built up in the first place.

What I know for sure is that everyone who I collaborate with to manage the work accomplished by those teams is ready to desilo. As the recently transplanted ou…

Dichotomies: Agile vs. Siloed & Self-care vs. Self-motivation

I haven’t blogged much here lately, but a lot’s been changing in my life, both professionally & personally. I’ve just shifted roles back into the management of service desk leadership & gradually starting to channel my strategic planning energies toward that capacity. In short, I’ve been gradually losing altitude in terms of the ‘Bird’s Eye View’ in which I was resting during my last post while gaining an opportunity to utilize more of my full potential. Of course, I’m delighted in my new role, but it’s taking time & effort to shift my perspective as needed. In the meantime, I’ve been learning a lot about the culture of the team I supervise & the ways in which my talents & perspectives may fit.
As I’m settling into this new role, I’m thinking a lot about dichotomies that I keep seeing pop up in the workplace. I normally focus more on ambiguity & middle ground than I do on dichotomy, but the juxtaposition is proving to be a helpful lens to characterize what I’m…

The Bird's Eye View

What follows builds on what I discussed in my latest post, but the current dialogue will extend to a broader topic. It's not so much the second part in a two-part series, but the other part of the conversation that needs to be addressed not just in professional IT, but also in life.
Last week, I talked about seeing the forest instead of only the trees to highlight shifting our focus toward the more long-term strategic view rather than the immediate and responsive view of what's before us in which too many of us spend our lives entrenched. With the bird's eye view, we don't just notice the forest along with the trees, we notice everything.

In that sense, what we're discussing here is a kind of omnipotence most us can never expect to experience in totality solely by ourselves. The bird's eye view refers to a kind of strategic master plan most often woven together by the collaborative analysis and planning efforts of people who have allowed themselves to notice an…

Looking Beyond the Trees

A very dear friend of mine is fond of referring to a saying that has many iterations, but goes something like this: ”You’d notice the forest if you weren’t so busy looking at the trees.” I think this friend first provided this advice to me while I was conducting graduate research when the primary intention was encouraging me to take a step back and consider the "big picture" of what was occurring. 
Too often, whether in academia or in a professional setting, we all may at least occasionally feel a tendency to focus on the specific details that are most immediately soliciting our attention rather than the systemic causes and the greater circumstances in which those details exist. This has real implications for technical support and managing IT departments.

An unavoidable necessity of providing IT support is responding to the technical issues that arise on a recurring basis. These issues may require extensive troubleshooting or may be simple cases of directing people toward the…

Beginning Again

This will be a bit more personal than my typical content in this space. The reason: I've been going through some major changes in both my personal and professional life. In other words, I’ve been ‘beginning again’ a lot recently.

‘Beginning again’ is a Mindfulness concept that I think has relevance in all aspects of life. Joseph Goldstein has a phrase often included as a kind of mantra in his meditations: "Simply Begin Again." The phrase is certainly powerful in the context of practicing Mindfulness. Too often, we may lose attention or focus and our tendency is to criticize ourselves or continue to focus on the moment that we lost attention so that we continue to not focus when we should be resuming our meditation. Whenever we lose focus, Goldstein lets us know, we do not have to worry about what just happens. Instead, without judgement or hesitation, we "Simply Begin Again."

Those words are very powerful in more ways than just their relevance to our meditation…