Kennebec Valley Chamber

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Friday Report ~ January 8, 2016

"Thick Skinned"
This week was a professional and personal development week for me. I had the opportunity to receive constructive criticism and take a step back and to re-evaluate.  I have always been a thick skinned kinda guy and that served me very well in the military. Let's just say that "political correctness" and "better communication skills" were not at the top of the Navy handbook when I first joined. Things have changed dramatically over the years and by the time I retired, there were sensitivity trainings happening in the "chief's mess," where the saltiest of sailors would reside.
Since retiring from the Navy, I may have become less "military" and more "sensitive". Apparently, I have developed a slightly thinner skin as well. You see, this is my second blog this week. I had written one that talked at length about New Year's Resolutions. I was hoping to encourage you all to make resolutions monthly, not just in January. The intention was that you would find a way to challenge yourself to make improvements to your organization on a regular basis. One employee however responded with;

 "I don't like your blog."

Wait...what? Let me be clear; I have always encouraged staff input on the things that we do here. There have been more than a handful of the past year's blogs that were edited so much that they only scarcely resembled the original. Still, no one had ever simply said, "I don't like it." I'll be honest, it took me by surprise. 
Now, please don't feel sorry for me.  They were right: I didn't really like it either. I applaud them for having the hootzpah to be so forward. I gave them a hard time first of course, but in the long run it was extremely helpful to have someone be brutally honest.
So how is the environment in your office? Do you openly seek input from your staff? It's one thing to say you do and then chastise those who don't line up with your proposal. It's another to actually build that level of openness that allows your employees to be honest. This type of environment allows for innovative thought and creativity in the workplace. There will certainly be a time when you need to push forward with your original plan, despite suggestions to the contrary. Make it clear to everyone that their input was valuable and you have decided to move forward for other reasons. It's important to evaluate the environment in your organization and make changes as needed.
In short, I decided to trash the last blog and talk about this. In the last blog however, I did find a way to mention that my daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies. If you don't have another source for these seasonal delicacies, feel free to stop in and place an order with us. I had to sneak that back in. Have a great weekend!