Teaching Smart vs. not LO13762

Ray Evans Harrell (mcore@IDT.NET)
Wed, 28 May 1997 22:48:15 -0700

Replying to LO13747 --

Stever Robbins wrote:
> At 10:56 pm 5/20/97 -0700, you wrote:
> >AFTER WORK the men would unwind by practicing THINKING
> >and ACTING together in the chorus or on the village green while they
> >marched together performing in harmony.
> >Since I'm a pagan...
> I certainly know that part of my experience of this not working here in
> the States is that work environments do very little to help people learn
> to deal with difference. I haven't socialized with people in my workplace
> primarily because I'm gay, and while it's never been a problem, it
> certainly doesn't make for my feeling like one of the crowd. On top of
> that, I don't care for hiking or baseball, which eliminates most of the
> things my workplace has ever tried to use to bring us together.
> Then again, I'm now working as an independent consultant, so maybe it's
> all for the best :-)


Does your gayness separate you or are you doing it? If it is the culture
of the company personnel then you are in the same situation many army
personnel find themselves in when they are stationed in a country with no
possibility of personal friendships. For Major Flinn the foreign country
was North Dakota.

Are baseball and hiking related to the type of team work that you use in
your work? In the coal mines they used the singing and brass bands
because their work was already very physical. They also had sports teams
but they needed something that joined their minds in another kind of
teamwork that was useful but leisure activity as well. If they hadn't
been practicing their music they would have spent their time where the
lead and zinc miners in my home town spent theirs, in the local bar or
pub. It was not a part of the culture of my home town for the miners to
do anything other than drink. So it ruined their families and cut their
work life short as well as making the mines more dangerous.

My Father started vocational work teams for the miner's children in the
school and taught them another trade. My Father could see the end of the
mines coming and he was determined that there would be a work society once
they left. The school emphasized teams in music, debate and sports to
build a family substitute for the "pub abandoned" children. He found
funds to pay the students for their work so they would have strong
self-images around the work they had done. (That school is now very small
about 90 pupils but it has a web page on the internet.)

After my Father retired and before he "crossed over" the students of that
program gave him a party at the ranchhouse of one of the former students.
The ticket for admission to the party was that they had to have made a
million dollars as a result of my Father's program. The place was full
and he related the story to me with pride and tears.

As for your company, why not start some sort of team program that relates
to your interests? Sell it to the company as a way of building company
esprit de corps. Use the Senge material on ensemble to sell it.

IMHO sexuality is a very touchy issue in most companies. I would suggest
that you stay as general as possible and simply relate as an individual
who wants to function within the community. E.G. A chorus can be done by
all and if you do not have the skills to start one then sell the company
on hiring a local church or synagogue director to lead it. Hewlett-Packard
and Phillips Petroleum both have symphony orchestras and Phillips used to
have an Olympic basketball team before the era of professional sports.
There are also companies that have drama clubs and that hire ballet
teachers to teach movement for health, fitness and ensemble teamwork. I
do not know of any companies with Opera ensembles yet but it will happen.
One of my best former tenors is a world class theoretical physicist who
works at Los Alamos, The Princeton Institute and the last I heard was
guest lecturing in Cambridge, I believe at Harvard but I can't swear on
that. Wherever he goes he sings.

Before you start something do an informal poll and see what people would
be interested in. Don't do it officially. Do it at parties, eating out,
etc. and then take it to the highest official you have access to, as a
worked out proposal. If you have any questions I would be happy to share
what I know as well.

By the way, I used the pagan statement as a way of saying that I wasn't
trying to proselytize anyone by using Christian stories. I just happened
to think that they applied. I am a pagan. I am a traditional Cherokee,
and last year Lucent asked me to come lecture as such during their cross
cultural week. I was told that the upper management would come but after
making an appearance would leave and that I was not to be offended. They
came and not only didn't leave but did the friendship dance with us at the
end of the presentation.

Teams, how can you develop teams subtly without trying to? How can you
get the team's identity into the life of the employee without coming off
like a tyrant or control freak? Well, the first thing is that it has to
be fun!

I am not going to apologize for the length of this post. I love to sit
and discuss at length and this is for those who feel the same. As for the
rest, my time is as tough as yours and may be shorter. Try it you may
enjoy it, if you do dont feel guilty. Remember that you cant read
everything and that its all right.


Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Chamber Opera of New York


Ray Evans Harrell <mcore@IDT.NET>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>