Management Talks and Service Walks

What’s WRONG with society today:
a microcosm

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the What Kind of World do YOU Want? series


“There is more to life
than increasing its speed.”

~ Ghandi

“When leading consciously,
you use the power you have to
intentionally choose actions
that can make a profound difference
in your interactions with others –
both personally and professionally.”
Jean Kantambu Latting

Whatever Happened to Rita?

Awakening early this morning for a much-welcomed change to my usual dark-centric experience of living, I took my coffee for a walk, hoping that the exposure to early morning light might help maintain the unexpected shift in my chronorhythms.

Having time to muse in the daylight is a rare treat. I’ve missed it.

I ran into another of the mailmen I didn’t recognize, parking his mail-truck: odd only because, as long as I’ve lived here, we’ve never gotten mail delivery on our street until late afternoon.

Since Rita disappeared, it seems we are left in the hands of a series of “temps,” so nothing is truly standard about our mail delivery anymore.

It won’t be until we have our own mail carrier again.

Apparently her former route is tough to fill.

  • Our Gaslit streets are charming but narrow; one car must frequently pull to the side until the car coming from the opposite direction can squeeze through. This is not a neighborhood you drive through in a hurry,
  • Although they arrive by mail truck, the carriers must WALK the route — and on-street parking can be tough to find.
  • There are no curbside mailboxes; each house must be visited, gates and gardens navigated, dogs, cats and children notwithstanding.
  • In addition to “regular” apartment buildings on some portions of the route, many of the large houses have been reconfigured into multiple rental units. Each now requires keyed entry to stuff the many locked boxes inside the spaces reconfigured as lobbies.

Those elements alone increase the time it takes to walk the route — apparently more than what some desk-jockey’s statistics indicate is acceptable.

FemaleMailCarrier withBag

Delivering mail for even a portion of most streets means that their over-the-shoulder mailbags can’t handle the entire load, even if everyone receives little more than a single envelope or two.

Magazines and packages can double the volume.

Multiple trips to the mail-truck are essential, if only for the health of the carrier’s back. More time, apparently, “wasted.”

But the BIGGEST problem seems to be that the neighborhood is too darned friendly. We say hello and engage in brief conversation as we encounter one another.

Not brief enough, it seems. Time management cost accounting averages brook no compromises.

Carriers who exceed the acceptable time to deliver the mail
to an average route must be doing something WRONG.

They simply must be hustled along.


Time is MoneyDrop and run!

Management is concerned about the lolligagging, I suppose — especially, it seems, with the time spent saying hello in response to the greetings of dog-walkers, stroller-pushers and window-shoppers on the sidewalks of our neighborhood’s small commercial section — a street that is a well-loved feature of this route.

Trading a social word or two with the shopkeepers who accept the mail for each small establishment, waiting for many to conclude a transaction, is not acceptable either, so it seems.

No WONDER Rita disappeared – amazing, always upbeat and positive, make-my-day-every-time-I-see-you Rita, who always delivered my letters promptly and my bills on time, and never put anyone else’s mail in my box

She also put my magazines and Journals directly into my hands whenever I met her in the mail-lobby on the flip-side of my apartment door, instead of making me wait until she scrunched them into the box that left them creased and wrinkled.

Despite the additional time required to do so, maibox crinkling and wrinkling IS the way it’s supposed to be done, doncha’ know. Mail goes in boxes, not in hands!

Trouble with the Temps

Mail delivery since Rita disappeared has been “spotty.”

I can’t imagine any temp could memorize this route’s oddities without time and repetition, and I rarely see the same carrier more than a time or two every couple of weeks.

Few of these temps are what I would call “friendly” – and most of them are rushed, I assume (since I’m fairly certain all can read the names on the boxes and on the mail they carry and deliver, despite the fact that there are weekly “mistakes.”)

They merely shrug and smile when I encounter them and ask what happened to Rita.

No one else in our lovely walking neighborhood seemed to be able to find out what happened either, and we’re all concerned for her welfare. She was a ray of sunshine. Always. The entire neighborhood mourned her sudden loss to us, despite unsupported rumors that she was delivering mail closer to where she lives, which worked better for her

She simply stopped coming one day, without warning.

Deliver me from Time and Motion Studies

Stopwatch_clipboardRita’s mysterious disappearance followed a period of time when, on more than one occasion, she was “trailed” by one of several managers as she delivered our mail.

She pleasantly introduced the first to me as her “boss,” while she went about her work — no doubt because I asked if she was training someone new, loud enough for the observer to hear. Rita would have been concerned about his feelings.

Why were they following RITA?  Human stop-watches? Documenting wasted seconds in conversation AS she stuffed boxes here, during a five minute trip to the mail-truck to refill her mailbag there? Checking to see if she was padding her time with potty breaks, perhaps?

I suppose it could be possible they were hoping to discover the secret to her universal popularity, but I kinda’ doubt it, given the subtle change in Rita’s demeanor whenever they were around.

It sure didn’t seem to me like she believed they were planning to reward her for excellence and acknowledge her work-style as a model to be emulated.

Maybe they do it to everybody, which only strengthens my point.

But Rita never complained about it.  She never complained about ANYTHING – neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night, and certainly not increases in holiday mail. Even though she wasn’t particularly fond of cold weather, she was at her most joyful delivering all the packages and cards from friends and relatives across the country.

Rita was the most consistently positive-minded person I have ever met. 

She saw the good in everything and everyone, even when I asked how she felt when her beloved NPR, her constant companion, was threatened by a derisive “establishment” who couldn’t quantify the value of catering to “the Muppet lobby.”

Flashing her sunny smile, she responded that she was grateful it was still on the air, as she continued on her way to brighten the life of the next person lucky enough to encounter her.

Although she never took the time to stop and chat like mail carriers I remember from my childhood, my world became a kinder, gentler place when she exhaled — uplifting the vibe, one street at a time.

Today I found out what happened.

Being requested to do a job better handled by a robot apparently didn’t suit her much, so she requested reassignment.

My source didn’t say where, exactly, she was working now – only that there were curbside mailboxes for some of the route.

I did not hear ANY of this from Rita, by the way, and my source was not reporting
anything heard directly from her lips.

So if anyone in Cincinnati postal management happens to be following, don’t you DARE force her to quit altogether by reading her beads about this too.

She’s one of the FEW things working for the USPS anymore – a model employee with a countenance, spirit and level of intelligence far superior to management’s, or so it seems from here.

But then, I suppose middle management is being squeezed by upper management, which is being forced by Congress to trim budgets and justify costs — anything to avoid more fairly assessing Corporate taxes to balance a budget desperately in need of balancing. Follow the [big] money – the problem is pervasive.

Why do you think they call it work?
You’re not SUPPOSED to enjoy the time you spend there.
In today’s economy you’re lucky to have a job at all.

And the Beat Goes On

The world becomes less human-being friendly every day, despite numerous journal-published, credible, replicated studies that demonstrate the reality that human beings are SOCIAL organisms, and that health and welfare is markedly improved as the quality of community improves and its membership expands.

Is it any wonder health costs are rising while overall health declines?

But bean counters will be bean counters, short-sighted J. Wellington Wimpies
who would “gladly trade our future for a hamburger today.”

The meme spreads like a virus.

It creates a mean and angry America and a planet at war over resources —
engaged in a dangerous winners-take-most, zero-sum battle that can only
feed on itself until it destroys us all.

As that “bottom-line is ALL that counts” attitude advances, it wears out the resolve of the comparatively few avowed to spend their lives attempting to create a world that works for everyone. Sadly, too many of the white-hats decide to “join” those whom they feel they will never be able to “beat.”

An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile,
hoping it will eat him last.
~ Winston Churchill

Where will it end – will it EVER stop?

Questions for Our World’s Leaders

I wanna be a cowboy

What happened to you?

I doubt any politician decided to grow up to become a person who spent every day in intractable turf wars over the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots — prioritizing party promises over those made to the people who voted you into office (or to noblesse-oblige, for those of you who won the genetic race for top spots in positions of power).

“When I grow up
I want to be a power-monger
with at least one huge home
and ready access to a yacht and a jet!”

was probably NOT on the 8-year-old mind of any budding CEO.

Answer me this, looking deep inside and jettisoning all rationalizations and defenses:
Would the little kid you once were be PROUD of what you are doing now?

It’s not too late, you know, to make the switch to conscious leadership.
All it takes is stepping up – and SPEAKING up.

Jean Latting and her team define “Leading Consciously” as

“. . . the ability to examine yourself, become conscious of your automatic habits, patterns, and beliefs, and to choose new behaviors as a result of the expanded awareness.”

“In other words,” they go on to say, “instead of doing what you have always done, deliberately step out of autopilot into conscious assessment of what assumptions, emotions, and behaviors got you to where you are and what new assumptions, emotions, and behaviors it will take to get you where you would like to go.”

Work-place Reframes

Few places inspire more unconscious, fear-based thinking than the workplace.
I ask again, what if we began THERE?

“A great many people think they are thinking
when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

~ William James (“the father of psychology” – 1842–1910)

If we could refocus the management paradigm, seeding the meme of conscious co-creation as the responsibility of every single employee in the workplace, from the clean-up crew to tip-top executive management, how might the workplace conversation shift?

Could “we,” perhaps, narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots when we, counter-intuitively, STOP arguing about the distribution of conceptually limited slices of pie and START discussing what is good for ALL of “US?”  Think about it.

Might our world become a place that we are ALL proud to call home?

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There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

2 Responses to Management Talks and Service Walks

  1. An excellent presentation of ideas and concepts. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and both its literal and metaphysical meaning. As a people we certainly need to learn to slow down and breathe as we go about our daily routine.

    It is important to remember that the force that flows through us to perpetuate our being, is the same force that create the universes. Our constant connection to the higher-self is what makes us divine creatures. However, the only way to become aware and tap into that connection is to be still and allow you mind to quiet.

    When you can see the birds chirping, and hear the sun shine, then you know you are alive, and have connected to that very source form which all things came. From that point, one may proceed to make their choices based on the legacy they wish to leave behind. Everyone leaves a legacy, it is up to them to decide what that legacy will be.

    As a leader it is important to be aware of one’s own weaknesses and faults, constantly maintaining connection to the vision of the group. The ability to efficiently manage and maintain a connection to higher-self, vision, and team members, that differentiates a good leader from a great leader. Through the tenacity and drive of a motivated visionary. leader, a new world can be born.

    This is the single most powerful thing to remember, because with such great power comes great responsibility. But none of that is possible without seeking to transcend the human condition and build a better self.
    mgh comment:
    hope you don’t mind that I inserted some “white space” (aka double “returns”) to make this comment easier to read for the many who struggle with long strings of text). I don’t want folks to miss your points.


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