Monday, February 25, 2008

What did you give up for Lent?

I was walking across campus at SJSU a couple of weeks ago and I heard a snippet of a conversation. It seems funny, but I am not sure. A woman was walking by and I heard her say:

"No, I had to call you. I gave up texting for Lent."

Gave up texting? For Lent? Where does one go with this? It seems so odd, that it is hard to identify the kind of oddness it represents. O well. Now the Internet can deal with it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Sound of the Voice of an Organization

I realized something about how I understand systems, but I am not sure what to do with this knowledge yet.

I think that I hear the "tone of voice" of an organization when I talk to people in that organization. When I ask the questions this leads me to ask, the people in the organization almost always have no idea what I mean.

This is a trivial example. When you enter the bookstore on the campus of San Jose State University, they have wide doors that automatically open for you. When you leave, the doors are at an odd angle from the rest of the room and they are not automatic. So, what does thing say?

Perhaps it does not say much. If the people who manage this shop changed this, would it make a huge difference? Probably not. Should I argue with them about it, try to rally other students to the cause? Definitely not. But it does mean something. It expresses an attitude of disdain. I can hear it as I walk out. It says that I have already been suckered into buying these over-priced books and they have no reason to be nice to me anymore. It says "Bought your books? Good, now go away...."

So, what is there to do? I am not sure. I do not want the book store to fix the doors. I want them to be the sort of organization that would know that they should not set it up this way, that would not have set it up this way in the first place. How does one ask for that?

Maybe I want to be the kind of person that can ignore the tone in their voice, to hear that whatever they are actually saying is probably reasonable.