Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I've been thinking about scissors.

Ever wonder why it is that scissors only cut from one side? That is to say, if you try to cut a piece of paper, for example, holding scissors in your left hand, forget it. You'll end up with a ragged, mutilated edge.

Why is that, I wonder? I'm sure there's a Website that goes into the subject in depth but I'm too lazy today to bother. My guess is that the edge on the blades is sharpened at an angle that allows only for right-handed cutting. Now are there left-handed scissors? Sure, there has to be, right? But truth be known, I've never seen a pair.

A pair. Now why do we call scissors a pair when it's usually one item? And why aren't scissors called scissor? That would make sense, given that they're only one scissor - two blades, I'll grant you, but only one scissor unit, right?

Ah well. It's not important. It's only a reflection of the boring time I'm having while taking a nine-day vacation.

Yea, I finally took some time off from work. Long overdue, truth be known. I nearly burned out on this new software called DTI (digital technologies Inc.) that's a publishing tool created by the folks that brought you PDF documents. We've had to take a two-week training course and another two-week follow-up mentoring program to hone our computer skills using this pain-in-the-ass application.

I've finally achieved a level of comfort that allows me to be creative and not just productive, but it was a long, frustrating haul.

And then there's the new Morris Communications relations policy as adopted from the Franklin Covey school of management. It's based on personal accountability and works by practicing calendar entries of goals, known as WIGS in the FC parlance. WIGS stands for wildy important goals. And there's PIGS, which stands for something like partly important goals, or personally important goals; you get the picture. The WIGS are the corporate mandates which, in our case, means deadlines above all; then quality, based on the type of work an individual does to earn his/her bread. After deadline and quality comes PIGS, personally important goals. But that's misleading because all goals must enhance and/or fall in line with the corporate goals, somehow.

In my case, my PIG was to achieve production of a full page (an open page with no ads on it) within 30 minutes. Sounds easy doesn't it? Believe me, it's far from easy!

But the process involves writing down the WIGS and PIGS, creating some sort of graphic reprsentation of same and posting those graphics in public places so all departments can quickly see how the others are doing with their PIGS, etc.

Now I admit, it sounds a bit simplistic they way I've described it, but it's deadly serious. In fact, corporate sharks are swimming through each newspaper, radio and television station and firing anyone who displays less than total enthusiasm for the Franklin Covey way!

As you might imagine, this dramatic change in our work environment - and dramtic is the word that fits - has put many people on the defensive or simply in a fearful state. And fear is not conducive to focused, well-ordered work.

It's a double-edged sword that potentiates both improved work systems and/or degraded skills. It's kind of like the rube golfer who pays more attention to his grip than he does to the ball. While the stroke may look balletic, the ball inevitably winds up in the trees. And so it goes.

But about those scissors; what's up with that, eh?


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