What do they know?
What do they know?
It's a question asked many times, many ways through my life, sometimes to dismiss others and the gap of knowledge that's been revealed. "Well, who are they? What do they know?" The implication is there's a gap about what they understand.
If they don't understand, how much can you trust what they say?
Listening to calls at work yesterday brought home the gaps. Language gaps, acronym gaps, information gaps, knowledge gaps, process gaps, enthusiasm gaps, resource gaps, responsibility gaps, authority gaps, time gaps, ability gaps, understanding gaps, management gaps, department gaps. Gaps abounded like eggs at Easter.
As an aside, there were only men on this call. I had not noticed that until thinking back on it. Most of my calls are coordinated with women running them. There are still the same gaps, though.
That's what the calls are about. We're socializing, vetting and exploring these gaps.
I'm aware of many gaps in my work. When things work correctly and properly, the gaps are known and taken into account. It's the exceptions that highlight the gaps. It's the exceptions that cause the problems, so it's the exceptions that I deal with most frequently. If there weren't any gaps and exceptions, my job would be much easier and different. At those times when it's all going smoothly, I compare myself to a stock boy, walking around and looking at inventory -- to ensure there are no gaps.
But the knowledge gaps displayed in yesterday's calls were disturbing. They'd displayed strategy gaps. Because of the many other gaps, people were working in different directions. The different strategies required different tactics. Departments and functions were going in different directions.
New gaps were evolving.
Several of my work gaps in the last few months were caused by personnel changes. Two people died, living huge, sudden gaps. Others left the company or team, leaving smaller and more manageable gaps. Those sort of gaps are harder to deal with because they're on a personal level, adding an emotional component to what are supposed to be business decisions.
My wife manages most of our gaps in my real life. "We need to talk," she'll say. "What about?" I ask back, wary.
Business gaps are easy to discuss. We set up blocks of days and hours to talk about them.
Personal gaps are harder. Many shoehorn them into life.
I do. I get off work and want time to myself. I don't want to deal with gaps, even though they're personal.
I believe that thinking happens frequently in American society. Many times, people in their real life don't make the time to mind the gaps in their life until it's too late. People work, make money and create a successful career while their children grow up and move away, leaving a gap.
The gap in the marriage becomes too big and the participants separate.
The gaps in their good health affects their ability to think, work and live. They go to the doctor and discover the gap is cancer or diabetes.
The gaps between what they expect from their children and who their children have become overcomes their ability to deal with the gaps.
Their understand of reality becomes too large a gap for them to bridge. They fall into the gap, sometimes landing with a heavy crash.
I was able to sit down and write about this today because there's a gap in my schedule. The schedule itself is driven by gaps caused by holidays. People have taken time off. Meetings are cancelled for the duration. New products are discouraged from being introduced during this period because they know it'll fall into a gap. We're a business to business business. Now is the time to spread joy, buy and present gifts, travel to see family and friends or unwind, far from work.
But...to do these things, someone must be working, to sell the products and staff the hotels, and direct the traffic, fly the aircraft, operate the trains, and drive the cabs and buses.
And there it is, more gaps. They can't take time off and enjoy the holiday like the others, either due to finances or circumstances they can't control, and that creates yet more gaps.
There are always gaps to be minded. I hope we can all take the time to put ourselves in others' situations, and see the gaps.
Maybe then, we'll start bridging them.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com