When I was in college and getting started in my career in the world we often had to take personality inventory tests. I remember sitting in a lecture hall in college with about a hundred other students taking the Minnesota Multi-Personality Inventory. We had pages and pages of questions, the upshot being we received results that hopefully would help us better understand our strengths and our weaknesses. Over the years the various tests I took pointed out that I am an “idea” person. That means that when I am working on a committee I am good at “brainstorming”. I guess at some level it has something to do with creativity. The opposite side of that coin is that I am not as good at seeing the pitfalls and often I need help to complete the project. It is good when there is someone else on the committee to assist me with the work of development, writing a mission statement and laying out goals. It means we need each other and that is a good thing.
I often find myself intrigued with the concept of “process”. How do projects and plans come together? Is there a logical progression going from point A to point B or are the lines more convoluted? How do we reach the conclusion of a successful project? I have only been on the city council a couple of weeks, but already I am learning the process of how things get done and the part each council person plays in that process. I learned, for example, that the agenda for council meetings is set before the meeting and at meetings we do not discuss items not already on the agenda. That is a good thing because issues which come before the council have first been discussed with a city department person and then brought to committee for public debate and then moved to the main meeting if necessary. Sometimes issues can be handled without ever coming to the main meeting thus saving the council’s time for other issues. It is a process. What at first seemed a bit cumbersome and slow, simply means that work is being done behind the scenes and when the issue has form it will appear on the agenda. Needless to say I am learning process and patience. There is a quotation somewhere that says, “The mills of the gods grind slow, but they grind exceedingly sure.”
Perhaps one of the signs of maturity is reaching the point where you know where your strengths lie. It is important that if you are in a leadership role, you recognize the strengths of your committee members and use those strengths where they best apply. As we get older, I think we get more involved with process and while it may slow us down a little, it is a more thoughtful approach. The danger is that we get so mired down in process that nothing is accomplished. It is always good to open the door and let some fresh air blow through our minds. Every person is unique and brings something new to the table. We are never too old to revitalize our thinking, to learn new ways of doing things. Life is an adventure to be lived and we should never just settle.