Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ann T.'s Department of Corrections

Lovely Weekend
I  enjoyed the weekend. I took some time, going outside to take pictures and I had a nice long ride with Miss Ellen. I ate chocolate and enjoyed the sun. I took pictures of flowers, tractors, neon at night, and in general enjoyed the afternoons and dusk hours.

But I must tell you all I am in trouble with these account corrections. Already.

I don't want to whine--whining makes me look small. But I feel small. Not small-minded, exactly, because I am tamping that down with a strong foot. Mostly I feel daunted.

The ledgers are bad. But that's the least of it.

A Broken Team
My problem concerns loyalty and trust. Nothing I have tried in terms of training or expectations has worked, previously. I have no trust that this will work either, in straightening out the conduct or culture of the workers in the basement. I have tried to make this a team effort in the past, and my team has undermined every effort to achieve fairness and accuracy.

They underestimated my commitment to an accurate process. They thought they could fob this off indefinitely.  And they nearly succeeded. I couldn't go down there any more. For three months.

But I have responsibilities. I volunteered to be on the Board, volunteered to be Treasurer, said I would be responsible for the Association's monies. So I have to do this.

I brought my concerns down, in November of 2008. Everything we hammered out took into account their objections, needs, conflicting duties. I did like to think we had reached some good compromises. But no: everything they have done has made it worse: less consistent, less fair, and mistakes have multiplied.

Future Improvements are Emotional
1. Now that I have taken over this contained part, the staff still has a huge job. No one on the Board thinks they will accomplish it. To me, that means you start looking for new personnel. But this would require the Board to start looking for personnel . . . . interviewing new people is a huge time commitment for an all-volunteer Board.

2. Now that I have taken over this contained part of the problem, the staff still has a huge job. But they have to have willpower to do it. Now they don't trust me not to scoot the floor out from under them. They are hurt, angry, insecure. This is all resistance: I understand it because I have resistance too.

They will play 'gotcha' till the sun goes down. They will view everything I see wrong as me playing gotcha, no matter what spin I put on it. 'Gotcha' is the tactic of the desperate. Of course it can be defeated, but neither gotcha nor its solution will get us to the goal.

Personal Style
Recently Captain Schmoe wrote a post questioning the motives of a person who ratted out one of his co-workers. It's a good post for a crusader like me. At what point is a crusade about scoring a false victory? I don't want mine to be tainted by an unfair process. Restraint is necessary on my part, or else I won't be fair. Or productive.

Issues of fairness and justice are central to me. I don't like to lie, either. This provokes me more than is good for my crusade. It means that the right set of words is more important but harder to access. I think it is a personal failing of mine.

Tuesday's Meeting
So, Tuesday I have a meeting with our third-party accountants. They are good people, sorely tried by the hackneyed corrections, lack of procedure, and so forth. I am already practicing a speech that I do not believe. This speech exonerates the basement from most culpability. I plan to apologize to the accountants for all the confusion because that is what a leader does--takes the responsibility.

My speech also assures the accountants that things will be better going forward. For reasons of loyalty and professionalism, to streamline operations between the basement, myself, and the accountants, I must give it. But I don't believe it.

Ann T.'s Department of Corrections has all the conditions necessary for a shit-kicking, shiv-in-the back fight. I also think somewhere, my words or facial expression will betray me. I will know it. I find it hard to forgive myself these things.

I can get everything corrected up to March 31, but I cannot guarantee that they won't all go to hell again by May 1.

This is why I am asking for advice. Somebody knows what's missing in this evaluation . . .


Momma Fargo said...

What's missing? A person with higher intelligence other than myself to help you there. Sorry. Got nothing here. Handcuffs. Shiny things. That's about it.

Slamdunk said...

The race goes to those who persevere. You demanding that things be done right and holding folks accountable may be a bumpy ride at first, but the end of the game will feature the "team" hoisting you up on their shoulders for a victory lap.

On the third party accountants, if they are like ones that we worked with, they are used to challenging financial systems and will be floored that anyone is making changes for the better.

Bob G. said...

Maybe if I were to be there alongside you, toting "BESSY" (my 12 gauge pump) and having a BIG smile on my face as I wear my "Zombie-Hunter" T shirt...that might get their "attention".

Seriously though, if YOU have done all YOU can, then any further responsibility falls back to can't carry these people through life (or any committee).

Sooner or later THEY have to "ante up" to keep playing the game, as it were.

You've charted their course, but THEY have to man the tiller to get there.
Simple as that.

Keep the faith.

Ann T. said...

Okay, I think what I get from Bob and Momma Fargo is a little the same--quit worrying about their reactions and get some distance.

And from Slamdunk, the perseverance, which, I am definitely into that.

I can do this.

The Observer said...

Ann T:

Go get'em!

Think "Hoosiers"...

The Observer

meleah rebeccah said...

"I ate chocolate and enjoyed the sun."

Yeah, that IS a Lovely Weekend indeed!