I feel for my Supervisors past and present. I mean, it has to be trying at times to look up from their work and see me standing at their door, leading with, “Have you got a few minutes? I’ve been thinking…”
You know, I think that’s it in a nutshell; I’m always thinking. Where it came from I can’t say, but each day I find myself looking to make improvements in the way the services I and my team deliver. Most of the time the creative ideas I have are limited to my own workshops. You see I consider myself fortunate to work in an organization which allows each of us workshop facilitators the freedom to deliver content using our own materials, provided the overall message we deliver is consistent with others.
Every time I run a workshop, I find myself looking at handouts I’ve made in the past and wondering if there isn’t a better way to communicate whatever the topic is. Sometimes an improvement means simplifying words, adding some colour to make things more interesting to read, or finding just the right photo or illustration for the visual learners in a group. There are times as well when I just feel something isn’t working to my standards and I scrap what I’ve got entirely for another approach.
These changes are personal ones of course. They don’t impact on my peers unless of course they ask me for permission to look over what I’ve got in order to see what they themselves might like to duplicate and use in their own presentations. Sharing of resources is encouraged where I work; it’s one way we come to appreciate each other’s talents and as no one person knows everything about all things, we acknowledge it’s a good way to learn other approaches and inform ourselves on subject matter at the same time.
Some of the ideas I have for change however are of a different nature. Sometimes the ideas I have are systemic changes that if implemented would impact on the entire team and also have a residual impact on how our peers interact with us. For example, how referrals are made to the workshops we run, the pre-requisites for those participating, and the development of new programs altogether, responding to the real needs of those we serve.
Pushing for change is exhilarating and seems to be in my DNA. I mean, I don’t sit in my office and consciously say, “Today I want to make significant changes to the way we deliver our services. What can I think of? How can I be positively disruptive?” It doesn’t work like that. No, it doesn’t work this way. The ideas I get are often borne out of conversations with my co-workers, when we talk about how we currently do things and the challenges we encounter. Sometimes it’s learning about some technology and envisioning how, if implemented, would enhance our delivery. An idea might arise from a participant who made a suggestion or asked a question of me that began, “Could we …”
Oh yes, I feel for my Supervisors both past and especially present. My last Supervisor jokingly told me I was restricted to bringing her 3 new ideas a week. She couldn’t handle anymore. She’s moved on and upward and is now the Manager where I work, sitting right next door to my current Supervisor. I can only imagine when I leave after having presented, “another great idea”, that they must commiserate with one another, roll their eyes while shaking their heads simultaneously, saying, “Oh Kelly, Kelly, Kelly!”
Coming up with new, innovative and creative ideas is exhilarating and produces enough spark in my work so that things stay fresh. I feed off that process and it fuels my day. As those ideas pop up, I work through the budding concept, look at pros and cons, create and rework the idea, then want to act on it. When I present the idea however, the person on the receiving end hearing it for the first time may not be in the right headspace for something new. I mean, I don’t know what I’ve caught my Supervisor in the middle of. Presumably she isn’t just sitting there waiting for me to drop by and make another pitch for something. No, I may not know what she’s working on at any one minute, but I can appreciate whatever is on her mind, there must be times when she thinks to herself, “NOT NOW KELLY MITCHELL – please not now!” But she smiles, turns, and listens.
A lot of my ideas get rejected; some ideas take root and get implemented. This is the price innovative and creative people pay I suppose when not in positions of power to just implement all the ideas we have. Having your ideas rejected can do one of two things; stifle your enthusiasm for bringing forward ideas in the future or not.
Like I say however, I think this job as an Employment Counsellor delivering workshops has tapped in to my Innovation and Change chromosome somewhere in my DNA. Pushing for change does mean a disruption in the way things are done and not everyone is ready for change when change is proposed. Those that like doing things the way they’ve always been done precisely because they’ve always been done a certain way will attest to that.
I have to end now. I’ve just had another idea.