Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Each of Us is on Our Own Path

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Humility is the Key

Today, I received the roster of the section I'll be facilitating for the leadership development program we offer for brand new executives at our company. Uh-oh, I recognized a name. Uh-oh, we started working for our company around the same time. Uh-oh, can my ego take it that he's an executive and I'm not? Uh-oh, will my being his facilitator make him self-conscious with his learning?

That last worry, I'm pretty confident, was my projection. Will I be self-conscious in my facilitation with him, being among the learners?

Should I go ask to have him switched, I wondered. I sat at my desk, pondering what to do until I was distracted by the memory of a great trip to Milan that he and I were lucky to take. It was for an training class back in the day.

There's a photo of him with two female colleagues and me, all of us looking unusually European -- well, one of us was from Vienna, so she was entitled to look European. It's on my wall in my office.

Whoever's class he's in, should I invite him up to my office during a break to see a picture of us from a decade ago? Would he find it sweet? Would he remember?

Why did he become an executive and I, not yet? Usually, I console myself, considering, there are nearly 400,000 IBMers worldwide and only ~5,000 executives worldwide, and so it would be a huge deal to become one...especially in a technology company when my expertise and education are not in a technical field.

When IBM came to campus my senior year, I didn't bother to interview with the company, figuring, What would IBM want with a Comparative Literature major? How I got here is another story, to tell another day, but for tonight, I need to come back to the present and pray.

My Prayer

God, please let me be useful and of service to the 16 participants, who will be learning in the section I'm facilitating, beginning at 8 am on Wednesday, and going through midday on Friday. Let me be rid of my ego.

Let me help the learners have a wonderfully-rich, memorable experience during this milestone in their careers.

Let me treat my particular colleague well and be humble and confident in my facilitation. Let him and me be comfortable in our respective roles. Let me be pleasantly surprised by how we learn together this week, and by any other experiences that I can't anticipate or know ahead of time. Amen.

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