Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Meatloaf Doesn't Lie

Personally, I like the meatloaf. I can't get enough of it. Which is a good thing, because we're getting a lot of it at the moment.

I had a funny thought about that. Well, not hilarious. But, worth a giggle.

But first, please don't blame the workers at the Food House for the problems with food supply in our stores. They're working as hard as they can. I know a couple of them from the Hot Bar at Southern Village. And they're good people.

We've got problems at the moment. For sure. But, are we going to get through them by snipping? Or by sharing, listening, understanding, and pulling together as a team?

But I digress. The funny about the meatloaf...

You know, the problems at the Food House aren't with the staff we have. They're with the staff we don't have.

First, the machinery wouldn't work properly. We fall behind schedule. We go over budget. Then, we lose staff. Now, we're looking for more cooks. Bingo. Problems with the food supply. But, you can read all about it in this month's Customer Newsletter.

Anyways, the meatloaf...

That's weird. The Newsletter just says the Food House will be up and running by the end of September. Hmm. I thought we were already 'up and running'?

Look, this meatloaf thing was a blast...

Another two months? Aren't we in danger of losing customers? Maybe it was a good thing I suggested to the Board that they might like to have a look? After all, that's why they're there. To keep a watchful eye. Maybe they'll pull us together, and get us all on the same page?

But, the MEATLOAF...

Another thing. Maybe we'll get the full picture at the Annual Co-op Employees' Meeting, which is due to be held soon?

But wait, I'm hearing a rumor that meeting will now be broken up, and different ones will be held in each store. I sure hope not. I think it's better when we're all together. Plus, I had a couple of ideas to make the meeting a bit more inclusive.

Like having a vote on another rumor - should the stores stay open until 10.00pm? And letting the Worker-Owner Candidates for the Board address their fellow workers for about 3 minutes each. Boom. More democracy in 15 minutes than we've had in 15 years?

I mean, doesn't having different meetings sound a bit like 'divide and distract,' rather than an opportunity to pull together as a team?

Ok, ok. What about the meatloaf?!

You know what I like as much as meatloaf? The truth. I don't have a problem with it. And I really don't have a problem with facing the truth about me.

I know there are those who think my being...hmm...blunt?...well, it might push people away, and mean that we get even less done.

What can I say? I'm straight-forward, because sometimes it's the only way to get peoples' attention. Is there any other approach which, at the moment, is getting our co-op leaders to pay attention to the questions we have?

Besides, once I'm sitting down with people who are - at last - listening, I am always consensual, and we get things done. Not least because the air has been cleared, and we all understand each other.

And every time I do sit down with people, I look forward to what I learn from them. It's not just about me getting my message over. It's about my paying attention and listening, too.

Believe me, I've been doing this for 30 years, with activist organizations and non-profits on both sides of the Atlantic.

I did it with the WSM Elections Task Force earlier this year. And I'm doing it now with the Development Committee of our Community Radio Station (WCOM 103.5 LPFM).

I don't push these people away. Far from it. They've told me: they genuinely like knowing exactly where I stand, and truly appreciate learning things they might otherwise not know, because other people are sometimes a little nervous about raising the issues with them.

So, breathe easy. But, don't take my word for it. Feel free to ask them yourselves. And then, if you still have questions, why not ask me -

One last thing, while we're here. This isn't about my personal ambition. I'm 52. I gave up personal ambition when I stopped being a lawyer, started composing, and joined a co-op. This is about me helping some of my mates, because I know how to pull some levers they don't.

And now I've completely lost my train of thought...oh yes...the meatloaf!

So, I was thinking. Staff shortage. More meatloaf.

You know. More meatloaf. Staff shortage?

Grinding? Yes? No?

Fine! I'll change to the Chicken Stir Fry...!!

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