Saturday, July 31, 2010


The title of the particular technique above is especially poignant for this entry, given that this week we've had a few major events. From the Japanese, the nearest literal translation is "Order from Chaos" - something that shows direct parity with our current state. On Monday, we finally heard our assignments for the coming year. I will be stationed in Washington, D.C. as a municipal functionary, along with no less than 4 other classmates in the same office. A total of eleven of us from this cohort will populate various Municipal, Non-Profit, and Federal agencies across the metro area, and I daresay that - in and of itself - will be an amusing adventure. That said, in a strange serendipitous twist, a good friend from high school, who's younger brother lives right inside the area, happens to have a place to rent me and so that was worked out with all due haste, and I don't have to worry about the landing pad when I get there. It remains to be seen whether or not I will manage to have time (or money, energy, or all of the above) to get back in the dojo while there. Stay tuned.

Adding to the chaos -> order progression was our reading this week of Jim Collins' book "Good to Great". Prof. Sermier's voice was a constant track in the background of my mind as I went through this book: in regards to executive pay, 'getting the right people on the bus', 'what is essential to the mission of the organization', but then, just last night, he told us this is the management book he would have written had he ever been given the opportunity to write one. My mind is filled with new concepts, and how they relate - connect all the dots - of all the points that we've been learning across the courses: The Hedgehog Concept, The Flywheel versus the Doom Loop. Buildup and Breakthrough, and the 'Stop Doing List'. In a few short hours, the fairly simple language in the book could easily be understood, and re-presented visually, as a road map for take companies from just successful, to industry leaders.

Now is the mad dash to find places to live, hunting for NUF alums from previous classes who are willing to lend a hand while we adjust to the new arrangements, and getting read to leave NYC while still trying to make sure that we finish our PAF 9120 papers due in August. I am almost completely decided on leaving my apartment and finding something else on the other side of the mentorship, unless, of course, they ask me to stay there, which is entirely possible. I'm slightly distraught at being forced to leave my pets with my sister, though, I suppose that's necessary for now. There has been much speculation about whether or not we will all make it through the various odd assignments, the research paper writing, the intense work schedule, etc, during the next twelve months. My personal feelings, following along with my budo training, is that work is work. You do what needs to be done, and reserve your deeper emotions for family life, and those close to you. Understand that statement means nothing at all about having passion for your work. We absolutely should, and it would be futile to enter public service lacking it, however, I hear several of my colleagues already becoming slightly unnerved by the prospect of what needs to be done. Having already been there - twice - perhaps I'm just a bit jaded.

Through all of this, one song has continued to play in the background of my mind for the past week. The Great Satchmo, Louis Armstrong:

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