<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Update for November 03, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> November 03, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

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Hello friends,

Did I tell you all yet that I do a boatload of emails and phone calls? I think I did. AnywayÖtheyíre all over my notes again, so consider yourself reminded!!

Monday morning was incredibly busy. Both Ruth and I came into the office early to get work done before our team building trip. I spoke with a former supervisor about his pay ďissues,Ē which is always a delicate conversation. I also spoke with Dave Sprague and Grant Anderson regarding some work Grant will be doing for us in France. Weíre still working through the details, but Iím fairly certain it will all work out in the end for Grantís participation in an English language conference.

I spoke with Ward Simpson with NAATS, and set up a conversation with Wally Pike. I discussed some personnel matters with Susan Grundmann, and talked to Rodney about the election process and the Liaison and Tech Rep guidelines heís developing. I expect we will move on those at the next NEB meeting.

From there, it was off to team building, and that process will make this one of the shortest updates youíll ever read. We arrived Monday afternoon in one piece (even though I rammed the RVP car with the Presidential limo) and immediately began the process of creating a tight-knit, cohesive fighting unit. To say that we succeeded would be the height of understatement.

What we did this week is not private, but it is proprietary. In order to function effectively as a team, we have to trust each other. And honor each other. And cover for each other. And exalt each other. And catch each other. And help each other. We must also have the faith and the freedom to speak without encumbrance, and the assurance that goes with confidentiality. Suffice it to say we went a long way towards learning that this week, and NATCA went a long way towards a National Executive Board that works, thinks and acts together for the good of every member. I really believe that.

I think we each went into this week with a lot of personal baggageÖsome checked, some carry-on. Youíll be happy to know weíre going to build from that luggage a union you can be proud to be a part of. Weíre going to plan our work, work our plan, and focus on communicating with each and every one of you each and every step of the way.

By liberally stealing from the course materials, maybe I can give you a glimpse into the leadership team we have assembled. You see, Iíve found out in my short tenure here in Washington just exactly how easy it would be to just do it all myself. All of it. No NEB. No EVP. Just me and the staff. No shared decisions, no shared successes, no shared disappointments. The easy way out.

Like OJT in the field, itís much easier to do it yourself! Like teaching someone to drive, or to play golf, or to knit. Itís just much easier to just do the task alone than it is to do collaboratively. And the results? Well, you can count on them, right?

To prevent dictatorships; however, the challenge to top teams is to try to learn to practice the role of a ďholisticĒ leadership. This requires looking at the organization from the perspective of the entire business rather than the narrower function or region for which a person is responsible.

There is little training for becoming this kind of leader. But at some point, as your leadership team, weíve got to walk across the bridge from being responsible for a function or a region to being responsible for NATCA. Each of us, personally responsible for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

This shift in thinking can lead to a healthier and more robust contribution to the business. In organizations like ours it is easy to blame the business or itís leaders for our troubles. The Facrep is to blame. The RVP is to blame. The Reclass Team is to blame. The Region is to blame. Theyíre all to blame, right? But when you lead holistically, you shift from a focus on the problems and begin to consider what can be done to solve them.

Holistic leaders support others and celebrate their successes. They are willing to challenge and to change where necessary and give up the temptation to complain and gather evidence of failure in others. Holistic leaders work with others to create an environment in which change can happen.

Itís sometimes helpful to compare attitudes. Individuals who are not typically considered holistic might think:

--Iíll just wait it out. Another change will come eventually.
--Working for collective success is not in MY best interest.
--I havenít been given permission to be a leader.
--If I worry about NATCA, my own needs wonít be met.
--If I want to get ahead, Iíve got to watch out for myself.

While the typical approach of the holistic leader might seem like:

--If itís not working, what can I do?
--Whatís best for NATCA?
--If this were my money, would I spend it this way?
--Whatís the best use of me by NATCA?
--How can I develop so Iím ready to take on the next level?
--Who needs my support?
--How can I act, and demonstrate, the kind of NATCA I want to build?

As crazy as it may sound or seem, leadership isnít about signing the checks, or getting the business cards, or moving things swiftly from the in-box to the out. Leadership is about finding the answers to the holistic questions posed directly above.

Having said that, until an organization has a clear vision, thereís no direction or clarity. Individuals create their own goals, agendas and strategies. People self serve. The organization is pulled in many directions with little sense of progress.

But a vision is not enough. Unless the behavior and the direction is aligned with the vision, the energy leaks out in all different directions without changing anything. Power is disbursed and the results are continually disappointing. Lip service is paid, people pretend to go along, and untouchable issues lie untouched rather than risk the discomfort.

Alignment takes more time than the lazier approaches to leading and managing, but the energy and results that come from true alignment are more than worth the effort. Agreements are important, but they are reached by negotiating and making compromises. Alignment is more powerful because different approaches are acceptable as long as they are aligned with organizational goals. A combination of both, agreement and alignment, is an unbeatable combination.

Thereís more, much more in what we learned this week. Iíll probably liberally sprinkle my updates with it in the coming weeks and months. I can assure you, no more important task was before us than to take twelve disparate individuals and link them by word and deed to each other for the betterment of our union. We succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, and I can only imagine the victories which lie waiting, just over the horizon.

In other news before I go, the protest of the EVP election has been officially, completely and legally withdrawn by the charging party. In a separate letter, Mr. Schwitz has advised me that he wishes to be excluded from any further proceedings with respect to the rerun of the run-off election. Mr. Schwitz wishes to remove his name from the ballot. The National Executive Board will consider these two pieces of correspondence during our regularly scheduled Monday Telcon.

I took most of the day off to decompress and take some of Jillís visiting family sightseeing, which is why Iím back in the office at midnight, typing. Next week is a busy one, for each of us. Iíve got two regional meetings to attend, and a pile of issues I need to take over to the Agency.

But in the rush of it all, donít forget to VOTE on Tuesday, November 7th. Your future is in your hands. Please vote, get your families to vote, and ask your friends and neighbors to vote. I visited the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials today, and choked back the tears again, staring down at the gash in the earth, across the polished marble, into the abyss of names. Men and women who gave their lives for the freedoms we now enjoy, for the diversity which makes this nation great. Heroes who laid down their lives so we could rejoice in the autonomy and independence of the ballot box. If you donít feel like voting for yourself on Tuesday, do me a favor: Vote for them.

I hope this finds each of you healthy, happy, and looking forward to the coming holiday season. More flights, more travelers, and more opportunities to prove time and again that you are the very best in the world at what you do. Lucky meÖI knew it all along.

JTB <!----End Text Field **************>

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