The Unbearable Helplessness Of Managing

Photo by Robert McGoldrick via Flickr

I wanted to write about super-strategic leadership today. So proud of my little diagram, wherein I organize all work around one of four things, and eliminate the rest:
  • Purpose, or strategy
  • Process, or all things efficiency and organization
  • People, or the employee or engagement or human capital
  • Communication -- the center of it all, the part that makes everything else work - and yes it lacks a "P" word.

Can't do it.

We've been going to the nursing home once a week. My husband goes more often, because we're visiting his mother. But even the once a week is difficult.

When we go there I notice these...things. All of them have to do with helplessness. I see the old people, what they go through. It's almost as if I am them, wearing their slippers with the little rubber-grooved soles and it shoots my smug little attitude right down.

They play 80's music in the dining room. On an old-fashioned little black boom box. Mom absolutely hates that music. The nursing staff likes it though. It stays on.

I've gotten in trouble a few times in the nursing home. Because I move people's wheelchairs here and there when the nurses don't come -- the old people yell for help. 

The nurses try to be nice. One said, "I know you're trying to help. But it's a liability."

Someone threw up at the table in the dining room. We sat there, watching her heaving and gobs of brown liquid dripping down her chin. Nobody noticed for a while.

Her name was Beatrice. She was gone the next time we visited.

An overweight lady asked me for apple juice. I kept bringing it and bringing it, cups and cups. What did I know. They were so small. And again, it seemed like nobody was listening.

A nurse said to me, "She's on a special diet."

Today is Friday, and the government may shut down next week. I've been trying to ignore it. Say motivational things to my team.

But now I'm feeling kind of helpless, sitting here. No control over all the shenanigans going on. No magical diagram that's going to save us. No insight or argument that makes a difference in the world.

In the nursing home the people are dying. Some of them loudly, some of them watching a Presidential address on TV.

* All opinions my own.