Systems. We've heard a lot about highs and lows and weather systems in the last week or so. I still don't have a great sense of why the storm took a turn and how I went from being on the dirty side to the other side to the dirty side so quickly. But I do know some dynamics of organizational systems that certainly proved true over the last few days:
The past is always present.
-- We saw Katrina and we feared it would be us. Someone was even foolish enough to suggest that the jammed interstates were "our Superdome." I think that was a bit much, but still recent history probably pried more than one person off the couch.
Organizations have personality.
-- "Let's use our inside voices" must have been the behind the scenes mantra of anyone getting in front of the media's microphones. We were told calmly to remain calm. We were told patiently to have patience. We were told with Ma and Pa Kettle practicality to have good sense. Even the mayor deepened his Ross Perot like cadence to make his "better safe than sorry" sound reasonable.
Every change changes everything.
-- I left a flood zone to head toward a region that eventually flooded, left power to wake up to none.
Solving a problem can make things worse.
-- 23 hourse on an evacuation route that should have taken less than two.
Strategic points of leverage exist.
-- When you're in a Pathfinder and there's a median you can cross, you cross it as well as traversing fields to find bathrooms and country roads to find gas.
Organizations change in order to stay the same.
-- We may have been evacuating, we may have thought we were running for our lives, but we weren't going without Pop Tarts, Cheez Its, and our favorite pillows.
Feedback is everywhere.
-- The red pick up with the pug dog had my young co-rider enthralled. I'm glad she missed the driver shooting the bird to the news helicopter overhead. I'd hate for her to lost all her heroes!