A colleague from many years ago was looking through old presentations I had up in slideshare and wrote the following:
Among the many charms and pithy paradoxes of your slideshare presentations, today I enjoyed responding in a new and, I hope, insightful way to your slide that says "The Poetry of Process / The Beauty of Bureaucracy." That's one I would like to have heard your witty words on in the moment you put the slide up.
Would I be right to take that as brightening the hue of Max Weber's sociological lament on the "iron cage" of bureacracy? As in, learn to work with it? Even, "Love it All?" Enjoy the art and craft in the human side of organizational life. Make a vigorous sport out of winding through mazes on tilting floors. Appreciate the complexity of forming alliances for shared and individual aims. Rather than whine about bureaucracy and "process", why not sing a soulful ballad -- an ode to human toil and striving in mission-rich organizations.
Is that kind of it?
After all, we're awfully lucky to get paid -- and paid nicely -- to work for such wonderful places. We spend our days tending to the bright side of life. And that's a big part of why we attract major donors who underwrite our museums with their money, their time, and their good names. So let's work inside our organizations with the same kind of care we direct outside: let's be discerning, be appreciative, and be strategic with museum colleagues as well as donors and volunteers.
Am I getting it?
Quite a slide there! The first time I saw it a few months ago, I laughed a bit. This time I stopped and thought more. I like the second viewing!