Friday, May 20, 2005

Staff Retreat Friday

The whole Growth Management Department participated in a staff retreat today. A break from answering phones, doing inspections, and reviewing development plans in order to get inspired and envision how to provide better service to the citizens of the County. The retreat was held at the nice facilities of the University of Florida's Austin Cary Forest, nestled within a giant well-managed and intensively studied longleaf and slash pine flatwoods system.

First observation, upon arriving: Two 2-3 year-old alligators sunning on the bank of Lake Mize next to the conference center's observation deck, and two adults cruising the dark waters of the lake (pond, really).

There is a walking trail around the lake with native trees planted and/or identified by permanent markers. During the lunch break several of us collected numerous wood ticks on our clothing and persons as we wandered among the trees looking at trees and toads, jabbering about local ecology, and telling stories from our college botany, wildlife, and forestry courses.

Part of the day's proceedings included watching brief DVD snippets of Steven R. Covey's The Eighth Habit, which our county management staff are studying at the behest of the county manager. Well, my Secret Of The Day is that in the early 80's, I sat in on a whole semester organizational behavior course at Brigham Young that was taught by Covey himself, and that I've sort of followed his evolution and trajectory from the early sort-of Mormon publication of the book The Spiritual Roots of Human Relations; his 1980's stint at the helm of Eagle Marketing; his growth days as a business organization and communications consultant; publication of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People; to finally, his Franklin-Covey company jugernaut of business efficiency/organization/motivation products.

I must say that Steven R. Covey has hewn close to his roots and principles and original message all these years. His presentation has changed with the times and his focus and expertise have expanded exponentially, yet his message pretty much has stayed the same. He ennunciated a good thing long ago, has built upon it, and has run with it all the way to the bank. It was a pleasure for this displaced Idahoan to hear that familiar California/Utah Mormon accent (listen to his R's sometime) way out here in sunny Florida.

But I'm not a business-is-everything, motivation sort of work drone, and I can take or leave all of that stuff in less than a heartbeat. [Shhhhh....Don't tell my bosses, I've put in for a new position and raise that would land me in that realm where that sort of thing IS everything.]

No comments: