December 2012

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December 2012

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

Expressing Appreciation

One of the latest Facebook trends I opted out of was to update your status each day in November with something you were thankful for. This made me chuckle. If you have read my recent missives, you know how I feel about telling people their value. By reducing it to once a year, it leaves things open to doubt when times get difficult.

The nation’s recent election saw another interesting trend on the “book of face” -- unfriending over political views. The vast rhetoric being spewed by both sides of the political aisle on and around Election Day brought to light some interesting personality traits that resulted in mass “unfriendings,” according to news reports. Frankly, while some of my friends had political views that I found polar opposite to mine, others shared views that were much like mine. I was surprised by that as well. In the end, they are still my friends because diversity brings flavor to life.

People surprise us. As an organization of individuals and companies, USITT is an amalgamation of thoughts and ideas. That is our strength. But in this world, where it seems someone who holds ideas and opinions contrary to yours must be evil and shunned, we are a rarity. It is a great thing to speak with the leadership of the organization at all levels and hear respectful dialogue, disagreement, and resolution. Without that kind of willingness to listen, we would find ourselves mired in the same intransigence as Congress, perhaps.

USITT has its own politics, factions, and interest groups. Any organization bigger than one person should in order to be healthy. But the health comes from those groups listening to each other, finding common ground, and moving forward with what is best for the whole. This is something we have done successfully for many years now, and we are poised to do so for many years to come.

It doesn’t mean we sit around the fire holding hands and singing while making s’mores and call it a meeting. It means we engage each other in communication and build upon the best of each other’s ideas. It means we listen and ask questions to get to the root of people’s concerns rather than decide we know what they are thinking. This is a far more laborious style of communicating and rather difficult in an instant information age society.

As we approach the end of the year, I’ll express these thanks: Thank you to all of the members of this organization. You speak so that your voices are heard. You support the Institute not only for what you get out of it, but what it does for others. You care for each other in times of need regardless of location through both physical support and emotional caring. You defy everything the last election cycle showed about our nation. Regardless of political belief or viewpoint, you value each other for the creative, innovative people that make a diverse organization. For that I am thankful, and I hope you are, too.

David Grindle

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