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Train of Thought...
October 2006 - Dichotomy!

By the time you read this, I will be immersed in my study as to whether the lifestyle or the food and wine is the key to the longevity of the Mediterranean folks and allowing the romanticism of Paris to sweep me away. All right, I will really be trying to avoid dog poo on the pavement and snappy little dogs hiding under café tables!

I have been struck by the dichotomy in life as I have been preparing for this trip. Whether it be learning how to use my new camera, finding out about art and museums or dealing with work issues as I try to get problems solved before I depart. Everything is a balancing act. As I have come to grips with digital photography, I have learned that the sensors are very unforgiving and, like slide film, have a very narrow contrast range. In figuring an exposure, it is necessary to trade off detail in shadows and / or highlights for detail in the key element of the photo, whether it be a mood or an object. So often the impact of the image depends on the inkiness of the shadows or the brilliance of the highlights providing a foil for the detail of the principal image. With digital photography, I am finding I have to trust my creative judgement to a much greater degree than when working with print film.

Similarly, there is a tug of war between striving for perfection in business cases and documentation and generating something that will achieve its aims, but may still have blemishes in it. At the end of the day it is preferable to have a functioning document rather than one that is still going through drafts. Each iteration may improve the quality, by a lesser degree with each version, but does it really improve the effectiveness? Learning how to recognise something is "good enough" is a not an easy lesson to learn, but, once learned, it is a very valuable lesson indeed.

I am also having to get a number of projects to stages that they can become self sustaining while I am away. This too reveals a conflict. Deep down most of us want to feel "indispensable" and this drives us to spend too much time attending to things we really should delegate. We train those who work for us and, if we have done our job well, we must trust them to deal with issues in our absence. The better we train them, the less will our absence be noticed. That is success! If we have doubts about trusting our team, that demonstrates failure on OUR part not theirs.

As I head off, I know I have done the best I can and have absolute trust in my team to deal with issues as they arise. Their solutions will almost certainly be different to mine, but solutions they will be. Viva la différence!

In the meantime ………

K

October, 2006

kevin.gain@health.wa.gov.au

 

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