Minutes and trust

Subject: Minutes and trust
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 1996 21:46:00 EST

I haven't seen a thread this big for some time. The thread seems to break
down into the camp that advocates doing it anyway, because it's just another
part of the job, and into the group that rebels against being thrust into
the role of secretary. The first group says that the second group's members
are prima donnas, while the second bunch fires back that it's unprofessional
to do clerical work just because you're there and capable of being intimidated.

I started wondering what made each situation occur on any given project. Why
would taking minutes at one meeting be demeaning at another, and it seems to
me that the human dynamics involved are the determining factor. In a word:

In an environment where the intent seems to be to make a tech writer do the
grunge work just because he will swallow pride and comply, that trust
evaporates and the struggle for ascendancy begins. In an environment where
everybody pulls some onerous duty and minutes fall on the hapless tech
writer just because nobody else can type, then the chore doesn't seem so
bad. It's only when you're the only one out shoveling the stable that it
seems to be scut work. When everybody shovels, it's just another task to
perform. The question doesn't seem, at base, to be "Who's going to do the
damned minutes," but "Who's going to be on the bottom of the stack, if
there's to be a top and bottom?" Taking minutes in that environment is just
another test of dominance. And in my mind it's supreme folly for a leader to
ignore that complication on his team. If I hear Eric Ray correctly, his
point about queing up at Kinko's in response to being made to take notes
wasn't prompted solely by his resentment at having to take them; It was in
response to being made to do "the thing that nobody else wants to do,
because Eric's automatically the subordinate one on this team, by virtue of
his title." When you're facing a dominance battle, however subtle, and
you're being handicapped before you even walk into the conference room, it's
time to que up with Eric, IMNSHO, because the poisoned project will now make
it hard to even get up in the morning. In this case I don't see taking notes
as objectionable in itself, but it can be the bellwether for ongoing and
nasty infighting.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
FrameMaker support ForeHelp support

Makers of DuoFrame, giving you online help and paper
documentation from a single parent FrameMaker document.


TECHWR-L List Information
To send a message about technical communication to 2500+ list readers,
E-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send administrative commands
ALL other questions or problems concerning the list
should go to the listowner, Eric Ray, at ejray -at- ionet -dot- net -dot-

Previous by Author: Re: Re[3]: note taking
Next by Author: Re: Online vs. Hardcopy documetation
Previous by Thread: Knowledge management
Next by Thread: Re: MS degree programs

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads