I’ve had a draft blog post sitting in my “back office” for quite some time and its time to bring it out! It started some time ago after hearing a great talk from Emmy winner and news commentator Byron Pitts who spoke at NC States’ MLK celebration. He stated loud and clear for all attending that “Every dream has an address!” And, for Pitts, his initial path to news reporter/commentator was across the street at CBS News. For others the path may be more distant. In any case, Pitts explained that you needed to identify the location so you could get there!
So why bring this out now? Let’s talk about dreams – my niece Melanie (known as Mel) just completed a solo swim of the English Channel on Wednesday, August 22. Mel started under the stars in England and made it to France almost 14 hours later and swam 25 miles. (Here she is with the Dover to Calais ferry in the background.)
INCREDIBLE, FANTASTIC, AMAZING, and the list goes on!!!! What got her there was a dream – she’s had a dream to swim the channel – her address was THE ENGLISH CHANNEL – and she did it! Mel will now go wherever she decides with the knowledge that she can get there. I think this was also the message from Pitts – once you get there – you can go anywhere.
So, how does this idea of “having a dream that has an address” fit with the work of an ombuds?
People have goals (shall we say dreams with an address) in their day-to-day work and for their careers and, for the organizational ombuds, people come to see us when something is interfering with their travel plans! While in the work setting is perhaps not as grand a dream as swimming the channel, yet it is so important to each person each and every day.
We ombuds help people clarify their own understanding of their own dream, we help them figure out the address, and help them come up with options to get there. We do this work from a place of neutrality/impartiality that allows us to support without taking a side. Holding this “middle” helps us help people consider aspects they either didn’t think about or don’t want to think about. Yet to get to the address they are dreaming about, there is often a need to deal with uncomfortable issues. Just like 14 hrs in the water and 25 miles. (Here’s my niece on the beach in France.)
Finally, while you think about your dream and its address, let me also think about the “Dream and Address” of the NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds? It’s both a location on the map (the faculty and staff ombuds office !) and, it’s the idea that NC State will continue to learn how to resolve concerns and conflicts in a manner that enhances the workplace and takes the university from good to great to extraordinary!
Contact your ombuds today – GO OMBUDS!