Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Josh Kelly: How to Be Better

Over the past four weeks I've been able to observe two important management events. The costume staff participated in end of the year performance reviews. The process is simple with a single-page document of questions, filled out by the employee and the costume shop management and discussed in a meeting. In discussion with the staff, I get the impression that it's the time to talk about what's not working and what could be better. In DC we do this twice a year.  It's a process I dread. We have four pages of questions, a grading scale, and personal goals that must be set and accomplished in order to even achieve the possibility of a pay increase. When I described our process at the lunch table, I got responses such as, "That would be great" and "We don't have that sort of merit increase."  On further discussion, I began to appreciate our review process. We are actively initiating a process in which we learn to be industrious.  I may not be here if there weren't an incentive for me to set educational goals and try to realize a goal to become a more complete crafts artisan.

The other event I witnessed was a full costume staff meeting without management, where we broke up into smaller groups, compiled a list of successes and concerns about the season's productions, brought them back to the larger group for discussion, and appointed a few representatives to take those comments to a meeting with upper management and other departments. It was a great thing for me to see where the build process wasn't working and how to get it fixed. I heard from members of wigs and make-up, wardrobe, and the workroom. I especially liked hearing from the people that came forward as natural leaders of the group. In the end though, I had to laugh. My small group concluded that it's the same everywhere. We all wish we had more money and time, that deadlines should be honored, and that communication is key. The group did come up with some great solutions on smaller issues. I suppose each little victory is how we change our world.

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