Monday, April 12, 2010

Remonting the Office 4/12/10

Remonting the Office
Weather -- Heavy cloud cover, snow
Temp -- 31F at 11:15 AM Wind -- 2-3 MPH

Two weeks ago they started to remodel (remount) the Mission office Library room into an office for the employees, Olga and Pyotr, and making a conference room for meetings. This will create a larger entry/waiting area for visiting missionaries and guests to give them space and keep them from wandering around the office and impeding the work.

This project started a year ago when two of the employees' supervisors came for a visit and said that all employees, including the accountant, needed to be together in a single area. That idea was rejected by President Mickelsen and seemed to die, but here the wishes of a superior do not die easily.

The idea surfaced several times during the ensuing year until a couple of months ago when Sasha Ozherelev announced that the library was going to be converted to offices and only a small supply of the materials from it would be stored in my old work area and the space formerly occupied by the copier, fax, and supply cabinet while the majority of the supplies would be stored in shelves newly constructed at the Left-Bank chapel where Sasha has his office. This is several miles away, would require longer-range planning/control, would mean Sister Gushchina would have to work in both places, and would take most of her stuff out of her control.

Sacha made the drawings, he and President Trejo agreed on the plan and Sister Gushchina was surprised when instructed to move her supplies out of the library in a hurry for the construction to begin in a couple of days. Sister Cindy and I did not know that she had such a short time to act on those instructions or that she needed help, and we missed an opportunity to support our friend; not good. No one offered to help her and only the office elders came to her rescue quite by accident because they happened to be working late and saw she was in trouble. It was very unfortunate.

After the rush to move out, Julia was finally brought into the discussion and pointed out some flaws in the plan which caused plan B to emerge. Olga and Pyotr didn't like that one and plan C was born. Sister Gushchina didn't like any of the plans, but that didn't have much impact on anybody. Each successive plan was rejected by one of the parties and finally President said, enough! Get it done and get my office back in operation.

The construction is a week underway and will take at least another week. The limited supplies are being stored along the hallway, sorted and reorganized; some staying and some going. The branch supplies are under Sister Gushchina's care in the old paper supply area and the mission and office supplies will be under Sister McCauley's care in my old work space; and it is a bit of a shambles. Pyotr has a "ton" of public affairs stuff that he hasn't used in years that will have to go somewhere else; maybe under his desk.

Several lessons can come out of this. One of the big ones is how you merge two cultures within the Church. You need to either make your best decision and ignore the discontent as has characterized Russia for centuries or involve all the players from the start and negotiate the best plan you can manage. Either way, someone will not like it, but in the latter case it will not be a surprise and no one can say they were not consulted.

Change is difficult and in this mixture of Russian and American attitudes towards authority, planning, and change, it is doubly difficult. I missed several opportunities to help Sasha in this process by not interfering in his job. If I had it to do again I would learn from that mistake. Regardless, the project should be finished by month's end and everyone will move forward.

What a country.

1 comment:

Trisha said...

Change is hard. I hate it. moving stuff around the house is one thing, but an office well that is another fish all together. It is true that not all parties involved will be happy. It is very hard to please everyone. Soon they will move on and forget how it used to be. Are you ready for your BIG change?