Bob Justman, “Making a Difference in the Workplace.”
Bob Justman was a middle manager at KVIE public television station in Sacramento, California. He spoke of what a difference the practice made in his life, helping change many attitudes and approaches he’d grown up with, and accumulated in a 20 year career in the US Air Force as a Master Sergeant before going to work at KVIE.
He initially struggled with doubts that he could make a difference in his work place, one which he cared passionately about. He began by holding lunchtime workplace dialogues (with higher management’s permission) to begin to rebuild connections and healthy patterns of conversation amongst departments and colleagues on general matters of shared concern and interest. This turned into shared learning groups that implemented skills of the practice in the workplace.
This brief email describes conversations he had shortly after getting the results of the annual employee survey. Bob died after a short illness in 2007, but is held in fond memory.
From: Bob Justman
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 6:00 PM
To: Steve Wirth
Subject: KVIE Employee survey
We’ve been doing annual employee surveys for a number of years. This year’s survey came back the best ever.
People are more happy, more trusting of supervisors, and feel better about the company and its policies and goals in spite of the difficult year it’s been and the promise of an even tighter year next year.
Our CEO told me he was surprised because it has been such a difficult year. I told him I wasn’t surprised at all because I can feel the difference in how people treat each other. A person who was our HR manager came back to volunteer a few days ago and she told me she could feel a difference from when she was here.
And I was worried about not being able to make a difference from the middle management position! If you didn’t know it before, folks, all this stuff we’re telling people really works!