Heat and Pain

Much disquiet at work this week, some of it highly practical; more of it to do with how people are feeling.

My contribution was to characterise my job as seeking and feeling operational ‘heat and pain’ and checking in with everyone that we think it’s proportionate and justified.

If all you do is react to ‘heat and pain’ you never change anything. But if you create too much of it – or create it needlessly – you can do a lot of damage and stop helpful progress dead in its tracks.

In one exchange I pointed out to someone the importance of ‘bedside manner’… Telling someone the facts of how badly broken their leg is – and how you’re going to screw bolts into it in five places – may have seemed to them the most important thing… but people also want you to rub their hand and show them you care.

In the big rooms, where ‘big people’ talk ‘big decisions’, all to often any sense of how it ‘feels’ and what ‘heat and pain’ it’s causing is absent.

I felt out, explained to people and fixed a lot of heat and pain this week – especially with a big heave on Friday. I’ll fix some more next week.

That’s the job.




Friction: the force resisting the relative motion of solids, fluids and materials moving against each other.

A week of friction, heat and bother. It’s a mug’s game to try to move things faster than contradictory natures allow – but I fall for it every time…

People, organisations and situations exert a constant pull. So the occasional ‘moonlike’ bound forward is illusory – gravity always pull you back to earth.

Easy to think you’re doing the Lord’s work; trying to fix what needs fixing. But fix things too fast and people complain: “What’s going on, what are you doing, you didn’t tell me, what does it mean for me, why?”

As so often, slowing down a bit is probably the answer. Fix less, explain more. Then who knows? Perhaps less will need fixing. 

At the very least, there’ll be less friction from the atmosphere.