Analysis Of Crowns

Sunday 15 December, 2002

Simran & Dev arrived at 09:00 and we listed the agenda items for today. The priority was the preparation of a report for Karaj’s lunchtime meeting with a client. Simran, Dev, Harriet and Priya were all involved with Karaj and I, working together on the final corrections to the report. I became irritated because I thought time was running out and we had to make all the corrections, but of course, I had forgotten about a similar process we had gone through with a previous client. Steady and meticulous. It doesn’t matter how many times we visit.

A learning point from the work was how I block people. Dev made a point and I corrected him when there was no need. All I had to do was LISTEN. Dev needed to have been more insistent. Polite & forceful. ‘Yes I see what you’re saying, but this is my point…

At 11:30 Karaj and I set off to visit the client. We cleared up the remaining queries and returned three hours later. Simran, Dev and Ishwar were working. After a rest, I helped Simran write out the letter to Marian, which Karaj had dictated. At the same time I was keeping an eye on Ishwar and Dev, which I found quietly empowering. Being focused is a much less stressful way of life than you think.

We sat for two hours in the afternoon to do our weekend appraisal. I made the point once again that the appraisal needs to be more challenging. Indeed, it did become more challenging. I blocked Ishwar in the same way I had blocked Dev this morning but no-one picked me up on it. I had to challenge all of them about it. They were not with it. Lazy.

Karaj joined us and we went straight into another two-hour session, going through exactly what is required for the board meeting. Karaj began with a quick overall picture, showing how it will take us 19 hours to complete the work.

At 20:00 I helped Simran make cards for his sons and, once we had all completed the weekend appraisal, we spent a couple of hours helping Shona make three crowns for her school play. I cut out all the shapes, Karaj decorated one crown, Simran and Dev another and I did the third with a little help from Shona. Ishwar did his usual trick and stayed on the outside helping everyone here and there; not fully committed.

We finished the day with a supervision session until 23:30, with an analysis of the crown-making process. I had enjoyed myself but had not let myself go. My crown was, as my Divali card had been when we painted them last year, simple and austere. Karaj called it intricate. The Dev/Simran crown was similar. Karaj on the other hand had gone for it. He had considered the overall purpose and, without fear or self doubt, had simply created; all without any attachment to his work. He even complained that it was rubbish and that he wasn’t enjoying himself. There was no dialogue between the men, as there had been none yesterday with the tablecloth incident.

Karaj left us to consider this question: What is it that he does differently to us? He told us that if we can see that – and it is simple – we will know why we are in so much pain.*

At the end of the night, I was left feeling annoyed. I verbalised my annoyance but did not say why. (It was partly to do with not being able to answer Karaj’s question to us, and partly because Simran and Dev were now staying the night.) When Dev decided to leave, however, I felt lighter because at least Simran just gets on with going to bed, whereas Dev tends to be like a child – like I am sometimes – and does not want to go to bed in case he misses something. It’s annoying and I have had to tell him before, to go to bed.

At half past midnight my annoyance lifted. Michelle’s unexpected arrival (to hand in her yearly appraisal) took me out of my head and I was able to relax.

Summary: maintained the focus and the challenges with everyone, and saw how passive they all are. Didn’t let myself go with the creativity (for fear of messing up) and maybe that’s why I was annoyed (with myself!) at the end. Just do it, and have some fun. Express myself.

* Two days later I made the following addition to this entry: Karaj does not care what others think; he makes a decision and, once the decision is made, he wastes no time or energy doubting himself; he simply gets on with it and, above all, he is not attached to the process or the outcome.


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