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managing Healing

by | Jan 12, 2021 | Healing, manage, The Partridge Family

We moved to Florida when I was 10, halfway through 6th grade.  Younger than my peers by at least a year, small to begin with, from Texas, I didn’t fit in on many levels. The Partridge Family started in the fall of 1970 just as I was entering the 7th grade, and my Mom made some new pants we saw there to help me manage the “new” world of Florida – loud, plaid, and large “bell-bottoms”.  I cringe to remember this now but I know they were meant to help, but it only added to the oddity.  And I started to realize how “different” was not that easy to manage

…. if you have seen the movie “Big” there is a pivotal line where Tom Hanks’ character invites his “girlfriend” to come back and be 13 again.  She says, “Oh..No. No. I’ve been there before.  It’s hard enough the first time.”  When I work with leaders, this is an interesting place to return to – the pivotal events in their upbringing that they have often never talked about.  It is on the edge of “therapy” and I try to stay clear of it, but often bits and pieces will show up.  Many are still trying to manage based on their own perceptions of success and career that were formed in these tenuous years, often never reassessed until… things are not what they appear….

Reuben Kincaid was the manager of The Partridge Family, an odd frenetic role that typecast the actor for his career…because it fit him so perfectly.  Dave Madden was Canadian by birth and was raised by his aunt and uncle in Terre Haute in the late 40’s after the death of his father.  He had a serious bicycle accident at 13, those difficult teen years, and while recuperating, found magic and comedy to capture his creativity even while his body healed.  He attended a year of college there in Indiana before joining the newly formed Air Force, traveling to Tripoli in Special Services, before returning to Miami for a degree in communications in 1959, the year I was born.

He moved to LA and bounced through various roles on shows including Ed Sullivan and Laugh-In before landing a role in 1970 as the neurotic managing foil for Shirley Jones and her mythical family trying to navigate the times and the record industry.  His “chemistry” with Danny Bonaduci fueled many of the storylines, and was, in fact, real.  He invited him to move in for Healing when Danny’s real family went through some major problems while the show was being filmed.  A storyline about a bet between Danny and Reuben quitting smoking resulted in Dave actually Healing that addition for the rest of his life.

Management is ultimately helping guide and direct people and teams towards goals they may or may not believe they can achieve.  I was reminded again yesterday in a conversation with someone that has the gift of building bridges between teams… who can’t see it in themselves.  The line I use often is “What is ordinary to you is extraordinary to others”.  I tried that on them… and the puzzled look I saw was something I see often.  And I experienced it again myself also recently…

While my career experiences have given me many talents, one constant thorn that I have never Healed is … fitting in. It comes from those days in my early teens where, while different, fitting in appeared so much more satisfying.  I know my drive, courage, and curiosity come from those challenges… and why I tend to migrate to the underdogs, those that don’t fit.

The project I have been shepherding has that dynamic, and I have been noticing that as I have been getting more and more engaged, I am like Reuben:  neurotic and always scheming up things that don’t necessarily make sense for anyone. I have helped us become a high performing team… and the knowledge that I am ultimately stepping away is starting to remind me of those days in Florida.  I have done all I can to Heal the issues I see… and that is not enough… my extraordinary looking ordinary … to me…

We are all looking for Healing, both for these unique times, and also for our own unique pasts.  I have heard of many leaders who have taken the bold stance to simply pull people together to … listen.  Just let people talk through their own experiences, and to share times that remind me a lot of the ’70s where everything was up in the air.  As you start to think about Healing for yourself and your teams, manage to take time to schedule part of your plan for just listening… before setting a course for what lies ahead… Healing that can hopefully help us all fit in, and return to home… as reflected in this thoughtful ballad – Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque…

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