Are there flowerpots in your urinals?

I’m attending a conference in Grapevine, Texas this week, and I was reminded in a humorous way how important it is to be flexible.

The Gaylord Texan Hotel knows how to be flexible. I’m attending the Education Forum and Annual Meeting of IAAP. There are about 1,500 attendees and 99 per cent of them are women. The hotel intelligently switched the Men’s Room into a Ladies’ Room. They cleverly “disguised” the urinals with pots of flowers. Very smart. They adapted to the changing needs of their audience.

As professionals we need to do that, too.

While I’m here, I’m networking and spending time with people I enjoy, some of whom I’ve “met” online. Frequently people will introduce me by saying, “Rhonda and I know each other from Facebook.”

Amazingly, I’ve heard several times, “Oh, I’m not on Facebook. I see no reason to be.”

Then I paid attention to what sessions people were attending and I heard things like “I don’t have to update my Outlook/PowerPoint/Excel skills” or “I don’t have to attend a session on iPad because I’ll never spend that kind of money on a toy.” And so on.

We need to be open to new technologies and flexible about new ways of doing things.

How many times have we heard someone we work with say that the reason she isn’t attending a training session the company is paying for is because, “they can’t teach me anything I don’t already know”? Hearing that stuff curls my hair!

A couple of years ago I started World War 3 on Facebook because I initiated a conversation about how the rules in English have changed. It is now incorrect to leave two spaces after a period in a sentence. One space is correct. I admit, that is a tough change, but I did change—because it is the “new” right way to do things.

A recent conversation online about wearing hose vs. bare legs brought out many traditionalists and strong opinions. I read some very strong words about why we shouldn’t change because “there was nothing wrong with the old way so why should we change?”

Well, it also used to be socially acceptable to smoke at your desk, not put children in car seats and to talk on your cellphone while driving.

Times change. It isn’t about being right or wrong. It is about being flexible in changing times.

I am not necessarily the first person to adopt every new technology or  fad. However, I do pay attention and I’m flexible when I need to be.

You don’t have to be on Facebook, you don’t have to learn every shortcut in Excel, nor do you necessarily need an iPad for work; but you do need to be open to doing things differently, in a potentially more efficient and effective way.

I am sure there were some women who wouldn’t go into the Men’s Room because “that is the Men’s Room.”

A lot in life can be improved if we are a little flexible. I got a chuckle yesterday morning, and a new outlook on my day because I was.




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