Monthly Archives: June 2015

What does a Closed Door Mean to You? 

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My last blog about Open Door Policies sparked a lot of interesting feedback.   In this blog, I would like you to think about what you do when you come to a closed door.   You could say that now the shoe is on the other paw[1].

Permit me to share a personal perspective.   Current policy in my residence prohibits me from using human beds.  When I am left alone in the house, doors to all bedrooms are closed to prevent my entry.[2]  Until recently, I would usually give the closed door a hangdog look, accept my fate, and move on to less desirable accommodations.  But recently an amazing thing happened.  I gave the door a little push with my snout and guess what?  It moved and opened a crack!  The door was not latched, and with another push, it was wide open.  What happened after that is a confidential matter. Let’s just say it was worth the effort, and now I have a new leash[3] on life:  I never assume a door is closed until I have given it a try.

What are the closed doors in your life?  A challenging job opportunity that you assume is out of your reach?  A strained relationship that you have given up as lost?  The perceived road blocks to finishing your education?

What would it take to give your closed door a little push?  No doubt, it would take strength and courage.  Push too hard or too often and you might end up with a bruised snout.  You might confirm what you were afraid of all along:  the door is tightly locked and you have to move on.  But you might open a path to the place where you have dreamed of going.  What do you really have to lose?

Only you know if you will be content to sit and stare at the closed door forever, never knowing what might have happened if you had given it a try.  Is it worth the personal risk to give it a push?  It is your decision.  For my part, I am glad that we dogs are a bold and action-oriented species.

Moi?

Moi?

Your best friend,

Harley

[1] Borrowing lyrics sung by the great folk singer Judy Collie, I’ve looked at doors from both sides now, from open door policies to pushing on closed doors.

[2] Where is the trust?

[3] Yes, I am violating my own “no dog pun” rule.  However, I would rather be known to have succumbed to a silly pun than to have committed a malapropism.

What is Your Open Door Policy?

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What does an open door mean to you?  To us dogs, an open door can be an opportunity or a threat.  It can be the gateway to adventure, but also a path to danger.  An open door can also be a portal for an unwanted visitor.   When the front door of my house or the gate to the yard is open, I know it’s not really open for me.  My team has made it very clear that I should not leave the property without human supervision.  Some of my canine colleagues have also experienced the electronic fence that is not visible.  Just when you think the way is clear, you get a nasty shock that keeps you in your place.

The benefits of an open door in the workplace are well known:  improved communication, faster access to new information and stronger working relationships.  What is your personal[1] open door policy?  You may declare that your door is always open but your team may perceive something quite different.  If you are wondering why no one is walking through your open door, perhaps you should look inward.   Do you give visitors at your door a “What did the cat drag in” look? [2]  Is your office door like the electronic fence?  It looks like there isn’t a barrier to entry, but those who enter will inevitably get zapped.

Think about taking it outside. Step out of your office and talk to members of your team rather than wait for them to come to you.  Walk around.  You don’t need an agenda; just say “hello” to people and ask how things are going.  If your office is located with senior leaders rather than with your team, realize that coming to your office may be intimidating for them.  Consider having a satellite office that is more accessible, maybe with a regular schedule, even if it’s just an hour a week.  And make sure your administrative support is not blocking access to you, either to protect your time or to send the message that it is not in the employee’s best interest to raise an issue with you.

Think about the message you are sending:

No dogs allowed_edited-1

or

Now that's more like it!

Now that’s more like it!

I would love to hear from you about how you keep your door open.

Your best friend,

Harley

[1] It goes without saying that a formal written open door program for an organization is an essential tool to enable employees to report conduct or conditions that may violate law or important company policy.

[2] Cats are known to drag in the home things that are very undesirable to humans, such as a dead mice or birds.  In contrast, we dogs only drag in that which is desperately needed and desired by our human partners, such as a tennis ball,  a Frisbee or a stick.