UPMA 2nd National Convention
Reno, Nevada July 21st – 27th, 2018LEARN MORE
Don’t you just love to be inspired? What a thrill it is to discover some new thing or idea that puts a fresh spin on your perspective and gives you a burst of energy and enthusiasm. You come away from the experience with a renewed sense of purpose, a strengthened determination to get moving making positive changes happen.
I remember when I was a young father. Kissing my pretty young wife and beautiful baby daughters, I headed out the door on my way to catch a plane. California was waiting, along with all the promise and exciting possibilities of my new detail. The future was going to be awesome. I had no doubt.
Turns out, I was right. Those precious little girls and their love-smothered baby brother would all grow up to be happy, healthy adults, and our little family would enjoy many, many wonderful adventures along the way. It was a career in the United States Postal Service that enabled me through hard work (and hardheadedness) to transform youthful idealism, lofty goals and inspiring principles into reality for the five of us.
Sure, there were other paths to personal fulfillment and prosperity; I had begun an earlier career elsewhere, but ultimately, decided to go to work for an organization I knew touched the lives of all Americans in some very important and practical ways. It was clear to me that our nation’s entire economy, and therefore its future well-being, was tied inextricably to the health and success of the USPS.
If that sounds somewhat melodramatic, so be it. As a communications specialist and media spokesman for the Postal Service early on in my management career, such idealism came in handy. My eagerness to contribute to something bigger had been spurred by a number of gifted leaders I’d had the good fortune to work for. My mission was to spread the good news and to do my part to help ensure the success of my employer and, yes, my country. Lofty? Sure. Inspired? Absolutely.
Fast forward twenty-eight years.
Those who attended our UPMA National Convention recently in Louisville, Kentucky, generally came away with the feeling that we have good people at the top. The PMG, COO and other key executives expressed what seemed to be genuine concern for the difficulties Postmasters and Managers are facing during these most challenging times. They helped their audience understand plans that are being implemented to strengthen the Postal Service and ensure its vitality going forward. As usual, they assured us that they would take our comments and concerns back with them to Washington, DC, where they would address each of them. Their presentations were encouraging; the information they shared, helpful.
But, was anyone inspired? Not really, I’m guessing.
Of course, that may not have been their goal in Louisville. They may simply have wanted to bring us up to speed, get our buy-in on their latest strategies, and solicit our continued support in USPS efforts to gain legislative relief. Even so, any chance a leader has to talk to his or her people is a chance to fire them up, to make them feel that their efforts are not only appreciated, but essential to success.
Especially during trying times, an opportunity to instill in folks a sense of excitement about their own involvement in the larger effort is an opportunity with great potential for the entire organization -- one that can either be seized, or lost. Inspired, or not, we move forward together into an uncertain future. UPMA, I think, must take heed as we complete our transition period and finalize the merger officially, permanently.
Though the path ahead is daunting, every difficult situation represents opportunities for good, too. We should be reaching out and touching, teaching and seeking to inspire each other at every turn. And, in particular, sharing the message that no one has to endure these tough times alone. Please, do not hesitate to invite nonmembers to become part of our family; offer them the gift of membership.
If something good is to come of all that we’re up against these days, let it be that Postmasters and Managers of America come together as a group like never before. Now, that’d be truly inspiring.
UPMA National Vice President