A reflection is called for.
A couple of weeks ago I was quietly having the order of my internal organs re-arranged on the Bakerloo Line, wondering whether I might capture some “workplace myths” as a blog post. The stuff that is like a full set of fingernails on the blackboard of my patience. The unsubstantiated stuff that gets repeated over and over again until it becomes popularly accepted “fact” but is in fact complete guff. Heard at most conferences.
Between Paddington and Piccadilly Circus I came up with nine. Being a western-educated unit, that was like itching powder in my creases. I needed ten. So as I emerged from the sooty abyss I tweeted the question – anyone else have any #workplacemyths to share? I went off to my meeting. And while corporately cloaked, there began on twitter a fascinating experiment.
The response to the question was – on the scale of the universe according to workessence – phenomenal. The contribution spanned disciplines, sectors and timezones. People often tweeted their responses in bursts, returning later after more consideration. Remarkably there was little repetition. @LloydDavis recommended I use a document sharing to help build stories around the myths – which I still intend to do – but on this occasion it provided an opportunity to try out Storify.
The final captured tale of #workplacemyths is here.
My considered reflections on the experience are……
- Ask a question – seek inspiration from others, don’t make a statement – I didn’t offer any from my paltry list of nine until much later that day
- Ask the right question – there are many ways to ask the same thing: would you stop what you were doing to answer the question you just asked?
- When we touch our humanity it works – look for the question or issue that creates instant empathy and association, that we can respond to by just looking around us
- Humour – in the guise of the ironic, cynical and sarcastic – can galvanise others more readily than just about any other approach – the contributions were at times achingly funny, yet sadly realistic
- It’s amazing how quickly and powerfully a droplet can become a storm – don’t expect it to, but be ready if it does (ie don’t ask a great question and then go on trekking for a fortnight) – be able to keep it fresh – and know when to close it
- We can make a story out of inspired randomness – so we could storify a revolution
The myths are negatives, make no mistake. However in each there is the seed of a positive – something we want to challenge, want to do better, want to change for the better. An organisation could do a lot worse than take a long hard look at the Storify and reflect on how many shamefully apply to itself. The collective wisdom of the inspired contributors tells us that in most cases it’s a lot.
We know what’s going on. It doesn’t have to be this way. And so the next part of the story begins here.