I have been a little slow in getting back to the blog, but it has taken me a bit to fully recover from kicking off the Social Gravity World Tour in New Orleans at LASHRM12. Great show. Great people. Great food. Next we are headed to Boston for the HR Excellence Conference and this is also kind of an important gig for us.
We are rolling out some new content in Boston and while we are still in the kitchen cooking and mixing, this message is largely about authenticity, integrity and daring.
One of the questions at the heart of this message is, this:
Who / what determines who you are?
We are pretty susceptible to being influenced by the people and things around us…and if we are not careful, we can lose sight of what really matters to us.
We behave according to our title, rather than our identity.
We settle on someone else’s definition of success.
One of my absolute favorite books is Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving With Grace by Gordon MacKenzie. One of the things that has always stuck with me from this book is MacKenzie talking about his experience interacting with students. When he went into classrooms and asked kindergarten students how many of them were creative, nearly all of them would raise their hands. By 5th or 6th grade the number of students who considered themselves creative would be cut in half and by graduation only about one student per class considered themselves to be creative.
How many of us have just stopped considering ourselves to be creative…or catalysts…or leaders?
Most of the book is focused on the workplace and how hard it is to stay true to who you are and probably my favorite passage is on page 53.
“When you come into an organization you bring with you an arcane potency, which stems in part from your uniqueness. That in turn, is rooted in a complex mosaic of personal history that is original, unfathomable, inimitable. There has never been anyone quite like you and there never will be. Consequently, you can contribute something to an endeavor that nobody else can. There is a power in uniqueness…an inexplicable, unmeasurable power…a magic.
But if you are hypnotized by an organizations culture, you become separated from your personal magic and cannot tap it to achieve the goals of your organization. In losing connection with your one-of-a-kind magic, you are reduced to nothing more than part of the headcount.”
How can we help people hold on to their personal magic in the workplace?
How do we support people in claiming their unique role?