Monday, March 2, 2015

The Idiot Box

Every place I've worked has tried new things. The brain-trust would get all fired up (including me) about new ways to organize work, communicate, and launch innovative ideas to differentiate the organization from the competition.

Every single one.

Think Outside the (Corporate) Box
I have a very different perspective on corporate life now. My job is to help companies take their brand to a world-class level which results in attracting talent that is also world-class. That approach requires the innovative thinking I used to talk about... a lot.

The challenge with innovative thinking inside the company is that there will forever be a set of norms, political realities, and tolerance for true candor. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm simply telling you it's there.

Don't tell me your shop is different. It's not.

You're Stuck in Your (Corporate) Box
Are you upset with me yet? Consider this...

How many disruptive leaders have you retained over the last five years? Did you identify them as someone who was pushing new boundaries and challenging traditional norms (that you had convinced yourself were the 'proper' way to be a member of 'your' company?) Or, were they labeled as not being a 'team-player' and sent on their way (or worse, felt they needed to leave) because they were no longer a 'good fit'?


It's Lonely Outside the (Corporate) Box 
Here's the tough part for those of us that have dared to step outside the norms and (barely) lived to tell about it. 

It's lonely as hell. 

The obvious challenge is that while we may see the changes that have to be made, we must also balance the pace of change with the reality of the corporate culture.

If we push too hard one day, it may be a bit awkward when we're sitting next to our colleagues ten more times the same week in an endless stream of (productive?) meetings.

How About You
You're not an idiot. You know the perils of finding your voice and pushing the boundaries and norms of your organization. You know you will be criticized, questioned, and challenged in a very serious way. You also know you're doing the right thing.

Leverage your network and trusted external resources for support. Sometimes those that can help you break through the internal self-talk that keeps your company safely it in it's little box, are not on this inside at all. Does your organization believe it's own press releases about being innovative and a good place to work? Who exactly is saying that? I bet it's not you anymore.

I'd love to here from you.

No Excuses.


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