Making the inner workings of our organizational visible might be more revealing than professionally polished inspiration. As a former fire fighter, almost everyone who peeked into the fire department’s open bay doors was glad to be offered a tour. Their curiosity to see the fire engines, ambulances, emergency response equipment, and fire fighters in person enhanced their appreciation for the responsibility of the fire service.
How might we provide behind the scene tours that provide greater depth and dimension to our work. How might we engage our community with an authentic show-and-tell moment?
What if I told you a Tour de France rider made the leaderboard by receiving a penalty. What conditions would allow for such an occurrence?
Quinn Simmons is on the leaderboard for the King of the Mountain competition at the 2022 Tour de France with -1 points. Magnus Cort has won all the fourth category climbs, which offer one point for first place and no points for places behind first, and therefore is the current leader. As a penalty for riding off the course (on the grass shoulder next to the road to pass some other riders), Quinn received a penalty point and is listed on the KOM leaderboard, although technically he sits behind 174 other riders who have zero points. The irony is that the leaderboard added him to the tally for being behind.
It is convienient to say we are on the leaderboard, and it might be a true statement. However, being on a leaderboard is not always a sign of the highest ranking and overall performance.
Not all tracks take us on a remarkable journey. Some might be to a siding, rail yard, dockyard, or an abandoned line. When we strike out on an adventure, we are embracing the unknown. Worrying about ‘what if’ does little to depth and dimension to our experience. How might we ask ourselves if we are encountering a point of action or a point of information when we approach the next junction? It is easy to confuse an intersection of information for an action point and feel the urge to switch tracks. How might we embrace the ambiguity and serendipity fundamental to our quest?
How we welcome those we aspire to serve makes a difference, and it establishes a mindset and displays our core values. There is an opportunity to design with intention, engage, inspire, and energize. Equally, one can create the mundane, limit expectations, and secure the lowest common denominator. How do you welcome your team members? Is it unique and worthy of comment, or does it feel like roll call in a high school classroom?
Making a finished product visible is a challenge for any work in progress. It might be easier with a brick-and-mortar project versus creating something entirely new. If we can attach an anchor point, others can join us on the belay ledge and watch us try to solve the next pitch as we climb upwards. If we leave our audience too far below or out of sight, our progress is anecdotal, and it is harder to sustain momentum. How might we bring our fans along on the journey? How might we offer a glimpse into what we are creating and how it will allow us to make a difference?
Some items attract and repel (not a scientific definition of magnets). Yesterday, I used aluminum foil next to the microwave while heating up oatmeal. The aluminum foil pieces sailed off the counter. I was perplexed until I realized I had created an unsustainable environment in which these two items could not co-exist.
Consider the activities that are on your ‘not a chance’ list. It might be walking over a swinging bridge, teaching preschool, entering a burning structure, voting for a policy, spending money on a luxury, or eating a local delicacy. There are activities that we are not willing to try (or the condition have not forced us to attempt them).
How might we resonate with those who see our work as essential and not seek the attention of those who are not ready to engage?
Where you show-up matters. Selling flight insurance by the airport baggage claim, renting audio guides at the museum exit, or giving away the free gift before the timeshare pitch might not allow us to engage those seeking our services.
How often do we start or finish our conversation (and meetings) with a point of celebration? Even our problems can be high quality challenges that 99% of peer organizations in our sector would be desperate to contemplate solving. Mindset matters and our attention and work follows. Celebrate, even if it is a rainy, cold, headwind. It might make you stronger and certainly provides the foundation for a remarkable story.
What discussion and opportunities have you missed because they were postponed until the next meeting or there was not time on the agenda? What might have happened if the moment of creativity and insight was allowed to take flight in real-time? If all our actions are captured on a schedule, then when does ‘be remarkable’ appear in writing on our calendar? Perhaps we have the inspiration, strength, endurance, or ideal conditions to tackle the crux move today. What if we embraced the dynamic, now?