At the weekend I chanced upon a blog post by Bob Sutton (he of the ‘Good Boss, Bad Boss’ book). Bob wrote about Diego Rodriguez, who is a partner of a company called IDEO. Diego had shown people at his company a short Youtube video clip and told them:
‘this is what leadership should look like at our company’
Take a look at the video. It’s a 2 minute clip of a the American national anthem being sung at an NBA game. A girl of 13 had won a competition to sing it. The man you’ll see in the video is the coach of one of the teams.
I loved this for a whole number of reasons:
1. It demonstrates courage and humility
What the coach did was show courage to walk out in front of everyone and support the girl. That sounds easy, but almost everyone would normally sympathise but stand and watch. And the coach then had the humility to beat a hasty retreat at the end, rather than stay and milk the applause.
2. There is too much rubbernecking at work
It made me think of all the times in work where people stand by and watch someone struggling. Or they don’t stand and watch but instead haul people off the stage. For example, if that was a workplace, how often would we watch the girl, and say ‘well, she has been over promoted, we’d better not put her in that situation again, she can’t cope‘. Or ‘I need to put her on a performance improvement plan‘. But do we actually roll our sleeves up and sing with them until they find their voices again?
3. Videos of real stuff have impact
I can write down all the eloquent company values statements in the world, but jotting down a few words and then using a video to demonstrate that value, that has proper resonance. How great it would be to have the list of company values illustrated by short video clips, like this one, that show what the words mean. (And I just mean, real clips, in all their messiness; not manicured corporately pr’d clips). Since I’m about to take part in forming a new set of values at my place of work, I’ll see if this idea has legs.