Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hold the mirror

How do we get managers to change? (You know, if it were not for them, everything would be just fine.)

We got this question in a class on Friday.

My immediate answer, maybe an intuition, was to quote part of this:
"...the purpose of playing, whose
end, both at the first and now,
was and is, to hold as 'twere
the mirror up to nature:
to show virtue her feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure."

These are part of Hamlet's instructions to the players. Before they perform. "The play's the thing wherein we'll catch the conscience of the king." For the fuller instructions, see here:

So, like the little boy in the old story, it will become clear that the emperor has no clothes. And the foolishness will be clear to all.

ScrumMasters, just hold up the mirror. Make it transparent.

We will say, in passing, that Scrum is a drama in real life.

Now we come to the Man in the Mirror. And these days, many of you will immediately recognize a reference to a Michael Jackson song. I personally am not the biggest fan, but one must say "in form and moving how express and admirable!" And so many wonderful songs. Such great dancing. And such fun in his performances.

So, these lyrics:
"I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways

Less poetically, "I am starting with myself."

See here: And a video here: (The song is wonderful; the video is somewhat over the top, but one can feel the yearning of the people to be free. Such yearnings also have been used by the dark forces.)

By your own actions, you can show them. And, despite some things, their better angels will often lead them to follow you. Not because you became their boss, but because you are right, and you carry the truth. The truth is not yours, but you carry it for awhile. And with that illuminating power (again, not your own), the darkness fades away.

And we thought business was all about facts, and money, and power, and share prices. No: it starts with getting people to stop being stupid (which we always are, part of the time).

For a more common-sense way of expressing the same thing, read Taiichi Ohno. For example.

If you feel, now, within your heart a sense of urgency, go and make one small change. Today, or maybe tomorrow. Love is less that drug emotion than the work of days and hands.

PS. The early phrase -- that the managers are to blame for everything -- was said with irony. They are people, just as we are.

1 comment:

Joe Little said...

Of course, the "man in the mirror" comment must now be looked at with some irony, given later events with Michael Jackson. As always, at some point the metaphor breaks down.

Still, let us praise the recently fallen. He had a heart. And god could he sing and dance.