the bricks and mortar of personality

image

New Orleans seems a chill out, fun loving city. It’s French heritage giving it a relax and ‘take it easy’ style, which it marries with a party hard and ‘be who you are’ mentality. It’s unique, it knows it and it’s proud to be who it is.

Memphis seemed a city proud of its heritage – it’s musical and black freedom roots at its heart. Yet somehow stuck there, in its past. Desperately holding on. Maybe scared or unable to change?

Boston seemed a confident city. Wise, relaxed and fun loving. Proud of its foundations and confident of its place, yet not shouty. Not, ‘come look at me’.

Washington seemed noble. Clean, sharp dressed, well presented. DC knows its role and presents itself with dignity, as if putting on a good show for the parents. It’s not forced though, just befitting of its status.

Nashville, it seemed to me was trying to grow up. Musically the home of country, now trying to become a modern city. And in that growing up, a little confused. Like any teenager.

Chicago seemed to carry a weight. Heavy. It seemed to be trying, perhaps too hard? Architecturally a little confused. Working city, tourist city, modern city, industrial city. Its race to build taller, seeming, in contrast to Boston, to be a ‘look at me’ stance, almost like the second child.

Cities seem to have personalities, like us.

Personalities grounded in their past, like us.

And if our personality doesn’t fit our city, I guess we move on? Or rebuild ourselves?

quit your job today

second-job

Many of us come to work and do two jobs.

One, we get paid for.

The other we do to survive. We spend time and energy looking good, making sure our boss and our colleagues like us, appreciate what we do, can see the value we bring. We spend time and energy hiding weaknesses, making sure any inadequacies are kept buried from view, protecting our vulnerabilities. We spend time and energy manoeuvring through the political and cultural slime of the organisation, hoping to escape its quicksand-like pull. We spend time and energy concealing mistakes, showcasing successes, managing and preserving our reputation. We spend time and energy on relationships that might protect us, on gangs, tribes and clans of people like us.

This second job gets a lot of attention, but largely goes unnoticed, because we all do it and we all conceal it. It’s like an unconscious game we all have to play, because anyone who doesn’t play may lose out.

What if our organisations were able to shift so that openly bringing our whole self to work was encouraged, so that mistakes, errors, weaknesses were seen as opportunities for learning and personal growth? Not learning to develop our weaknesses per se, but freedom to acknowledge them with equal weight to our unique abilities. Learning that we’re good, able, confident people really and learning that this ‘other’ job is directed at preserving a myth. The myth that we need to do that job at all.

We could all stop. All quit this second job. Together. Now.

This is an underpinning thought behind the concept of
the Deliberately Developmental Organisation here