Business Heroes and Heroines are all around us. They tame dragons every day. Can you recognize them? They don’t need a lot of celebration, but, hey, once in a while, yes, celebrate our Heroines and our Heroes. Are you one? What are the elements of the Heroes’/Heroines’ journey?
Life as usual has been disrupted somehow. The disruption is tolerated for a time and if minor it could be tolerated for awhile. If significant, and especially if it is increasing, there comes a time when we hear…
- Something needs to be done (said by many with varying degrees of emphasis) This is the first component and without it, nothing changes. Everyone knows about the disruption but beyond that we just get grumbling.
- Someone needs to do it. ‘Someone’ must provide the right action. Not like changing the weather which none of us can do. But no one has yet moved a muscle. Lots of rhetoric, noisy, no action of substance.
- If this is going to get done, I need to do it. Oh boy and gulp. Someone steps forward to take on the challenge (oft referred to as ‘the dragon’). There is fear that our Hero/Heroine won’t survive and huge relief from all who were too terrified to have stepped forward themselves. It is an emotional time.
- At the edge of the abyss, (could be the hallway to someone’s office door) we imagine the roar of the dragon. The people are holding their breath. The Hero/Heroine swallows hard, steps into the pit and calls out the dragon, publicly naming that which is disrupting. Smoke is seen coming from the abyss. Sometimes, at this point, a few may join the Hero/Heroine, to back them up.
- The Hero/Heroine calls, “dragon come out!”, though not initially with full confidence. The longer the dragon delays, the stronger our dragon tamer feels. When the dragon does come out, it is very rarely as big or fierce as expected. In many versions of this journey the exposed dragon is a small, pink, fluffy toy with a megaphone. A conversation brings agreement that the dragon will stop disrupting the people. The dragon is tamed
- The people all proclaim how they tamed the dragon, congratulating each other, sometimes even forgetting all about the Hero/Heroine. There is great celebration
The dragon could be a person behaving in a disruptive way, a procedure that disrupts the flow of the business, a method used to assign vacation times, the way the telephone system operates, many things. Yes, the boss can be the dragon too, though less often that most would guess. Can be the Hero/Heroine as well.
Where are the Heroes and Heroines? What is the nature of the culture of an organization within which most people feel safe to step into the role of dragon tamer? What would need to increase/decrease in order to have your organization become a more fertile ground for Heroes and Heroines? What would you most benefit from adopting in order for you, yourself, to more often step into the leadership role as Hero/Heroine? What would you most need to celebrate in order to embrace those moments when others stand as Heroes and Heroines? What, for you, would be some celebrations that might nurture and show gratitude to the dragon tamers in your organization?
Joseph Seiler MCC