One of the hardest things about change, especially at work, is questioning what others take to be normal.
I so clearly remember that feeling of waking up to the madness of busywork, trying to talk to others about it, and watching them close down and close ranks.
There is an almost bullying collusion about clinging to “the way we do things around here” in most workplaces. Challenging office norms is seen as deeply threatening.
This starts at an early age. I am about to deliver a talk to the sixth form at my daughters’ school this Friday. The sixth-formers are allowed to not wear school uniform but are required to wear “office appropriate attire” which for the boys means cheap suits and for the girls a world of confusion!
“Office appropriate”. Two seemingly mundane words with so much behind them.
But it’s all stories. Appropriateness is a story. Normal is a story. We make them all up. Other people make them up. Other people assert their stories over yours.
They say that madness is being in a minority of one. I reckon it’s a sign of sanity. Make sure the stories that make up your sense of normal are your own and not other people’s!
2 thoughts on “Normal”
Well, the new organisational ‘normal’ that is non-hierarchical and without managers is slowly starting to spread – and get noticed more widely.
I wrote about it here: http://www.enliveningedge.org/columns/the-hot-management-trend-of-self-organising-workplaces-without-managers-will-left-or-right-be-first-to-embrace-it/
It’s interesting that Gary Hamel believes we have disempowering residual beliefs – and they are the only reason we don’t see thousand of non-hierarchical ‘Next Stage’ organisations: http://www.enliveningedge.org/media/business-thinker-gary-hamel-tells-bbcs-companies-without-managers-how-residual-beliefs-sabotage-self-management/
Reassuring that being in a minority of one is a sign of sanity! 😉
I shared this gem from Einstein the other day which I reckon captures the problem!
"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." – Albert Einstein