I always think people are amazing.
People are determined, creative, driven, and then weird things happen when we put them in large groups or companies or political parties or gangs.
There is this wonderful theory that everyone comes into the world "creative" and then school and life sort of slowly beats it out of people.
And I think we all know this is true. It's clear as day, kids are curious, passionate, playful, ambitious, problem solvers. But each and every day we learn to hold our tongue, to do things like others, to not ask questions, etc
Similarly, I tend to think we also come into this life wanting to make a difference, to work quite hard, to feel proud of what we do, to learn, to collaborate, to be original, to be celebrated.
And then slowly School and Business life teaches us to conform, to be quiet at times, to not question things too much, to not get noticed , to avoid risk , to be the same as others.
And you can see this is true because as individuals, pretty much everyone I meet is amazing. They are sparky, original, interesting, determined, they call out nonsense, they speak their minds, they say they strive for better, they are well intentioned and determined.
But you stick 8 of these people in a meeting, or put one of them on a stage or a podcast, or interview them for a book, and these very same people say really silly things.
People say sentences that mean nothing but sound like what business people say , and everyone nods.
People say the very same things they've heard other people say, in the same way, as if it's the magic code of an organization. " We need to maximize synergies", "We all know we need to have one to one conversations at scale", "We need to increase CTR with data driven insights by destroying functional silos"
People in groups make bad logical decisions.
People in large organizations don’t stand for their beliefs and for what they know to be true.
People stop being brilliant and become compliant
People are utterly amazing , well intentioned , remarkable , devoted , focussed, but Political Parties, Companies, Societies, Committees, Community associations, Boards, Agencies.......can generally be woefully below the sum of their parts.
I wonder what could be done about this.
I wonder about the role of honesty.
Perhaps the first step is understanding the issue blamelessly and figuring out what's really going on.
Is hiding the best way to be safe in your company?
Is well informed robust polite debate welcomed?
Do people actively celebrate those who see things differently and come from different places?
Does outcome matter more than following processes religiously ?
Do people have a shared sense of vision or are they just hitting KPI's?
Do people feel involved and listened to?
Are people being made the most of, or fitted into boxes?
We should get so much more from people. But how?