A company is
—among other things—
Just as Shakespeare once said
—all the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women
when we first start our company,
we cast ourselves into roles.
What we forget
is that there is no script.
we mistake scripts
from other plays
as our own.
Which leads us to think
that we know what a CEO
is supposed to be like.
To think we know
what a CTO or a COO
to be like.
To think we know what a father,
to be like.
The question is
“In which play?”
There comes a time
in the lifecycle of an organization
—more than once—
where we need to revisit
Not merely to redefine them,
But also to start writing
our own play
all of us want
to be in.
We play “designer,”
when we act to fulfill an emotional need.
Wish to fulfill your need for communication with those far away?
Play “designer” to design a mail system.
We play “judge,”
when we blame someone.
Wish to label someone at fault?
Play “judge” to peruse the evidence & make a decision.
We may play them well or poorly,
but once we become aware of these roles,
they are available for our choosing
from moment to moment,
even if they’re not on our business cards.
The question is “What role do we want to play?”
Whatever our answer,
it’ll profoundly affect our sense of identity.
The sense of who we are,
from where our thoughts & behaviors
will naturally flow,
at least temporarily.
As much as salespeople would like to sell,
Customers have no obligation to buy.
In that sense,
When we want something from others—
Even if we merely want them to listen to us—
One could say that we’re (momentarily) in sales and
They are our customers.
If so, let us notice how we sell,
When we want our children to clean their room,
When we want our employees to do a better job,
When we want our clients or patients to implement our strategy.
Ever walk into a dealership
Only to walk out,
Because you didn’t like the way they sell—
Even if you loved the car?
Unless our customers are unwilling or
Unable to say “No,” to us,
If we sell a particular way,
It is only natural that they won’t buy.
Perceiving people merely in their roles makes it easy for us to take them for granted in that moment.
You’re my mother, of course you cook for me.
You’re my child, of course you obey my orders.
You’re my employer, of course you pay me.
You’re my employee, of course you work hard for me.
You’re a doctor, of course you cure my ill.
You’re my patient, of course you do what I tell you.
The more we strip away the roles and see eye-to-eye, as human beings, the easier it is to appreciate each other.
The less appreciated we feel, the more resentment we let build in our relationship.
The more resentment we let build in our relationship, the more difficult it is to perceive beyond the roles.
Thus forms a vicious cycle.