First published in November 2017.
This is the request we make at the beginning of a Viral Change™ programme. Forget your function and your hierarchical position. You are participating in the social movement representing yourself. The leadership of the organization has asked you to participate and you are a champion/activist, holding a key role because of who you are as a person, not your role description. And, if highly connected and influential champions have been found via anonymous peer nomination (as we do) then your power is significant, whether you are a manager, a supervisor or a porter.
There are not many instances in the organizational life where people are called to help, to a mission, for who they are not for their position in the organization chart. It’s novel, to say the least.
The role description that people have and their hierarchical position in the system, dictate pretty much what they do. But those glasses (those sandals) de facto limit them. A community organizer, sports school coach, or organizer of an amateur theatre group in the evenings, has unique skills and qualities that may be completely lost at 09:00 am every day as soon as she wears the Health and Safety supervisor hat, for example.
We need to engage more and more people for who they are, and that entails a serious desire to find out! It’s extremely healthy to ask, what would Peter look like (do or say) if he left his HR sandals at the door? It would be magic to try.