If you’re now realising the potential value of investing in and committing to the creation of a D&I strategy that generates real cultural change, you might be wondering where to start. I have a suggestion for you.
What struck me is the prescience of the message. First published in Germany in 1927, the book deals with themes that are highly relevant for the Western world today, namely that bourgeois sentiments of high ideals create separation from the realities of the human experience. Intellectual arrogance breeds contempt and, in the Steppenwolf’s case, he realises he has sacrificed real human connection, in all its messiness, for the sake of high-minded pursuits. Could Hesse foresee the societal conditions that led to the rise of European Fascism in the 1930s? Isn’t this what the recent election results have been all about? Hasn't the writing been on the wall for some time now?
As my son and I strolled home after having seen Doctor Strange yesterday, we discussed the possibility of incorporating some of the story’s messages into this week’s blog. It’s an interesting time for such a story to appear on the big screens. Without giving too much away, the journey of Doctor Strange is littered with compromises between personal and professional integrity. When is it OK to break the “rules”?
Sally Helgesen, author and speaker, and Julie Johnson, leader in executive coaching, tell story after story in their book, The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, of how women in senior positions warned of the impending troubles. Instead of being heard, they were branded spoilers at the time and Cassandras after the fact, prophesying disasters over which they had no power to prevent.
According to Seth Godin, it’s always your turn. In his book titled, What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn), the essence of his message is simple. It is always your turn to lead. It is always your turn to be a contribution. It is always your turn to be fearless in the face of fearful situations. It's always your turn to live your life as a work of art.
Perhaps you’ve got an idea for a movement, but you don’t know how to get it off the ground. Whether your movement is for business or pleasure, it’s possible you’ve started and have come up against a roadblock that you just can’t seem to circumnavigate. You know you need help, but you don’t know where to begin. I know just the person who can help you get started - John Stepper, author of Working Out Loud, the idea he put forward in his book of the same name. Working Out Loud is a treatise for movement makers, disrupters and those who want to create something new, big or small, and engage other people to join in.
Ryan Holiday, director of marketing for American Apparel, has taken the principles of the Stoic philosophers and applied them to leadership in his book The Obstacle Is the Way. He demonstrates how the great leaders throughout history have, knowingly or unknowingly, applied the principles of Stoicism, and it’s the application of the principles that enabled them and continue to enable them to achieve greatness, overcoming seemingly impossible odds.
This works perfectly in a jungle scenario, but it doesn’t help much in modern society. Imagine the scene. Chimps in business suits screeching, slapping and scampering around a meeting room in response to decisions that don’t go their way. Chaos, right? Some might argue that their business meetings very often look like this! You can see it clearly. It’s the imagery aspect of Prof Steve Peters’ book, The Chimp Paradox, I find most compelling and most useful.
The Devil shows Hill exactly what tactics he uses to keep people trapped in the mire of being unproductive. Experiences, especially strong emotions like fear, anger and jealousy, habits like procrastination and devices such as propaganda keep people under the thumb of the Devil himself. Institutions like schools and religion help the Devil carry out his work, by taking away people’s power to think for themselves nice and early - as children.
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