At the client end, I facilitated a session earlier this morning with a set of new joiners to the organization.
A group of individuals with varied degrees of experiences, across different kinds of organizations – having lots of enthusiasm, energy, keenness to learn and contribute. One of the questions we asked as part of the introductions was to describe one / key few words about their experiences so far in the new organization.
And, it was wonderful to hear what they had to say – the key words being professionalism, nice people, spirit of collaboration, trust, organized, structured…. And, then – we asked few of the line managers of these new joiners (including a couple who had been there with the organization for 20+ years) to remember their initial few days and describe their experiences…
And, interestingly – some of them echoed the same words – especially – nice people, trust, collaboration. Reflected nicely about the organizational culture which has grown and sustained some core behaviours and values over time.
Also, few of leadership team members smiled at the comment of new joiners about the organization being organized – and mentioned – it’s not as great as the initial impressions…
Towards which I smiled as well and remembered the story below and thought of sharing…
“One day while walking down the street a successful “Head of Operations” from the company “XYZ” was tragically hit by a bus and died. Her (his) soul arrived up in heaven where she was met at the Pearly Gates by St Peter himself. ‘Welcome to Heaven,’ said St Peter.
‘Before you get settled in though, it seems we have a problem. You see, strangely enough, we’ve never had a Head from your organization make it this far and we’re not really sure what to do with you.’ ‘Can’t you just let me in?’ asked the Head of Operations. ‘Well, I’d like to’, said St Peter, ‘but I have higher orders. What we’re going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in.’
And with that St Peter put the Head of Operations in an elevator and it went down and down and down to Hell. The doors opened and she found herself stepping out on to the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of her were all her friends – all the other Managers, senior leadership team members from the company XYZ that she had worked with over the years. They all looked young and glamorous and were dressed in splendid evening dress. When they saw her, they all ran up and kissed and hugged her and they talked about old times. Later, they played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner. She met the Devil, who was actually a really nice guy (just a bit misunderstood), and she had a great time telling jokes, singing and dancing. She was having such a good time that, before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook her hand and waved good-bye as she got on the elevator.
The elevator went up and up and up and opened back up at the Pearly Gates where she found St Peter waiting for her. ‘Now it’s time to spend a day in heaven,’ he said.
So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds with all the other angels. They taught her how to fly, how to sing and play the harp, and fed her the most sumptuous food and drink. Once again, she had a great time and, before she knew it, her 24 hours were up and St Peter came and got her.
‘So, you’ve spent a day in Hell and you’ve spent a day in Heaven. Now you must choose your eternity,’ he said. The woman paused for a second and then replied, ‘Well, I never thought I’d say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great, but I think I had a better time in Hell – and besides, all my friends are there!’
So St Peter escorted her to the elevator and again she went down and down and down back to Hell. But this time, when the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth. She saw her friends, who were now old and decrepit and dressed in rags, and they were moaning and groaning as they picked up the garbage and put it into sacks. The Devil came up to her and put his arm around the woman.
‘I… I… I don’t understand,’ she stammered. ‘Yesterday I was here, and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and danced and had a great time. Now all I can see is a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable.’
The Devil looked at her and smiled benignly. ‘Ah yes,’ he said, ‘but you must remember… yesterday we were recruiting you… today you’re staff.’
Food for Thought
1. Do you know – how is YOUR Organization perceived? How can you find out!
2. How do you want your organization to be perceived – The Reality and The Dream..