Screw being the ‘Yes’ person
The world’s corporations rely on good yes people to put their heads down and graft for the good of the corporation. These hardworking individuals produce what the corporation needs to maintain itself within its select market place. All the while, the individual exchanges their time and skills for those lovely pieces of coloured paper that represent value and what saves us, as individuals, having to barter. The thing is I have been watching a slow and quiet rebellion taking place within these ‘imagined’ constructs. It seems that the big corporations are introducing more and more controls and more and more rules to the individuals. Strangely those higher up the food chain don’t seem to adhere to those same rules. The yes people abide by these rules through fear of losing their jobs and not being able to pay bills. You know what? It is weird when you think how much the workers essentially tolerate in exchange for money. If you wish to read more about this please have a read of Sapiens, a fantastic book.
So today was a fascinating day. I have said before that I work in two capacities. I run a wonderful team of Social Media creators and I also work as a strategist and business analyst. I love both roles because they appeal to both sides of my nature and brain. Yet, with all this in mind, today was a day of rebellion. The most recent tremors began with an article that I wrote on the top five New Year’s resolutions. The article listed the fact that people wanted to lose weight, save money, get in touch with people, stop smoking and drinking. The article was written and then sent for higher management approval. Over the ‘festive season’ it turns out a whole series of new social media rules were introduced. Many corporations are not allowed to mention Christmas because not all people celebrate Christmas. Smoking or drinking were not allowed to be mentioned and nor was weight loss because it was not fair to penalise people for being fat or even slightly over weight. That was not what the article was about, it was about health and making positive resolutions. So from the original list, the only remaining approved item was getting in touch. In the meantime, the higher management felt that people should not be making resolutions because they did not keep them and that meant they were going to fail which reduced productivity. I was then asked to re-write the article and instead of talking about resolutions I was asked to focus on ways people could increase their productivity at work. Erm… no! It was quite an amusing moment because in addition to this, the social media group were told they could not use photos from their phones, from the internet or any imagery that had not been taken by an official photographer for the company.
Are you sensing why there was rebellion brewing? Now, our Social media site was created with the following mission: create uplifting, inspiring and fun blog content that exceeds expectation and articles that the audience will love to read. That is precisely what we did for a whole year. It seems the blog’s success has caused its own problems because the blog team and I set about creating something special and unique within a very controlled and austere environment. The popularity of this blog went corporation wide because the articles were passionate, written with humour and were a little bit exciting – imagine! What’s more, the group were run on the theory of tribal leadership. This is when the group enter a room for discussion and all hierarchy disappears. We are all equal, we all take turns leading and we all choose our level of engagement. Our level from the outset was the highest level whereby we intended ‘to create something exemplary’ where others would be inspired to aspire to our unique way of communicating. It worked so well that we had huge viewing figures and other lines of business emulated the way we approached things. The thing is with success often comes parasites. Those who noticed the success wanted their names on it. They then found ways in which to control the free-spirited creativity and that is what happened today. What I will say is that creativity needs space and freedom. Creativity is not forced otherwise it is like constipation: no matter how hard you push nothing comes out. It is only when you relax that you can deliver.
For the last year we have provided excellent communication and there have been numerous attempts at sabotage that caused the blogging team concern. We all did our best to jump the hurdles, united our minds and found new ways to progress. However, today was the last straw – no photos and being asked to write dull shit! So that was it… My lovely young team and I had a heart-felt discussion and came to the conclusion that it was time to say no. In doing so one of the quieter natured creators turned to the group and said ‘Screw being the yes man. There are times when a person has to say no and they are not going to do it anymore.’ I agreed and asked what they wanted to do with our allotted meetings if the blog ceased to exist. The answer was simple: have a meeting, discuss how the group progress their careers and use the time for group motivation and mentorship. So the crap was transformed into flowers.
You might well ask what has happened from the higher management point of view. They are still in the process of figuring out what happened and what to do. Of course the whole group have their main job roles and this Social Media group was what was known, according to corporate carrot dangling, ‘as an above and beyond stretch assignment.’ We went above and beyond but there is only so far you are willing to stretch before the elastic band snaps. That is when the yes person says screw this and shifts to the NO! That is when the other workers will begin to ask questions.
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