Posted 11 months ago

Hannah (who works here) likes things to be perfect. Files in order, consistency and structure. But as we all know, the pursuit of perfection is a never ending one, with dissatisfaction waiting at every corner.

So, we decided to send Hannah on a course titled “How to Fail” hosted by The School of Life. Not only did she enjoy it, but she came home with a little box titled “The Truth Game” where players ask each other really personal questions such as (pictured).

Playing this game has two benefits to us here at Hawkwood:

1.     We get to know each other better and;

2.     We begin to normalise vulnerability in the workplace

It’s very clear that teams succeed when they feel like they can trust each other. When they’re honest with each other. When they know the person behind the job title.

Benefit 1

What this game gives us is context… I might think that Hannah’s perfectionism is a form of procrastination, but upon deeper understanding of who she really is, I begin to realise what it is about her that means she is so insistent on detailed preparation. Knowing this enables me to tailor my approach to trying to get the best out of her.

Benefit 2

When people are comfortable being their true selves, they feel accepted and safe. People who feel safe: take risks, they try new things, they blurt out suggestions before overthinking them and they challenge conventional thinking. Promoting these behaviours helps you avoid the fate of Kodak – remember them?

People who feel unsafe need road maps they can follow meticulously. The issue with this is that in this new age, most maps need ripping up and re-writing continually.

What all businesses need are cartographers (people who write maps), but these people need the rest of us to accept that they might take a few wrong turns on the way to their final destination.

In 1991, Frito-Lay launched “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos”. The idea was presented by their Mexican cleaner, Richard Montanez, who recognised that Cheetos didn’t cater to the Latino palate, and who felt safe enough to make the recipe at home in his kitchen, before presenting it to their CEO. They’re now Frito-Lay’s bestselling product.

Good ideas are at levels of your organisation – you just need to create an environment that teases them out.

The workplace has changed – we dress the same at home and work, we bring our pets to work, we do yoga in the office and we take turns on the office music. The trend towards work/life convergence is clear.

So if, in spite of all of this, you’re stopping short of welcoming someone’s true personality and creative thinking into the office then you’re missing a big opportunity and loads of flamin’ great ideas! (pardon the pun…)



This post was inspired by:

Brene Brown – Daring Greatly

Seth Godin – Icarus Deception