We all do it. See someone new and, within seconds, our brains start making up stories about them. Or we meet them, exchange a few words and before we know it, we're filling in the gaps with our imaginations. The result? Assumptions.
I did it recently, ironically right after running a workshop on accessibility and confidence for health staff. My colleagues Kylie, Sam and I were about to get into the car when an elderly gentleman approached us.
"As always happens in hospitals," he said, "I'm lost."
Today at a hui of one of my regular clients I was reminded of an important tension and interesting phenomenon in organisational dynamics. It's blogged about ad in finitum.
The tension is the value of meetings over that of individual productivity. The phenomenon is the power of "collective influence" (Alex Smith).
Meetings get a bad rap these days. Particularly online businesses favour virtual teams, online collaboration etc. Alex reckoned 90% of meeting content is irrelevant. People are busy. Time is precious.
Recently I spent an hour at Rosebank Primary School in Avondale, speaking as a Duffy Books in Homes Role Model. It’s something I’ve done a couple of times each year since connecting with Linda Vagana, Duffy’s GM, when we both did the Leadership New Zealand programme in 2012.
It’s a tough but rewarding gig. Primary-aged kids pull no punches as an audience. I’m not the usual and as I begin to speak, the giggles start.
I resist the urge to ask, “What are you laughing at?” To begin with anyway. Instead I ask all 500 to introduce themselves to me – their name, where they come from and a secret about them – all at once. The hall erupts with noise and laughter.
When it comes to leading change and creating social movements, particularly when it involves people on the margins of society, it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming success means “widening” the mainstream to accept a new group of previously excluded citizens.
Reverence may be paid to new rituals and customs. Changes may be made to environments to make them more accessible or representative. Language may be scrutinised and modified to create a more welcoming lexicon. Laws may change to increase rights and entitlements.
In themselves these acknowledgements are important and meaningful. They achieve their intent – to decrease exclusion and increase participation.
Saturday 14 March's NZ Herald editorial questions the future of the Pasifika Festival, dubbed the "biggest celebration of Pacific Island culture and heritage in the world". A short-notice move from its Western Springs Park home, because of the Queensland fruit-fly quarantine in the area, has been eclipsed by allegations of inauthenticity, over-commercialisation and anti-competitive sales restrictions by major sponsor Tip Top.
Amid threats of boycotts by Pasifika founders, Ateed, the Auckland Council's tourism, events and economic development agency, insisists that the Festival’s “uniqueness and charm” will remain intact. This despite “palagi” (non-Pacific) PR company Orange Productions scooping the contract to stage the event this year and allegations of non-consultation.
Pasifika turns 23 this year. It’s had a pretty good innings as far as events go, particularly spawning from cultural and community roots. I can’t think of another running as long in New Zealand.
On Friday 13 March we launched a new campaign on Kickstarter, which will enable the production of a short, short film called “Who We Are”. Based on an original poem I wrote in the 90s set to music, it will explore stereotypes that people place on others and themselves and question the human condition, both individually and collectively.
It runs until 12 April. Just wanted to let you know — and if you could let others know I'd be very grateful.
This morning someone tweeted this quote from Richard Branson:
"Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple." R. Branson pic.twitter.com/QalLk8u3QG— Juanma Padilla (@juanmapadilla69) March 8, 2015
Richard makes four common mistakes:
My friend Jeannie over at Bikes for Fish posted an article from Huffpost Gay Voices about "bills [that] have been filed in three [US] states to prevent transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity." Described as "last gasp attempts to hurt LGBT people", legal acts like this illuminate a more deeply entrenched assumption about dunnies:
That they need to be gender-specific at all.
I'm not your average bloke, but I've always wondered why public toilets are separated by gender. And what's with urinals? We don't have either in private dwellings.
Since the Pride Parade protest and the GayTM and police pinkwashings, the Muppets' "Rainbow Connection" has been in my brain. I just had to rewrite the lyrics!
Here goes...1, 2, 3...
On Sunday I ranted about the response to the protest at the Pride Parade. It was one-sided, personal (apologies, Richard Taki, if you’re reading) and lacked the usual, considered perspective I like to apply to my posts.
But, I tell you, I’m blown away by how much attention I received. Nearly 2.5 thousand views, over thirty comments. People arguing on my blog — strangers! That’s an increase in my online attention of hundreds of percent.
Since writing, events have been reviewed via camera footage, the protesters themselves and an eye witness. It seems what was initially reported may have been inaccurate, the police were not implicated and, as one commenter on my blog pointed out, I wasn’t there. Fair cop (excuse the pun, it just slipped out).