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How to rearrange deckchairs on the Titanic

Last Monday I invited our Forzes colleague Marcel van der Pol to join a quarterly talent meeting at one of my clients. Marcel is a gifted theater producer and performing artist. During the presentation of his third book on the 11th h of June the idea was born to invite him over.

Here’s what happened.

Marcel and I had agreed to reuse his book launch story of the quest of the jumping mouse for the talents at Tempo-Team. In the opening scene we see masses of mice running around their city in a beehive of busyness. One mouse, faintly, hears a sound that tickles his ears and curiosity. He stops running, stands still and starts listening. “What is this sound?”; “Where is it coming from?”. None of his friends and extended family seems to know and he sets out on his adventure to seek out the source of the sound. In the next scene we see the mouse standing at the edge of the city with bushes and trees nearby and dark specks in the sky above. His gaze captures both the balmy shade of the safe zones, and the scary emojis of eagles soaring above. He gathers courage and sets out on his quest.

For the purpose of this blog we can skip the rest of his adventure. If you’re disappointed and curious about the - surprise! - ending, please don’t hesitate to book Marcel to see his magic at work.

We’re only two scenes into the quest of the jumping mouse and already the heart of the matter is staring us right in the face! Let’s rejoin our jumping mouse long after having completed his quest and ask ourselves some of the questions he undoubtedly asked his grandchildren over the course of his happy grandparenthood. Does any quest begin without us first hearing, thinking feeling or sensing something that piques our interest? Do we feel longing when we’re busy bees? Will we find adventures without standing still first?

Let’s rephrase these questions into a few more businesslike alternatives. Can we innovate without reflection? Can we reinvent our companies and businesses without leaving the status quo of our peers, schedules, priorities, urgencies and emergencies? What’s the coincidence of busyness with our businesses failing? The talents at Tempo-Team are starting to find tough answers to these tough questions. The disruptive change their industry is in, makes so many of their endeavors look more akin to rearranging the deckchairs of the Titanic, rather than steering clear of the iceberg. For instance: it’s a only matter of time before a major part of the temporary work agency’s workload will be replaced by software.

How about you and your work, company and industry? How are you finding the time and space to ask yourself tough questions and maybe even embark on finding the tough answers?

Tags: innovation, career development, talent management

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