Losing the Plot

There is value in things that create story and identity.

In a world where offices are becoming decentralized and many things are self-directed, it occurs to me that there is danger in "losing the plot."

Mission, vision, identity...not the cheesy over-generalized statements that sometimes make it to a plaque on the wall, but the real story. The specifics. The things that make you part. The anecdotes. The celebrations. The look. The vibe. All of those things have intense importance if you want to accomplish something amazing with a group. Being part of a compelling story energizes and creates momentum.

While this is critical for companies and organizations, it might actually be easier to look at on a family level.

Families share a resemblance. They typically have a residence that reflects their tastes and a sense of who they are. They share stories. They have photo albums. They play games or share other group activities. There are habits and holiday traditions. There are identifiers that make them part of that family and not the family next door. If someone bullies one, the others will stand and defend.

And yet, it is very, very easy to threaten this. To forget what we're part of. To "lose the plot." To become so busy in the individual tasking, that we forget the corporate.

As leaders--whatever form that might take (parents, project managers, pastors)--a key role is to create that sense of belonging. To retell the stories that celebrate identity. To highlight the family resemblance. To stand and defend. Because unlike families (though this happens there too sometimes), people have the option to leave if you don't offer them a compelling story. Or worse, they stay but disengage because they don't know their character is integral to the plot.

The best part? If you do your job well, then when things get hard people rally and heroes step forward because their story is intricately connected to yours. They know who they are in the narrative and what they should do.

Yesterday, I got to sit around a conference table with a group of "heroes" as they plotted to fight the dragon and save the world. (Well, our world anyway.) As strategies were discussed, there was no doubt that we were "all in." That our stories were tied together.

And the interesting thing was--like with all good stories--the heroes were committed to sacrifice without prompting. Were ready to draw their swords and fight alongside. To stand and defend.

Now that is something worth belonging to. A story I am very proud to be part of.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall