Driving home from the supermarket a few Saturday mornings ago, I switched on the radio to discover a female chef talking very enthusiastically about her collection of knives. I couldn’t place who she was but was suddenly more interested when out of her mouth popped the phrase:
“Anyone who uses a serrated knife for anything other than tomatoes is totally gay.”
I turned up the radio hoping to check what I’d heard was really what I’d heard but there was only silence, as if the chat show host and other guests were deliberating over the need to pick up on the chef’s use of the term gay.
If you haven’t seen this advert for Carlsberg beer, take a minute to watch it.
Beer’s not my preferred tipple, but I do think this a really clever twist on the way that preconceptions keep us in their thrall (as well as a good ad for lager.)
A series of couples are sold tickets to see a movie. However once inside, they realise that their seats are the last two in the middle of the theatre. And that every other seat is occupied by a Hell’s Angels biker, covered in tattoos.
It’s widely recognised that the most effective leaders and the best managers are those who consider and understand the impact of what they say and do, on other people.
Who hasn’t been in a meeting where somebody senior has absolutely crushed someone else – often without even realising the effect that might have had on that person’s motivation and wellbeing? Many of us have had the “boss from hell” – the one that bullies or cajoles or frightens others into submission.
In my experience the best bosses are those who lead without taking power from others. They are the people who lead by example, who instil respect and loyalty, and who make others feel empowered to do their jobs well.
“We want to forge new ties and greater understanding between the young people in this young country” were the impressionable words President Barack Obama left with the students on November 10, 2010 when he visited the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. Fifteen months later, Cisco partners with the Networking Academy and the university to host a weeklong hands-on technical training and soft skill development event on the same campus, where it almost seems Obama’s vision was coming to life, literally.
I’ve always been interested in the human desire to belong to groups and how we adapt our appearance to show which ‘group’ we’re in. Even in our teenage years when many of us believe the way we dress is non-conformist in truth we’re aligning ourselves to a sub-group that exists out there.
A friend of mine in her first year at university always wore Levi 501s and walked to her English lectures with an Eighteenth century novel poking out of her right back pocket and a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in her left. The signals she hoped she gave off then make her cringe beyond belief today!
Because that’s what happens, the identity we choose to present to the outside world changes over time. Many of us become less concerned about rebelling, or we gain confidence about our identity and the way we choose to transmit it.