Monday, January 18, 2010

3D Juggling 461: Invisible orchids

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Claire writes: 'The orchid we were given as an office warming present lost its flowers after a few weeks and has sat sadly on the window ledge for months looking decidedly dead. I trust that one or other of us has watered it from time to time. I have also considered consigning it to the bin. After all, what does a dead flower say about an organisation!

This morning I was listening to a client celebrate some significant changes in the culture of her organisation. It was great to hear as I can remember many conversations which were less positive. As a senior manager, she has influenced in many quiet ways and was taking stock of the changes. Others have noticed a shift in culture and are unaware that it came from her. Like the orchid, the organisation hasn't been dramatically pruned or heavily watered. Quiet patience and a nudge here and there have taken it to the point where change is clearly visible. I moved a stake on the orchid this morning so that it can manage the weight of its new flowers. That will be our celebration of a living flower! My client has plans to celebrate what she has done in her team.

Some leaders are visible. Some leave a legacy that survives them. Some have done drastic pruning and some have elegant leaving dos when they move on but a year on, little of their legacy is left. Often it's the invisible influencers who leave the biggest impact because the team say 'We have done it ourselves'. The challenge, of course, is how to communicate that on your CV!"

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