Thursday, July 02, 2009

Invite Me to "80s Day" at Your Office

The other day at work I was talked into wearing a purple wig and singing parodies to popular 1980s songs such as "Billie Jean," "Who Can It Be Now" and "What I Like About You." I changed the lyrics to reflect T-Mobile USA-related goals while the musical scores blared in the background. I was off key, I was off pitch--but I was in my zone because once again, on the job, I was permitted to connect pop culture to business needs. Sort of like the week back in August 2006 when I wore a Superman costume. Anything for the good of the cause; well, almost anything.

Give me almost any popular songs whose lyrics I know well, and toss me a particular subject from nearly any field (except for, say, astro-physics or molecular biology), and chances are I will promptly give you new lines that relate to the matter at hand. It still surprises me how easy it can feel, and usually entertains the other persons at hand. The vast majority of the time it is just for fun, but you never know when such an obscure, twisted talent can home in handy for a larger purpose.

I wonder how often we overlook the off-beat talent that is latent within the people around us. If we cannot immediately put it to pragmatic use or measure it in some manner, do we quickly dismiss it or fail to even notice? I encourage leaders to cultivate whatever talent rises to the surface in their people, because there is some thread you can tie to a business outcome if you are creative enough in your intent. When we become a community at work that truly celebrates all gifts found within the space, incredible things can happen that delight customers and retain good employees.

The same approach is screamingly relevant to marriages, relationships, raising children and friendships. Celebrate the quirky abilities of someone you care about, and that person's sense of being understood and accepted increases manifold.

Several people already have asked if there was video taken of my 80s romp. Yes, there was. No, you will not see it, unless you happen to work for T-Mobile and have access to our internal network. The rest of you will have to either play the video in your minds, or invite me to perform at your company. As to the latter, don't think I'm not serious!


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