Monday, 23 April 2012

Don't be dragon your heels...

Happy St George's Day to all our friends around the World.

The story is that a warrior of Roman and Palestinian descent took on a mighty dragon and killed it, ensuring his place in the pantheon of Saints and his adoption by the English (and a few other nations too) as their hero of heroes.

No, we don't really get it either. Animal cruelty is never a good thing, whether you think the animal in question ever existed or not.

It does amuse us though to think that here in England we celebrate one man's apocryphal victory over a mythical beast as though it were somehow relevant to what's going on right here, right now.

There's a contingent that bemoans the fact that the English national day is not a national holiday, and more widely celebrated. The patron saint is not lauded and recognised with countrywide parties or events. Nobody seems willing to say that clearly, nobody much cares about an umpteen-centuries old legend involving a fairytale creature meeting a messy end. 

Perhaps just perhaps, the majority can't connect to George and his triumph because a) it's like, well old and b) nobody believes in dragons anyway. So why not adopt a new patron Saint or national figure we can rally behind and make a proper effort for?

We'd like to see more modern heroes celebrated: we're not suggesting it be declared 'One Direction Day', but perhaps recognise a respected and celebrated figure from the last 500 years. Say William Shakespeare, who was supposedly born and died on this day. (Unfortunate. Maybe he overdid the birthday cake.) 

Sitting back and allowing the pro-Georgers to rattle on year after year that "nobody makes an effort" and the dissenters to sneerily retort "thats because an ages-old legend  means nothing to me" is getting boring, and it's not good for the national psyche.

Things regularly need an update, or nobody will connect to it, understand it or celebrate it.

The point is this: today is a good day to ask whether things are current, up to date and relevant.

What's wrong with tinkering with how you do things to inject a little humanity?

Where's the risk in bending the rules of how you normally do things to allow a little light in?

What's the harm in making your policies and your staff handbook fun and accessible?

Why should your policies and processes be written by lawyers, for lawyers?

That works great if you're hiring lawyers. (Not so well if you want personalities, or for people to understand what's expected of them.)

So have a look at your company's paperwork. Does it reflect your culture? Does it fairly represent how you do business? Is it a 'good read'? Do your people enthuse over it? (OK, that may be taking things a little too far, but you get where we're coming from.)

Or are they dusty, dry, tedious and incomprehensible things that were last relevant sometime around the time St George was wandering about looking to pick a fight with a big lizard?


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