Resist Conformity – Don’t be a Hypnotized Chicken
I woke this morning with a blurred recollection of my uncle teaching me how to hypnotize a chicken. I can’t tell if it was a dream or reality, but I know it’s about resisting conformity.
The more I think about it, the more it feels real. It doesn’t help that I re-read portions of, “Orbiting the Giant Hairball,” yesterday.
Orbiting the giant hairball:
On page 51 of Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie recalls the story his father told him about hypnotizing chickens. You push a chicken’s beak to the ground and draw a line in the dirt out from the beak. Oh la la! The chicken stands motionless for about 30 minutes. This must be true. I confirmed on the Internet.
The company line:
MacKenzie says when you join an organization they push your beak to the ground and hypnotize you with a line.
“This is our history. This is our philosophy. This is our…” Blah, blah, blah. If you aren’t careful you’ll lose yourself to the line.
How to resist conformity:
The mesmerizing-line is company culture. It’s all the rage these days and it’s important, but resist conformity.
Alignment is life; conformity is death when it comes to culture.
Desire for approval and advancement drive you to conformity. Don’t turn into a Lego block that fills a hole in a wall. The only distinction in square Lego blocks is color and color is frivolous triviality when everyone is the same.
Conformity nullifies diversity.
How to conform:
Company culture is essential to performance, just don’t allow culture to drain your unique contribution and personal joy. The simplest way to walk the tightrope between individuality and conformity is reflecting on joy. When work consistently drains joy you’ve lost yourself.
You’ve been hypnotized like a chicken when drudgery consistently outweighs joy.
What aspects of organization mission, vision, and values light you up?