If you are honest with yourself, there has probably been a moment when in a blinding flash you were “on stage.” All eyes turned on you. You were in the spotlight and had to deliver the big line.
I was lucky, it came early for me. I had just finished delivering a well-prepared analysis for the head of large automotive division. As I sat back relieved to have finished my presentation, he turned to me and said, “You’re the consultant … so what are we supposed to do?” I was flabbergasted. I was still on stage and I did not have my next line. It was then I realized I was there to deliver answers, not just the numbers.
Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore in The Experience Economy point out that ALL work is theater. It does not matter if you are building widgets, selling them, or running the show, in the Experience Economy of today, all of us are performers. There are expectations associated with every position and where you work is your stage.
This is a concept I often find myself conveying in my role as a coach. Every person needs to recognize their stage, their props and the expectations for their role. Just a single level promotion in an organization can throw an individual onto a whole new stage. The bottom line is that each of us stages an experience for every person we encounter. That experience can be accidental and left to chance … or it can be well-thoughtout and beautifully executed.
The key is to understand that a well-staged performance is not fake, not evil, and not even pretend. I do what I do with intention. I think hard about where I do it and how I do it and how I can do it better the next time.
For the next few days, I am going to write about how to get a handle on the experience YOU are staging now … and perhaps, the experience you may want stage in the future. Until tomorrow … how can you enhance the experience you are staging?
Adam Lawrence said:
You are right to remind us that theater is not fake. I’m a consultant but also a professional actor, and often have to reassure customers of that.
A great actor like Anthony Hopkins is not a fake, not a dissembler. Even as Hannibal Lechter he is never pretending – he is revealing parts of us which are usually kept hidden. This is why the performance is so effective.
When we are “on stage” at work, we should never pretend to be something we are not. The customer can smell a fake and will walk away. But we do have the opportunity to choose which aspects of ourselves we reveal or emphasise…
Great observation. Thanks for making a very good point!