Thursday, October 13, 2011

Industrial-Sized Popcorn

I wish I could go into the convoluted detail behind why now is the dawning of popcorn season at my company. Popcorn season was coined at a time when my startup was imploding - though it took it almost a whole year to actually die.

Popcorn seasons are chunks of time when the organizational dynamics are far stronger than any logical working patterns. Reality, strategy, and often even tactical plans are shunted aside in favor of intrigue and drama. Life becomes an episode of the Apprentice. And, the only thing to do is to sit back with a big bowl of popcorn and watch it unfold, like a movie.

But, it's been hard to implement the popcorn strategy lately. Why? Well, popcorn requires some level of detachment, and often times, you can't quite get out of the way of the intrigue. You're an actor in this reality TV show, so occasionally, the camera pans to you and someone backstabs you - and in companies, this blow isn't softened by free access to liquor.

So, I'm starting some basic operating principles in popcorn season, to help guide my approach:

A. The meets minimum of popcorn strategy is to pick up the popcorn at 5pm. Taking home the angst is unhealthy and unproductive. At a minimum, at 5pm, laugh at the stupidity.

B. Recognize that everyone else may be playing to win this particular reality-TV prize, so they are acting with all the grace and dignity of a real housewife. This is their Truman Show - they don't know they are in the movie.

C. Recognize that the impact of everyone acting like Theresa Guidice WILL get to you, and lower your tolerance, which is why A is important.

D. Develop a mantra. I need a mantra. I'm still working on one.

E. Find your anchor point in truth. In times of madness, when you're confident everything's crazy, it's often important to find one thing that is solid and true. If you have that anchor, you can always get your bearings. It will start looking shaky as the drama unfolds, so you must believe it is very solid.


And, for good measure, I find it useful to vary the flavors of popcorn. Sometimes it's a Kettle Corn kind of day.. sometimes it's classic butter. If you've hit the caramel corn, you better hope it's friday!

1 comment:

PD said...

The only way I find to detach is to have something infinitely more interesting to think about instead. Take a class, read a book online, listen to Mozart's greatest works. Do whatever you have to to make it work.