Tying Knots In The Devil’s Tail

“Rules and models destroy genius and art.” – William Hazlitt

I don’t know about you, but I’m not too fond of those motivational posters that people hang in conference rooms, halls, and offices. Unless I needed work badly, I’d think twice before accepting a position where corridor decor depicts scenes of eagles flying against mountain scenery, with tired slogans.

Slogans in use since Aristotle show up often: ” quality is not an act; it is a habit.” ” At Portzibie Corp, quality is job numero uno.” Copies of these are at Pompei; I’d bet.

I’ve worked at places like that, and I feel that the corridor dressing shows a desperate attempt to motivate workers and influence customers. It’s like the bridge crew on the Titanic checking navigational fixes for the next days sailing as the ship went down. By the time you line your corridors with motivational art, your organization is already in trouble. The only people doing well on this are the PR folks who are selling you the posters and framing.

At the last several corporate and governmental institutions I worked at, my goal was to tie knots in the devil’s tail. It’s a challenge. But so is the ongoing demand in organizations that we are creative, but stay within the choreographed lines. In short, deliver the image of wow, without the substance. Subvert it.

Here’s my advice: bend, twist, spindle, and mutilate. Put up your motivational poster: Graphic – turkeys in the barnyard -” It’s hard to soar with eagles when you’re flying with turkeys.”

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