We love stories. Stories create and perpetuate culture. They bring meaning to experiences, to life. And stories teach values. Myths are a special type of story. They may not be true, but they feel like they should be.
We love the myth of the overnight success. It exists in every industry and drives people on. Countless people give up when their idea doesn’t happen overnight. But when you take to an ‘overnight success’, without fail they tell you it took years. It was never overnight.
In a similar fashion, organisational change has its myths. The change, reinvention, rebirth, turnaround of an organisation is often written up as the result of one person’s efforts or idea. And usually the hero is male. However, this too is a myth. Change takes a group, not an individual. No one person can change an organisation on their own. It doesn’t work. One person might be the spark, but at minimum they need to influence others.
Perpetuating the myth of the individual hero does us no favours. It seems to only fuel testosterone driven, winner take all, masculinity. Perhaps it’s driven by Hollywood and John Wayne mythology.
We can tell a new story. The story can be just as powerful, capturing our hearts and inspiring our minds, but can it be about a group. It can be a story about a collective, of heroes and heroines changing culture and organisations together.
Change is not an island. It is a group with countless bridges, tunnels, and boats connecting the islands to each other.
We get to choose which story we tell. Which one will you choose?