Through Guy’s Eyes – Beware the Enemy Within

Winston Churchill - the enemy within

Did you know that, in its heyday, Nokia listed ‘Innovation’ as one of its core values? Or that KPMG tells its stakeholders that ‘Integrity’ is an attribute it holds dear?

Sounds a wry example of irony. Actually, what these examples demonstrate (and very ably at that), is that a company’s values do nothing besides creating a Utopian sense of positivity. I believe that values are only relevant when they’re being tested – by which stage, as the experience of Nokia and KPMG show us, it’s too late.

An organisation’s list of values usually bears scant resemblance to its reality. Read them, and you’d be forgiven for assuming that you’ve stumbled across a perfect entity operating in a perfect world. It’s a form of naivety.

And yet we know that nothing’s perfect – so why do organisations try to pretend that they have no negative attributes? I believe that Jung would have had a lot to say about Nokia’s shadow side, and the role it played in the brand’s demise as more creative companies overtook it. In fact, we should all have a lot to say about companies’ shadow sides. We expect individuals to have imperfections; why don’t we allow companies the same leeway?

If we did, we’d enjoy a far healthier corporate environment. In doing so, we neutralise it; we remove its power. Take an example from nature: We all know that moss prefers to grow in dank, dark places. And yet, when the same plant is exposed to sunlight, it becomes sanitised.

This is precisely what Blueprints aims to do. In helping all members of an organisation co-create a visual representation of its DNA, we give equal weight to both enabling and potentially disabling attributes. What’s more, rather than playing down those less-than-pretty parts, we celebrate them, turning them into art.

The result? Aspects that were previously concealed and repressed – and which therefore had infinite ability to cause an organisation’s implosion – transform into one of its greatest strengths.

Let us show you how.

Guy Martin is the founder & Managing Director of Blueprints: assisting CEOs to drive growth by increasing the alignment of their people to business goals by 50% within an 18 month period.