I just read this post on Creating Passionate Users, on “Dilbert and the Zone of Mediocrity.” Although the post addresses the idea that if you develop a product that pleases everyone at first then you’re doomed to fail, the words “Dilbert” and “mediocrity” sparked some other recollections in me. Now I’m probably going to piss off some Dilbert fans here in saying this but… I’ve always felt that Dilbert was sort of a black hole for employee angst. In my past job I would walk past people’s cubes who had the outsides and insides papered with their favorite Dilbert cartoons. Somehow, it felt as if this coating with funny strips was a sort of shield against the overwhelming feeling that one must acquiesce to the omnipresent corporate demon. It was sort of like covering your room walls with prayer cards or depictions of holy saints (yes, I was raised Catholic) in order to protect yourself from wiley evil forces.
Yes, Dilbert is witty and often spot on in it’s observations and assessments of cubicle/corporate life, but Dilbert cartoons do nothing to light fires underneath the backsides of people who feel that they can’t affect a change in their environment or even influence others to change (just a little). If I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that change is possible, and in order for organizations, groups, companies, pods, communities or what not to be nimble enough to survive uncertain times their members must become masters of change. At least their leaders must become masters at leading others through change. Hiding behind a wall of Dilbert cartoons just isn’t going to cut it.
If I make one New Years resolution, other than buying a Wii and going to the gym more often, it will be this:
I want to be a vehicle for change and I wish to positively influence and guide others through change.
Strip from http://seas.stanford.edu/diso/images.html