Is your community a mac or a pc?
Don’t you just love those mac vesus pc commercials? Especially the mac ones that portray mac as a young, hip dude and pc as the suit-wearing, paunchy salesman? Regardless of which computer system is better it must be admitted that by assigning human images to a product an impression has been created about the product.
And so it is with communities. Cities and towns are often perceived as having human attributes. For example, would you say that Austin, Texas is young and hip or old and out-of-touch? How about Detroit? Or Miami? Or Atlanta?
There is an interesting exercise that I use in my strategic planning retreats that relates to this phenomenon. I assign breakout groups the task of describing their community or organizations as though it was a person. Usually I will ask them to come up with the following characteristics: age, race, gender, vacation preference, last book read, political views, type of vehicle driven and favorite restaurant. The results are always fascinating.
Want to have an interesting staff meeting this week? Have your employees describe your organizations as if it were a person. Use the above characteristics as a starting point.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you what it means when the groups are conflicted over the image of the organization.