I was reading a recent post on the excellent Anecdote Blog on ideas made to stick. and it referenced one of the most powerful scenes in the last series of West Wing where the Darfur crisis is highlighted to CJ after being bombarded by statistics - the guy realises that he is losing her with this 'elevator
He then says to her "‘When the babies die, the mothers carry them round in their arms because there is nowhere to put them down.’" The reference was quite apt in terms of the recent developments in Darfur and the sending of hopefully a more effective peacekeeping mission by the UN.
Being a Wing nut - I remember the scene very well and it reminded me of Stalin's quote "A single death is a tragedy, are million deaths is a statistic.
I have long supposed that this comment was made because the human mind can't fully comprehend so many people dying. If it did we might be overwhelmed as human beings.
Maybe one day we will look at West Wing for other nuggets of managerial advice. One of my favourite quotes is from Toby Ziegler - after there has been a leak and he summons all the staff in and says "
"We're a group. We're a team. From the President and Leo on through, we're a team. We win together, we lose together. We celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories are sweeter because we did them together... You're my guys and I'm yours... and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you.
Maybe some managers need to look at that especially for an after action review which I have seen dissolve into a "hunt the scapegoat" procedure and no new knowledge is shared. We also need to develop those levels of trust in our people so that - these words are a reality in our organisations.
People do like to belong to an organisation because of that sense of affiliation and if they aren't then what does it say about your organisation and the people who work in it. I love my work and do it with a passion. I do it because I want to help organisations develop the people at all levels and to help them share knowledge more effectively so that they can undertake their work better and also help clients of the firm. Is it so unreal that people don't want to come in and do that and help their fellow workers - or am I just naive.
If like me, you are in the UK and are suffering from West Wing Loss, can I recommend Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on More 4 at 10.00 on a Thursday night and repeated on Sunday. It was cancelled after the first season - possibly because it was a bit too pointed for the US market - the dialogue like West Wing is vintage Sorkin and contains some very useful quotes.