What can you learn from a mime?

June 25, 2008

As a leader, we often do not see ourselves as we are. The question is, what you would do if you got solid feedback to demonstrate what your behaviors were really like? Not the feedback that comes with a sanitized 360 instrument that insures you don’t get the tough love because of the firms concerns over law suits, from indigestible and unwanted assessments of a leaders behaviors. The Mayor of Bogotá may have provided a great creative solution to this situation. He provided such feedback to help create a safer place to drive for the citizens of his community.

It was apparent to the Mayor that, like many of us, the citizens of Bogotá were happy to judge each other but not themselves. People in the community were not paying attention to the road signs. So he hired Mimes to mimic the drivers’ behavior to show them what their behavior looked like when they were mirrored back to them. When drivers behaved poorly in traffic they would get a reflection back.
What if there was a mime in your board room? What would they pick-up on that your team has known for years but lacked the confidence to tell you? How would you endure the silent ridicule of the mime’s humor? Would you find it funny? Would you feel embarrassed of your behaviors? Would you feel shameful? How has power evaded your view of yourself?

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