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It’s all gone a bit panto

Here’s my Christmas gift to you; a festive story with a twist,

It explains how a pantomime is the same as business.

 Well it sort of rhymes! Let’s take a tongue in cheek look at what we can learn in business from that yuletide trip to the theatre…

Every night’s like opening night

It doesn’t matter whether you go to the panto at the start of the run or the end, it feels to you like the performers are delivering each line, action or song for the first time, just for you.

In our businesses, there are no doubt some products or services we deliver time and again for our customers and clients, which we (dare I say it?) may become jaded by. It’s not about us though is it?!

How do we treat every repeated service or task like opening night, for the people who matter?

Someone’s got to be the back end of the cow/horse/donkey/camel

Often one of the show stealers, the pantomime animal brings humour and difference to a performance – in my book, if there’s no four-legged friend then it’s not a real panto.

The movement of said animal is usually seamless, and in some cases even athletic or complex. This is surprising given that two humans have created it through blood, (lots of) sweat and (probably) tears, whilst being contorted inside super thick fabric under the baking hot stage lights. And we always spare an extra thought for the poor soul at the rear, it’s definitely seen as the bum deal. They, however, approach it with grit and gusto to ensure the overall performance is a crowd pleaser.

In our businesses, we can probably quote quite quickly which tasks are the back end of the horse equivalent; those things that are really difficult, hard work or downright unpleasant at times.

How do we keep these in the context of the overall purpose of our business so we deliver them with as much pride as the rest of our stuff – because people notice if the back end of the horse is having an off day, right?!

Oh yes it is!

Oh no it isn’t! Ooooh yes it is! You know how it goes. This staple panto disagreement – where both parties know they are probably wrong, but argue because that’s what’s expected and they don’t want to lose face.

Whilst the argument is a bit of sport and gets some audience participation going, it’s a great metaphor for how we can often interact in organisations – trading statements because everyone technically is right…from their point of view, based on their maps of the world.

How do we stop ourselves getting stuck in the panto style drama of a disagreement, and swallow our pride to understand others before seeking to be understood? We’d save a whole heap of time.

It’s behind yooouuu!

It’s usually the hero of the story isn’t it, with the villain creeping around behind them? The hero is so caught up in their own woes of the world, often linked to a lost love or something similar, so they don’t see, hear or feel the impending threat.

The audience in this case is the mirror and the mentor, trying their hardest to give the hero a verbal shake for their own good.

We all have blind spots; so who have you appointed as your well-meaning audience? The people who will act as your honest and frank mirror and mentor when your head is lost or stuck?

I hope you’ve enjoyed our festive blog,

Which reminded you of some stuff you know,

So in the new year when work feels like a slog,

Just remember it’s all just one big panto!          

Happy Festive Season all!

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