‘The work of the Pirate is to create waves, not ripples.’ – @dolectures
As a consultant/freelancer (a Mercenary, a Pirate), I’m often called on to make waves where they’re needed and to steer a content vision through personal undercurrents and political rip curls without inspiring mutiny.
My work very often includes adjusting people’s work routines, their foci and perhaps even their job titles. These things are more than just an adjustment in the eight hours they spend at their desks – it’s career focus and future security, it’s job satisfaction, it’s position and power, it’s effort and pay cheque.
I make friends, observe, ask, listen, remember, work with people, attend endless meetings I don’t really need to be in, manage expectations, under-sell what I can do (without killing enthusiasm), and a string of other things I haven’t listed or figured out yet. At the end of the day, even with all this friendly-making and evangelising, the reality always surfaces that I am there to make change.
If there’s one generalisation you can be sure of, it’s this: even when aspired to, the thing people are most resistant to is change.
There’s often a notion that a successful project is one in which everyone is smiling at the end with little upset in getting there – even if the vision was compromised in more ways than would have been liked.
I’m taking a different stance for 2013: though there sure is value in an inspired and happy team at project end, something must be said for taking up the place of Pirate (dressed as Captain), stress-testing to see just how much pushing without breaking can be done, charting a map for better content climes and steering a ship of change-resistant people to a hopefully sunnier other-side.