The Wrong Hat

When my son was born, i found myself in an unfamiliar environment. Hospital systems can be inherently disconcerting, because they strip away our sense of control and power. If you are admitted, virtually the first thing they do is to take your clothes away, followed by controlling when you eat and sleep.

In this instance, largely as a spectator in the most important event of my life, i felt swept along by circumstance.

At one point, i was given a hat to wear.

It was a special hat: nobody told me what it stood for, but the meaning was clear.

That hat shouted out to everyone who could see it “do not trust this man to do anything”.

The hat badged me as exactly what i was: an incompetent spectator.

It looked like the hats worn by the incredible teams that surrounded us, except for it’s colour that screamed out “not me – stay away”.

I wonder if we need more hats like this?

Our Organisational systems put such pressure on people to perform, to have knowledge, to know what to do, that it sometimes feels as though we have no permission to be ignorant.

Perhaps, as our Organisations become more connected, more dynamic, more agile and changeable, we need to not only badge for expertise, but badge for proud ignorance too.

Perhaps we all at times need a hat that says “not me”.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Community, Leadership, Learning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Wrong Hat

  1. Stephen Burt says:

    Thanks Julian, I like this. I am going to get myself a “Don’t ask me – I know nothing” hat. In fact, I have just the thing.

  2. Waxenfelter says:

    It is like the red jersey in football practice. It says that the player is injured so go light. I like the idea of an observer pin. Just here watching. Don’t ask me my opinion!

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