It was 7:51 a.m. on a cold Friday in January, the hustle and bustle of the morning rush hour fully underway. Over the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, not just professionally but perfectly, and over 1,000 people passed by as part of their morning commute. The talented performer earnt just £32 minus a few dollars and pocket change he’d used as seed money to get the ball rolling.
Each passerby had a quick choice to make. Carry on with their daily routine or break tradition to stop, listen and maybe donate to his cause.
His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities. He played these classical pieces on a $3.5 million violin handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari.
The violinist; none other than internationally acclaimed virtuoso Joshua Bell.
You could use this as a stick to beat the uncultured society that we live in (I make no excuses; I am one of the uncultured proles), but many of us go through our lives blinkered, hurried and ironclad, unwilling to let a chance encounter with something beautiful cause a hiccup in our routines.
My point is this; your peers and superiors are going about their daily business and not thinking about you, your work or the improvements you are making to your process, department and company as a whole. I’ve long been a believer in intrepreneurship but it’s not enough to just innovate in your role. You have to show your innovation, share them with your colleagues and entice them into thinking about improvements in their own role.
As I work at an Agile development consultancy (Box UK), we run daily stand up meetings; not only to keep the team on the same page with existing workloads but also to give our digital and marketing teams the chance to highlight the good work that they have done. It’s not something I was used to, but as you get more involved with this feedback process, you’ll see how beneficial it can be.
Would you appreciate or even notice a colleague doing great work if it wasn’t mentioned at lunch or in a meeting? And if you didn’t, how do you make sure your best staff are supported in their intrepreneurship?