When social media was flooded with pictures of menacing looking clowns scaring the heebie jeebies out of folk, it occurred to Lucy that this is the exact opposite of what clowns are supposed to do. Where else does this happen?
I love a roller coaster. I haven’t been on one for a while, but the last time I did I remember the friend I was with putting her head in her hands and sobbing as we emerged from the dark, smoky pit that was Oblivion. She’d hated it as much as I’d been thrilled by it as is often the case with roller coasters. They’re there to amuse us, but people usually either love them or hate them. And it’s a bit like that with clowns. The dictionary definition is ‘a comic entertainer’, but even before we saw the dark side of the red nose and outsized shoes, while some loved their daft antics, others found them more sinister.
This got me wondering what else there is that can divide people in this way. Here are some: Camping. Cosy, outdoorsy and back to nature, or cold, uncomfortable and not nearly as appealing as a king size in a four star? Horror films. Designed to scare people in an enjoyable way. Works for some but not others. Marmite…as the advert says, you either love it or hate it!
I remember a focus group I ran a while ago. The attendees were all bus drivers and we were talking about how they’d prefer to be recognised for something brilliant they’d done. Giving them the option of either receiving an award to rapturous applause at their annual conference or spending a couple of hours chatting about it over a coffee with their boss, I expected some consistency in their response but I was wrong. There was an even split between the two options. I reflected that if that was me, I wouldn’t be able to get off the stage quick enough but would be very happy to spend some quiet time receiving praise, and that might surprise people to know.
I often use the story about the group of bus drivers to help leaders understand how important it is to find out what drives and motivates people, and that this will be different for different people. What some people will relish, others may dread. In life, there’ll always be things that some people will love and others will hate. I put a shout out for examples for this blog. Someone suggested Mamma Mia. Please. Really? Surely everyone adores Mamma Mia, right?