I have on Friday 10. October 2014 experienced the “professional-me” falling in love. I did not know that existed. Watching Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia on stage was just pure professional love. I saw the corporate ivory tower crumble to pieces and die. I saw a CEO that I’d want to follow. This is a strong statement from little me, I am very critical of “my gurus”, let alone people I’d follow.

It was not what he said. It was what he is.

Dealing with a very strong internal emotional journey after his speech, and needing to recalibrate some stuff internally was a bit tough, though.

I started to believe moving towards modern organizations will happen sooner than I believed before. This 50-year-old man with a t-shirt and a baseball cap is like he is, does what he does, and tells about how he thinks, without a hint of status awareness, and without showing any explicit or hidden signs of power (body language). The curious professional in me, who has been thinking about organic and healthy ways of leadership and organization since she entered work life was somehow released from a baggage.

The baggage I carried was the skeptic little bitch (SLB) sitting on my shoulder, assisting me in not getting disappointed at work life. Some examples where this SLB has helped me:

  • Status-related situations (SLB decides: Right, it says VP on your card but I haven’t met anyone as ignorant as you. Carry on arsehole, I won’t help you succeed with anything).
  • Control-related situations (SLB thinks: Are you kidding me, you are telling me how to do coaching after I just got certified with great grades? And you want me to go against ethical rules of coaching, which you of course are not aware of, since you are not a certified coach, for heaven’s sake! Well, I’ll pretend I’ll listen and then just do as I know is ethically correct anyways. You act like an incompetent sucker, and I disrespect you for this).
  • Sexist people (SLB laughs: So, you (a male VP) thought it is appropriate to look surprised after I return from maternity leave and the first thing you say to me is “Look at you, I’m surprised you have gotten yourself back in great shape” (and then look at my behind). This is a great story I will tell everyone, you pathetic old man. And forget about me helping you professionally. )
  • Narcissistic people (SLB is amused: Oh wow, I know you are lying about this, and you don’t know I have gotten information directly from the CEO already. Let’s see how you play this one out, I’ll try to spot any bodily signs of lying while you are at it, just for my own amusement…I’ll just play along, you sorry piece of a disturbed person, and let you think I bought that lie, and that lie, and that lie…)

This skeptic little bitch -part in me has helped me a lot in some traditional settings. She is a witty friend, a humorous storyteller, and a skillful shield. When Tony Fernandes was speaking, I realized, I won’t be needing the skeptic little bitch that much anymore. She has been with me since I was ten, because that is when I needed her the first time.

I am self-employed right now, which is great. I already work with people, customers, projects and companies where I don’t need the help of the SLB very much. What I realized from Mr. Fernandes speech was that when I go back into the corporate world, I can choose. I can choose a company, where the skeptic little bitch is not needed. Those companies exist, grow, and are created by like minded people right now. The way we work, lead and do people-related things in organizations will change and disrupt faster than any of us think. More of us can soon start working without these protective shields (like my skeptic little bitch), and just give our best to leaders we want to follow. So, maybe there is a way back for me, into building healthy, modern organizations also within a company…who knows?

Relief. A tear or two. Oh.. right…I’m at a business forum… “Get yourself together, wuzz” says the SLB and I continue networking. On the other hand, maybe it is good having the SLB on stand-by call, but not on duty.

Thank you Tony Fernandes and NBF 2014. Mr. Fernandes, I’ll work for you anytime.

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