Holy Smokes Batman. You’re on my Dynamics NAV Project?
I have seen it in my mind’s eye at least 1000 times; playing over and over again. On holiday with the family in Rome, my dad and I were walking down a major street when we came to a narrow cross street.
My dad, slightly ahead of me and to my left started to step down into the street off the curb. Just as my dad stepped, I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye off to the left. Instinctively, I grabbed my dad’s left arm and pulled him back up onto the curb just as a red car snapped by, right where he was about to step down. The year was 1966 and I was 10 years old.
Over the years and until his passing, my dad would at times remind me of the time in Rome when a 10 year old boy saved the life of his father. He would remind me when things got tough, when things got hard at school, or when another of life’s challenges would slow my forward progress down and cause me doubt. His message to me was simple; “do you remember the time in Rome when as a boy you stopped me from stepping down in front of a car? You are capable of extraordinary things, do not give up.”
David Logan is a USC faculty member, best-selling author, and management consultant that talks about how people get stuck in their “default future”. David promotes the concept that each of us has within us, the ability to divert from our “default future” and change the world in some fantastic, fundamental, and unbelievable way.
The metaphor that David uses is from a Fox TV show where Bruce Wayne has been hit on the head and has amnesia. Trapped in a box he cannot remember that he is really batman, and keeps pounding on the box screaming “Where’s Batman? Help me Batman, save me Batman!” At some point while in the box, Bruce Wayne starts to remember that he is Batman, and has the power to break out of the box. Coming to this realization, Batman breaks out of the box and proceeds to kick butt with the bad guys. David calls this metaphor “the Batman effect”.
David makes the point that Bruce Wayne is physically the same person as Batman, and all that changed was the belief that as Batman, he could change the direction of things, and subsequently the world. I experienced the Batman effect in Rome, instead of following my dad and stepping off the curb, I had as a 10 year old, uncharacteristically responded to the situation; for a brief moment in time I had become Batman, and changed the world.
Steve Jobs the former CEO of Apple was acutely aware of “the batman effect” and used it to create a tribe at Apple that changed the world. The most famous account of Steve’s promotion of the Batman effect was when he seduced John Scully to come work at Apple in 1983. John was at the time the CEO of PepsiCo, living his default future, with absolutely no interest in joining Apple. John in a 2010 Bloomberg interview said that at one point in their discussions, Steve asked him “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” John said “It was like someone knocked the wind out of my stomach.” Steve inspired John to become Batman and leave his default future, and as John goes on to say in the Bloomberg interview “a few weeks later I was working at Apple. “
As a project manager implementing Microsoft Dynamics software, what would the result of becoming Batman mean to you? Imagine; your default future is broken and you have just changed the world. Do you envision saving a project teammate’s life, would you knock down the bad guys standing in the way of your project’s success, or perhaps bags of money would fall from the sky while you were standing in your backyard contemplating the next sprint’s plan?
Maybe the change would manifest itself in how the project team performs, or perhaps your projects are now on-time and on-budget. It could be that your projects now deliver better business value to the client.
You tell me; how would your project and world change if you broke out of your default future and became the Batman project manager?