I really enjoyed the Netflix documentary series, Wild Wild Country, which is both informative and disturbing.
It’s the story of the cult that essentially took over part of Oregon in the 1980s. The directors, Chapman and Maclain Way, have talked about how difficult it was to keep track of the characters of the story.
Cult members by definition give up their identities and people who joined the Rajneeshee movement take on different monikers. There were a lot of people in the organization with the exact same name. To further complicate things, many people joined the cult by staging marriages between Americans and foreign born citizens.
The film directors spent a lot of time in the Wasco County courthouse photo copying marriage licenses going back several years. Marriage licenses were invaluable because they list real names and dates of birth.
It’s not easy to figure out people
Psychologists use a metaphor to explain the complexities of human personality. They say that we all wear masks.
This was certainly true when I on boarded a few years back.
The CEO of a financial services company had hired me to do sales coaching for his Regional Sales Managers. He asked me to join the group at their annual training event, which was to be held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
The event was held in the last week of October and my first meeting with the group was a costume party dinner. The event was open to spouses and partners, which was great, but it sure made it hard to get to know people.
Only half of the people at that dinner actually worked at the company. Plus, everyone was in costume or a mask of some sort.
It was a fun night and I felt like I made some meaningful connections, but I could never be sure who I was talking with. Is that Spiderman or the National Sales Manager?
I got to meet the non-disguised sales team at breakfast the next day. In a way, I had to start the get-to-know from scratch.
During my next four years as their sales coach, we had some nice gains in revenue and other important sales metrics. But first the sales team, sales manager and I had to make it a safer environment for people to be their authentic selves.
As with most work teams, people who worked at this company were in the habit of using masks, alter egos and costumes in order to cope.
We all live in Wild Wild Country
Wild Wild Country reminded me that we all wear masks–even at work.
My keynotes and sales coaching curriculum offer strategic ways to employ the psychology of leadership and the psychology of selling by helping people discover their authentic selves so they can get the job done.
When your team members know exactly who they are, it’s easier for your customers to figure you out.