A few days ago I asked readers of this blog to complete an exercise involving this picture:
- What do you see?
- What are they doing?
- Why are they doing it?
So, what did the picture tell you? What you saw was pretty obvious – it’s the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, sitting down with Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z. If you didn’t cheat, say by doing a Google search, you could say that they’re having a meal together, which describes what they are doing. As for the why, maybe they’re discussing a deal. Perhaps they’re talking about where they buy their business suits. Maybe they plan on putting out an album together. Hmmm, probably not!
Now, do you want to know what I observed? Hmmm, probably not!
What I observed was that they both have a seat at the table, literally and figuratively. This picture shows 2 people of wildly different personal and professional backgrounds break bread together, forging a mutually beneficial relationship. Both are respected (but not necessarily liked) within their respective fields. Both are successful across divergent arenas (Jay-Z as a musician and businessman, Mayor Bloomberg as a businessman and politician). Both command respect based on their previously mentioned accomplishments. Considering this, I don’t think they needed an invitation to sit down.
So the next time you think that you need a certain set of credentials (job title, certification, educational degree) to be successful, think of these 2 individuals. Put yourself in the picture, then start making it happen.
I want to say thanks to everyone who participated in this little exercise-I appreciate it! Speaking of which, this exercise was adapted from this d.school bootleg bootcamp document. This is a great introductory tool for those interested in the principles of “design thinking”.