A couple weeks ago I watched Hotel Transylvania with my dad and my little sister. It's a great movie: visually compelling, funny, and even a little bit poignant. I was pleasantly surprised.
Despite the overall enjoyment, there was one aspect of the film that really bothered me. The movie is about a hotel for monsters that is ran by a family of vampires. One of the main characters is Dracula, the father vampire, who owns and runs the hotel. An otherwise loveable character, he annoyingly traipses around his hotel during the whole movie, shouting orders at his employees like a 20th century factory foreman. Every one there works for him; he gives the orders; it's his hotel; he's the boss. It's was upsetting to see this image of management being displayed in a movie that was watched by millions of children in our country.
This, afterall, is how we pass on our cultural wisdom: in songs, in stories, in movies. This is where we act out the world we want to live in. This is how we tell ourselves and our children what it is to be an American. It may seem like just a silly movie, but I really think it's important.
As social innovators, mostly we're not up against blatant confrontation. Mostly, we're up against a poverty of imagination. It's not that people violently disagree with us, it's that they can't imagine the world any other way that how it already is. We imagine our world the way we see it represented around us in art, music, and television - in all the ways that we tell each other stories.
These stories tell us who we are, these stories become reaility. That's why it's so upsetting when the women are cast as the secretary, the black man as the doorman, the gay man as the choreographer. These images create our reality, they become what we believe about the world.
I don't want to live in a world where the "boss" is the one that yells the loudest and tells everyone else what to do. I want to live in a world where leadership is a subtle art focused around getting the best out of people, an art that focuses on creating organization cultures where human beings thrive.