Being on Fire

The phrase ‘being on fire’ talks about top flight moments ablaze with energy, and hints at the temporal nature of influence, how it is no longer as permanent as it used to be, the patchy nature of knowledge, and how innovation can be lumpy.

Another phrase describes the true nature of talent, and it’s ‘everyone’s a genius some of the time’. Einstein, for example, apparently couldn’t navigate his way home from the office very well.

We’re all better at some things than others. Peak experiences are peak experiences because they do exactly that – they peak. Elizabeth Gilbert in her TED talk speaks about creative genius as a divine attendant spirit and Ruth Stone, the poet, who first encouraged her to recognise that genius as something that comes to visit when we’re ‘on fire’.

This approach to creativity and talent development is a substantial shift in thinking away from the idea of ever accelerating performance that people have been conditioned to, where there’s no room to relax in driving operating performance to new levels.

But when it comes to talent development, the phenomenon of metaphorically being ‘on fire’ asks us to recognise that genius and flashes of inspiration come at the least expected moments.

Eureka breakthroughs involve accepting the nature of value is undulating. Social community expects that people will ebb and flow in their interest levels to us, in fact it’s part of the attraction. In being this way, it offers the opportunity to create human resource principles for developing social business equity that are more sustainable.

Fortunately now, there is the ability to aggregate the responses and contributions people make through social CRM. We can recognise and accommodate undulating performance, more easily and more of the time. We can develop a body of work as a part of our online credentials, the tracks and markings of the digital footprints we’re making, individually and as organised social brands collectively over time. And we can create a contribution economy in which people are freer to play to their peaks.

So now, the question is, what can you do to enable your supporters and employees to be on fire, more of the time? What can you do to enable your organisation to do the same? What is your strategy for embracing imperfections and off days? Is your brand capable of fostering and holding the fire in people, or is it in danger of going downhill by saying ‘use the stairs’?

Cover image by Fedrizzi.