By the time you read this, Commander Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) and his rather handsome moustache will have been back on our blue planet for a good few days.
I was one of millions charmed and moved by his photos of Earth from space, and the accompanying captions: wry, poignant, poetic and incurably curious. Like many of you, my jaw slackened when I saw his rendition of Bowie’s Space Oddity (oh, just google it).
And through all of this, I found myself marvelling that this man was actually being allowed to be his unfiltered, quirky, human self – unfettered from the shackles of key messages, brand police, and impenetrable organisational jargon.
What I mean is, NO ONE STOPPED HIM.
How many of our organisations, and their leaders, and their message frameworks, and their self-paralysing fears would have stopped him from communicating with such freshness, vigour, and humanity? Far too many, I suspect.
So why was he so good:
- He shared his enthusiasm – a childish sense of wonder and exploration.
- He engaged – with individuals and groups around the world.
- He used his own voice – and his ears.
- He took risks – I mean, really, the Bowie thing? He actually did that!
- Oh, and he gained himself that platform thanks to years and years of dedicated hard work in pursuit of his dream.
We can’t all be like him. We wouldn’t all want to be. But it’s worth looking at your cause, and asking yourself two questions:
- Who is your Commander Hadfield? Who within your organisation is possessed with a passion for what you do, and has an ability to communicate it in a simple, accessible, human and inspiring way?
- Why the heck are you not liberating them to inspire the hell out of potential supporters?
OK, I’m off to record a cover version of Heroes…