Brangelina Cultures

I remember reading some years ago about a theory as to why so many movie stars fall in love with other on set. The example given was Angelina Jolie splitting up Brad Pitt’s relationship with ‘America’s sweetheart’ Jennifer Aniston.  The argument goes a little like this…

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt have a normal relationship together. This involves him seeing her without makeup in the mornings, relaxing around the house in jogging bottoms and probably picking her nose and farting in bed. Generally doing the stuff that constitutes being a couple. I confess that I’ve never been in a (long term) relationship with Jennifer Aniston, so I’m filling in some blanks myself.

Pitt then goes to work on the set of the movie Mr & Mrs Smith. Every single day he is greeted by Angelina Jolie, who has had a team of make up artists and stylists devoted to making her look stunning for the camera. Aniston didn’t have a chance (or so the theory goes).

Hearing from organisations and getting a company tour are similar experiences, in that it’s rare that you get to scratch the surface of what is going on. The companies are in full make up. They are never going to urge you to seek out their ugly bits.

They give you a tour and they never, in that short time, tend to share the fact that they also do the organisational equivalent of passing wind in bed. It is easy to leave them thinking that your partner at home should put in more effort and that that the grass is greener elsewhere.

Of course the truth is that most organisations have an ugly underbelly, strapped in by an uncomfortable corset.  They come home drunk occasionally and wake you up when you are trying to get to sleep. They are mean to the cat for no reason. They fiddle with the settings on the toaster so it ends up underdone. Or whatever the organisational equivalent is.

Just because you get the tour doesn’t mean that their day to day challenges aren’t the same as yours.

Over the past few years I’ve been able to visit a large number of great organisations and I’ve seen that even the great ones all have the same challenges

– how do we find great people
– how do we keep great people
– how do we get the best out of them
– how do we manage their performance and pay effectively
– how do we get our best people to understand that Angelina Jolie probably picks her nose too

So don’t be too hard on your Aniston.

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