“The Imitation Game’ is a great film. It’s been nominated for 8 Oscars.
It gives you an insight into the pioneering work of Alan Turing, the father of modern computers. Obsessed with artificial intelligence he wanted to create a machine to copy human thinking.
Can machines copy humans?
I don’t know if machines can copy us, but the film reminded me of a story about how we copy each other.
A group of holidaymakers in Scotland, decided one day they would like to try grouse hunting. So armed with their bright and shiny new guns, they set out to find a grouse moor full of birds. They drove to a farmhouse on a bleak and isolated hillside. The driver got out of the car and asked the farmer permission to shoot on his land.
“Of course you can hunt on the moor, but could you do me a favour? This old donkey over here is riddled with cancer, and I haven’t the heart to get her put down. Could you shoot her for me?”
The driver agreed. As he was walking back to the car, he thought he’d play a trick on his friends.
He climbed into the drivers seat. “Well? Can we shoot on his land?“ his friends asked.
The driver looked at his friends and replied, “No. The farmer said no.”
Winding down his window he pointed his gun out and shot the donkey. “That’ll teach him.” he said proudly.
“Sure will.” said his friend as another gunshot rang out. “I’ve just shot the cow as well.
Why am I sharing this?
Because this story is a nice reminder of human behaviour.
We are all copycats; we adopt the behaviour of those we spend time with. And when you’re a leader this is especially important to remember. Those around you might not know what you are thinking, or what your reasoning is, but they will still copy what you do and what you say. That’s why what you choose to do and say really matters.
So the next time you see someone in your organization behaving in a way that surprises, confuses or upsets you, it might be worth reflecting on your own behaviour. Your staff are only human after all.
What could you be doing that they might be copying and reflecting back to you?